MNLA transformed Manhattan's West Side Highway into a 5.5-mile urban boulevard, demonstrating that a six-lane highway can become a pleasurable journey for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. A center median with major shade trees creates safe pedestrian refuge when crossing the roadway, while a bikeway framed by planted buffers becomes a major commuter and recreational amenity.
The overall planting concept addresses conditions unique to this coastal road including strong prevailing winds, high brackish water table, and urban pollutants. The selected species of trees, shrubs and groundcovers establish a strong identity for the boulevard while providing diversity in response to neighborhood character, genetic disease resistance, and long term maintenance policies.
Many plant species were intentionally planted to safeguard against tree diseases.
The landscape for Route 9A sets a new standard for urban traffic calming, commuter cycling, and boulevard design.