Roberto Clemente Plaza is located in ‘The Hub” of the South Bronx at the crossroads of Willis Ave, E 149th St and Third Ave. The plaza features an undulating, bench-lined, planted strip that accommodates commuter waiting and creates a flexible-use plaza centered on a fountain.
In 2007, the NYC Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) conducted a study of the Bronx Hub area from the community’s desire for a more pedestrian-friendly setting. In 2008, NYCDOT repurposed the Roberto Clemente Plaza to provide extra street space, including bike lanes. Two years later, they passed the torch to the NYS Department of Design & Construction (DDC) Design Excellence Program to create a permanent Roberto Clemente Plaza. DDC partnered with Brooklyn-based Garrison Architects to design the plaza.
Garrison Architects met with members of the community and observed some of the tens of thousands of bus and subway commuters that pass through the plaza daily. Afterwards, the design team set their aim: “Our goal was to celebrate the intense urbanity of the area while providing the community with a ‘green oasis a midst the chaos’.” Their vision was a Herald Square of the Bronx. They developed an undulating, bench-lined stone planter strip that perfectly articulates the bus commuter waiting and loading zone, and forms an open, flexible-use Plaza, centered around a fountain – an amenity that the community strongly desires. What’s more, the design of the Plaza will support a memorial component developed by a community group-funded artist that will celebrate the humanitarian contributions of Roberto Clemente.
The plaza was set to open to the public in 2016, but issues such as the discovery of a gas line and soil contamination have delayed the construction process. The long-awaited plaza is set to open in late 2018, so look out for any events coming to the plaza!