In this issue:
34SP Team Improves SBS Fare Collection Machine Design
The new Select Bus Service (SBS) on 34th Street, launched over the weekend by NYC Department of Transportation and MTA New York City Transit, requires pre-boarding fare collection at sidewalk vending machines. Naturally, this will cause some confusion for riders. To take some of the anxiety out of the process, the 34th Street Partnership’s Design Department worked with DOT and MTA to create graphics that make the vending machines easily identifiable to potential users, simple to understand, and user-friendly.
When the SBS project was still in the planning stages, our design team took a look at the existing vending machines and found areas for improvement. We then contacted the agencies and offered the design team’s services. DOT and MTA welcomed the offer, and the three organizations collaborated to create new graphics for the machines. “The objective was to un-clutter the existing design, clarify the message, and improve a user interface that was very confusing,” says Director of Design Ignacio Ciocchini. “There was little correlation between the interface design of the machines and the graphics applied on them.”
Besides relying on their own expertise, the team went out into the field to solicit ideas from commuters on existing SBS lines. “We rode the system on Second Avenue, spoke to users, and came up with several low-cost design improvements that would make the system work more intuitively,” says 34SP Industrial Designer Julie Ember. For just one example, they found that users were confused by the word ‘Receipt’ on the user interface, and replaced it with the word ‘Ticket’, which is much more accurate.
The new iconography is clear; all text uses mixed-case lettering and a friendly font and is conveyed in simple language. “The system of icons we created replaced a lot of the text on the existing signs,” said Graphic Designer Jamie Song. ”The icons get the message across quickly no matter what language the user speaks.” The new graphics also feature directions for each step of the purchasing process that are color-coded with the corresponding area of action; and the overall design coordinates well with the other elements of the system. Just look at these photos of the machines, taken before and after the redesign, to appreciate the difference that our talented designers can make.
All messages are visible in English and Spanish, and the design takes into account the visually impaired and other users with special needs. Best of all, the new design can be applied to existing machines easily and at the same cost as the previous design. DOT and MTA were so pleased with 34SP’s efforts, the agencies have adopted the redesign for the vending machines on all SBS routes throughout the city.
“This was a great collaboration between the three entities that will make the city a little better for everyone” says 34SP President Dan Biederman. The 34SP wishes DOT and MTA well in this new service, and is pleased to be able to help in this way.
More Press for CityBenches
The decision by NYC Department of Transportation to install 1,000 of Ignacio Ciocchini’s CityBenches across the city continues to garner press attention. You’ll remember that the benches, designed by Ciocchini for the Chelsea Improvement Company, were lauded by many commentators for their sleek, urban look, and their generous contours that allow for all varieties of bodies to sit comfortably.
The latest article, written by Justin Davidson for New York Magazine, is titled ‘Forward Thinking on Behinds’. Davidson begins by quoting a man close to our heart, urbanist William (Holly) Whyte: “A dimension that is truly important is the human backside. It is a dimension many architects ignore…” Citing several high-profile examples, Davidson writes that NYC has made impressive strides recently in providing comfortable places for New Yorkers to grab some seat time.
Davidson’s prime example was DOT’s announcement that the City will install 1,000 CityBenches across the five boroughs. His key quote: “The benches look tough, cool, and modern, but the effect of installing 1,000 of them on sidewalks in all five boroughs will be to make the city a more relaxed, inviting place.” We couldn’t agree more.
Remember, if you like the bench and have a spot in the city you think is ideal for it, the DOT wants to hear from you. Just download this form, fill it out, and mail it to DOT. Or you can apply online at www.nyc.gov/citybench. For more press coverage, check out Streetsblog, Univision, DNAInfo, Huffington Post, Yotel New York, and The L Magazine.
Register for BPC/BPMC Joint Meeting
The annual joint meeting of the Board of Directors and Members of the Bryant Park Corporation and the Bryant Park Management Corporation is set for Wednesday, December 14, at 11:00am. It will be held in the main conference room at the Partnership’s offices, 1065 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 2400, New York, NY, 10018. The entrance to the building is on West 40th Street, between Avenue of the Americas and Broadway. The meeting is open to the public, but if you plan to attend, please RSVP Jacob Bielecki at email@example.com or 212-768-4242, so we can place your name on the building’s security list. At the meeting, BPC/BPMC staff will review the accomplishments of 2011, discuss plans for 2012, review financial information, and elect the Board of Directors and officers.
Did you know that membership in the BPC entitles you to vote at our annual meetings? It also ensures that you automatically receive this newsletter and other important midtown information. We invite all property owners, businesses, and residents in our District to join BPC, and work with us in keeping Bryant Park the safe, clean, beautiful hub of our thriving neighborhood. If you need a 2011 Member Registration form, you can download a form from our website. After completing your form, please fax it to (212) 719-3499, or mail it to the above address. Make sure it reaches our office prior to the meeting.
Enter Your Pictures in the BPC Holiday Photo Contest
As the holidays approach, Bryant Park Corporation is looking for just the right photo of Bryant Park to grace our Christmas cards, and that photo could be yours. Enter the Second Annual Holiday Photo Contest and you may also win prizes and have your image shown prominently on our social media.
The Grand Prize Winner’s photo will not only be on our Christmas Card, it will also be on the rotation of images at our website for the whole month of December, with full accreditation. Oh yes, and the winner will also get $100. The Runner-Up wins a pair of one-time use VIP Fastpasses to Citi Pond, a Bryant Park Tee-shirt, and his/her photo will be placed on the Bryant Park Blog.
To enter, just join the group at Bryant Park Holiday Contest at Flickr and upload your photo. We’re looking for landscape-oriented, winter-themed image that say, without words, “Bryant Park.” We need a minimum of 900 x 1600 pixels, with an aspect ratio of 16:9. Larger photos will be cropped to 16:9. Good luck!
The Bottom Line
The number for this week is “zero”. That’s how many branches the famous London plane trees at Bryant Park lost on account of the snowstorm on Halloween weekend. An early snowfall, especially the heavy, wet stuff that fell this time, normally poses a danger to deciduous trees, because the leaves cause branches to hold too much weight. Thanks to Director of Horticulture Maureen Hackett’s vigilant and prudent pruning, and the trees' overall excellent health, we had none of those weak branches. That’s a safety issue as well, because falling branches can be dangerous.
The Southwest Porch
Bryant Park Games
Chess and Backgammon
Ping Pong at The Tables
Citi Pond at Bryant Park
Friday & Saturday: 8:00am-midnight
The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park
Le Carrousel Kids – Flaubert and Friends
Saturday, November 19: 2:00-3:00pm, Le Carrousel
Le Carrousel Magique – R. J. Lewis
Sunday, November 20: 2:00-3:00pm, Le Carrousel