2. Lincoln Center’s most important planning innovation may be the least lovely, but that can be fixed.
Underpass beneath Josie Robertson Plaza
In the old days, if you were heading for Lincoln Enter from the east side of Broadway, you had to negotiate 11 lanes of traffic to make it to the sidewalk, walk up a few steps, and cross two lines of cars as they dropped off and picked up patrons. Pedestrians huddled and raced, dodging dangerous traffic and hoping for the best as limos and taxis juggled to reach the curb of the original access drive that ran the length of the east side of Avery Fisher Hall, Josie Robertson Plaza, and the New York State Theatre.
Now the access drive, renamed the Roslyn and Elliot Jaffe Family Drive, is buried. No more cars on the plaza, marring the view or mowing down patrons. Even those arriving by car are happy, as they alight into a protected, concourse-level porte corchère yielding direct (and ADA compliant) access to the theatre. There have even been art exhibits, dance parties and film sets in the drive–a true multi-purpose piece of infrastructure.
It’s a win for all. One odd problem: signage is almost nonexistent, with the result that drivers get confused about how to enter and worried that they won’t be able to exit. Next steps: add signage and pretty up the drive.