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West Harlem’s Master Plan

Urban stays focused on the project goal through the adversity of addressing field and public issues.

Services Provided
Construction Support
New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYC EDC)
Project Contact

West 125th Street Construction Management for Streetscape Improvements, New York City, NY

 The West 125th Street Streetscape Improvement project was one of a three-stage strategic project implemented by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYC EDC) to revitalize West Harlem. The master plan was developed in 2002 with three goals:

  • Waterfront amenity
  • Transportation improvement
  • Economic and institutional improvement

As part of the second stage of the master plan, the West 125th Street Streetscape Improvement project complemented and improved the neighborhood’s connection to West Harlem Piers Park, enhanced the area’s streetscape for the benefit and safety of pedestrians, and strengthened the connections among the different transportation modes present in the area.


With a construction value of $14.5 million, the project involved streetscape improvements on 125th Street, as well as portions of adjacent streets. This area of Harlem is a vibrant community and dynamic business district, with a rich history in American entertainment and culture. The existing water main and drainage utilities were upgraded to handle the increased load created by the ongoing redevelopment of the area.


Our Harlem Connection 

Urban was responsible for construction management and quality assurance, including project schedule development, project cost estimating, constructability review, and endorsement of design documents at the pre-construction stage before public bidding. Services were provided by three subconsultants, who were managed by our team, for construction inspection, architectural landscaping, and community liaison.  Coordinating the efforts with city agencies, surrounding construction projects by the Columbia University campus, MTA, and city DOT bridge projects proved vital as the West 125th Street effort extended between the Harlem Piers to the West, and Old Broadway to the East.


Construction activities included:         

  • Planting beds and sidewalks
  • Cobblestone and asphalt roadway reconstruction
  • Granite pavers and curbs
  • Landscaping including raised planter beds and soil cells
  • Water distribution network including a 48” trunk water main
  • Drainage and sewer improvements
  • Plaza, street, and architectural lighting
  • Aesthetic treatments at a new transit plaza adjacent to 12th Avenue
  • Street furniture, including benches, bicycle racks, and trash receptacles


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Working in New York City

The West 125th Street Streetscape Improvements project required a replacement of an existing 36” trunk main to a large 48” trunk main at a very busy intersection in New York City and under the MTA railroad bridge.  Additional measures were required, such as an augmented excavation support system to maintain the integrity of the bridge structure during construction. This work required significant coordination with multiple agencies such as NYCDOT Office of Construction Mitigation and Coordination, NYCDOT Buses, NYC Department of Environmental Protection, the MTA, and multiple ongoing construction jobs in the area. The art of communication has to be finessed to get the approval of all stakeholders and balanced with work progress. We have been acknowledged for our patience and courage to resolve issues in a challenging environment.


We welcomed the complex challenges that West Harlem’s master plan and West 125th brought forth. Community and stakeholder relations are always important, but absolutely vital when upgrading a neighborhood as historic as Harlem. Traffic volume in New York City has already reached a particularly high level, so maintaining traffic protection has been a pointed objective. Coordinating foundation and utility installation in and around an intricate web of existing utilities with various city agencies, in conjunction with schedule adherence, was one of our utmost priorities.