Dependable Erection

Friday, February 27, 2009

Noted with interest

The idea seems to cut against the very grain of New York: to transform much of the city’s most storied avenue, Broadway, from a river of blaring cars, trucks and taxis into a planter-lined oasis for pedestrians, bicyclists and picnickers.

But on Thursday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg unveiled a plan to do just that: Vehicles would be barred entirely from Broadway at public plazas in Times Square and Herald Square, and would share the thoroughfare with a bike lane and a promenade along the rest of the stretch from 59th Street to a new plaza at 23rd Street.

The city plans to start making the changes in late May, and more alterations are possible in the future.

Mr. Bloomberg said the plan would relieve traffic congestion and make more room for pedestrians, enhancing some of the city’s most popular public spaces. But it could also change the very nature of some of Manhattan’s busiest and most famous areas, including the theater district, Times Square, the fashion district and Macy’s front stoop.

“People avoid Times Square because the traffic is so terrible and people are getting pushed out into the streets — the sidewalks can’t handle it,” Mr. Bloomberg said at a news conference in a restaurant at the Marriott Marquis, a hotel overlooking Times Square, where a giant image of the rock star Ozzy Osbourne flashed behind him on an electronic billboard.

“People don’t come to look at cars stuck in traffic,” the mayor said. “They come to look at the lights, the buildings and the excitement, and this is going to have a lot more of it.”

I can only assume that having had his plan for congestion pricing in Manhattan thwarted, the Mayor has decided to make driving on the avenues such a challenge that nobody will want to do it anymore. Good luck to him.

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  • Maybe he should take a junket to Raleigh and ask how that Fayetteville Street Mall idea worked out for them.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:49 PM  

  • San Francisco has held several "Sunday Streets" in which they shut down a ~3-mile stretch of one bayside thoroughfare for bicycle and pedestrian traffic only. In some places, vendors and other happy people fill the street. In other places, the streets look the same but people are biking and walking instead of driving. The streetcars continue service along the route.

    I wonder if New York will try doing some occasionals to see how people respond to the opportunity.

    By Blogger Marsosudiro, at 1:52 PM  

  • Many olde time New Yorkers have complained that Times Square is as exciting as yer local shopping mall.

    This completes that process.

    For the love of God, can I get a hot dog when I'm in town?

    By Blogger Tony, at 6:28 PM  

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