The Lower East Side Partnership is kicking off a community engagement initiative this week, one of the first steps in evaluating whether to move forward with an expansion of services and boundaries.
As we reported this past February, the organization (previously known as the LES Business Improvement District) set up a steering committee to weigh possible expansion beyond its current Orchard Street confines.
During the next couple of months, the Partnership will be conducting a Needs Assessment Survey. Residents, merchants and property owners are all invited to participate in an online questionaire (it’s also available at the LES Visitor Center, 54 Orchard St.) There are English, Chinese and Spanish versions.
In an interview yesterday, Partnership President Tim Laughlin said the point of the survey is to “better understand the issues of concern to neighborhood stakeholders.” The steering committee already expects to hear a lot about the impacts of nightlife businesses on the local community. Transportation issues, specifically the effects of intercity buses, will likely be another hot topic. “The goal,” said Laughlin, “is to have a transparent, public and comprehensive process that engages as many local stakeholders as possible.”
In addition to the survey, there will also be several events in the fall aimed at soliciting feedback from the neighborhood. While no expansion boundaries have been set, the steering committee is looking at Ludlow Street and Canal Street, two areas with high concentrations of bars and restaurants. At some point in September, the Partnership plans to close down a section of Canal Street for a public visioning session. Participants will walk the block, highlighting problem spots that should be addressed.
They’re also using an interactive open source tool called Streetmix. It allows users to design their own street and make suggestions for improvement. You can access it here, making your own suggestions for Ludlow and Canal streets.
A few years ago, the Lower East Side BID proposed a large expansion of its boundaries. Laughlin said that initiative was clearly too ambitious. The current plan will hopefully result in a more modest plan, he said. Any proposed expansion would go through Community Board 3, various city agencies and the City Council.
Click here if you would like to take the survey.