Friday, August 21, 2009

A Pedestrian Friendly City

Have you heard of the Broadway Boulevard? The New Yorkers reading this have, and maybe a few others. Last year the city (read: Mayor Bloomberg) decided to close multiple lanes of Broadway in effort to make it a more pedestrian friendly street and relieve traffic congestion in the area.

I have never been a fan of Times Square. There are too many people, too much traffic, and it always takes forever to walk through it. I only go there if I must. Sounds strange, right? It's the heart of New York City! Well, I don't think I'm exaggerating when I tell you that I think most people who live and/or work in this city feel the same way. The only time I really enjoyed going through Times Square was during the Nike NYC Half Marathon last summer, when they close down the streets completely for the runners. Well, I find this new traffic route pretty interesting. The city closed two lanes of traffic to create pedestrian plaza's featuring tables with umbrellas, benches, and planters as well as a dedicated bike lane as far north as 59th St down to 47th where they closed Broadway completely. The plaza's continue down to Herald Square and again near Madison Square Park. Personally, I think they are a welcome addition to the city. They exhibit NYC's ability to innovate and promote transportation alternatives - walking and biking. There have been many vocal opponents to the changes, especially those who work in the areas most affected, but there are always people who are resistant to change, aren't there? Hopefully they'll give it a chance and warm up to the idea eventually.

Broadway and Columbus Circle

Times Square looking south

If you're interested, you can check out these links for more info about the Broadway Boulevard project: NY Times and Streetsblog

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