Big News in the Big Apple

Photo © Streetsblog

Not that long ago it was unthinkable, but this past weekend the stretch of Broadway between 42nd and 47th Streets in New York’s Times Square was turned into a public space and closed to cars indefinitely. From the New York Times:

The new five-block-long mall is the largest of a series of such spaces that now stretch from the Theater District down to Herald Square and Madison Square Park. Conceived by the city’s transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, the plan is partly inspired by the redevelopment of downtown Copenhagen, many of whose medieval streets and plazas have been closed off to cars in the past decade.

The closure is part of NYCDOYT’s “Green Light for Midtown” program aimed at reducing congestion and improving livability in Midtown Manhattan.

More at Streetsblog
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8 Responses to “Big News in the Big Apple”

  • Bob says:

    I’m curious to see what the New York Post, whose editorials in the past have rationalized intentionally hitting cyclists with cars, will say about this…

  • Duncan Watson says:

    Wow, NYC has come a long way.

  • jhaygood says:

    Man, I am loving NYC and the transpo department under Sadik-Kahn. She is incredible…

  • Alan says:

    Yeah, I agree – this is incredible. Let’s hope it sticks!

  • Sean says:

    Greetings from New York. There are actually two of these plazas that the city opened on Sunday evening. Both are on Broadway, with the bigger one being at Times Square between 47th and 42nd Streets; the other is in Herald Square, between 33rd and 35th Streets.

    I stopped by the Times Square one tonight and it’s quite fun. I was amazed at how the reduction in noise from less traffic, combined with the open space, and the feeling of security from not dodging vehicles seemed to put people in a good mood. Traffic was also flowing smoothly on adjoining Seventh Avenue.

    These new found spaces are pretty rough looking at the moment. They’re separated from traffic by orange columns like you’d see at a constriction site and seating is modest-looking lawn chairs and a few wobbly cafe tables and chairs. This is scheduled to change though when the city selects a design for the areas. If they come out looking like the existing “pedestrian plazas” NYC has created, they’ll be a nice asset to the city.

    I haven’t heard any disparaging words yet from the Post or Daily News. In fact, I think the Post even put the event on its cover with a headline something like “The Great Walk Way.”

  • Keith Walker says:

    Reminds me of the old photo of Park Ave. when it was truly a Park:
    http://www.naparstek.com/uploaded_images/ParkAvePre1922-758615.jpg
    http://clevercycles.com/?p=181
    http://www.naparstek.com/2005/12/history-of-new-york-city-public-space.php
    (download the ppt presentation, it is a wowser!)
    Dare to dream…

  • Sean says:

    Oops! I was overly optimistic. Here’s the Post letting lose today.

    http://www.nypost.com/seven/05262009/news/regionalnews/drivers_furious_over_bway_blockade_at_ti_171042.htm

  • Carolyn Ibis says:

    Can’t wait till I go to New York in July and experience this! Wow…

 
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