February 26, 2009

Bicycles on Broadway
NYC's Mayor Bloomberg just announced that several large sections of Broadway - including Times Square and Herald Square - will be closed to vehicle traffic for the rest of the year. If the experiment works, the closure will be permanent. In the Bush years, we might have wondered if it was for security purposes. But no:

The plan calls for Broadway to be closed to vehicles from 47th Street to 42nd Street. Traffic would continue to flow through on crossing streets, but the areas between the streets would become pedestrian malls, with chairs, benches and cafe tables with umbrellas.

Seventh Avenue would be widened slightly within Times Square to accommodate the extra traffic diverted from Broadway.

Below 42nd Street, Broadway would be open to traffic, but then would shut down again at Herald Square, from 35th Street to 33rd Street. Then, below 33rd, it would open again.

The plan is the latest move by Mr. Bloomberg to change the way the city thinks of its streets, making them more friendly to pedestrians and cyclists and chipping away at the dominance of the automobile.
It comes on the heels of the "Broadway Boulevard" plan that expanded bike lanes and pedestrian areas in Times Square, pictured below.

But getting rid of cars entirely? That's just awesome. Next up - the 42nd St. surface rail - if Vision42 gets its way!

How cool would that be?

"Broadway Boulevard" photo by John Niedermeyer used under CC license
42nd St. tram photo courtesy Vision42

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