Friday, February 27, 2009

Making Broadway Pedestrian-Friendly Is A Good Thing

I've seen that plenty of cabbies and tourists started complaining once Bloomberg's plan to alter Broadway came out. They feel that without cars on the famed street that it'll be harder to pick up fares and that the feel of Times Square just won't be the same, respectively. Now I frequently, and passionately disagree with the Mayor on many, many issues, but here I must say he is in the right (and so does the Naked Cowboy).

When Broadway was first altered last year (at 23rd St. and in the 30s north of Macy's) it was awkward to see people sitting in the newly created zones as traffic zoomed by. Those planters that separated the cars from the pedestrians didn't seem to be quite enough in terms of comfort if you know what I mean. In comparison, back in August when Park Av., 4th Av and Lafayette were shut down on Saturday mornings in August, it was much more serene than the newfound everyday lunch crowd on the sides of Broadway.

Now that Bloomberg wants to radically alter the Avenue so that it is truly amenable to people and not cars, the idea looks a lot better. Times Square has more than enough congestion and eliminating one route of street traffic through the area will improve flow for cars and room for all those tourists. Heck, real-live New Yorkers might just find themselves walking in the area as well.

So good job on this Mr. Mayor. Credit given where credit is due and for the price, it is well worth $1.5 million. Improving traffic and reducing time stuck in traffic will more than pay the cost of clearing Broadway of cars in Times Square. Perhaps if it does go as well as planned, the next Mayor (yep, still don't want Bloomberg past December) will do away with traffic altogether on Broadway, ideally from Columbus Circle to Union Square.