Times Square Pedestrian Zone Made Permanent

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Mayor is expected to announce this morning that the Times Square pedestrian zone will become permanent, with Broadway closed between 42nd and 47th street. WNYC's Andrea Bernstein is in Times Square and reports on the decision.


Andrea Bernstein

Comments [25]

Sproule Love from Hell's Kitchen

First: Love the new Times Square. Before these changes, pedestrians were spilling into the street, and as mentioned above, far more of them were hit by cars. Why do we need cars in one of the busiest places in the world when we have one of the best subways in the world?

Second: Fewer roads = fewer cars = more safety and more convenience for a large group of non drivers vs. small inconvenience for a tiny group of drivers. This is something we should consider for the entire city. If we can get cars out of Times Square, why can't we get cars out of Central and Prospect Parks 24/7?

Third: Nat from Brooklyn, what's not to love about the Broadway bike lane? I commute every day to work, and before the cycle track was installed, I wouldn't go near Broadway. Bloomberg and the DOT commish are taking the streets back for us and I say more power to them!

Feb. 11 2010 03:55 PM
Larry from Nyack

I haven't been to either square yet, so I have no opinion. But doesn't anyone look at the numbers?
In the midst of the worst recession in memory wouldn't we expect fewer vehicles -- including cabs, delivery trucks, and single occupancy commuters -- to be in the mid-town area just because there is less economic activity? Better travel times would be a no-brainer with fewer vehicles. Let's get the numbers from cab companies, UPS, etc.

Feb. 11 2010 02:29 PM
Steve from NYC

Robert T., I don't disagree, but that is a different discussion. The level of casual consideration for others around here is overall pretty low. You don't know me, so you can't lump me in with the wrong-way delivery cyclists, the rolling-stoppers, and all the other bicyclists who endanger the lives of pedestrians.

The point here is, turning Times Square into a pedestrian mall makes it unbikeable. The beautiful bike lanes north and south of Times Square should be on a street with other rolling traffic.

Feb. 11 2010 11:58 AM
Vasu Murti from NJ

About Times Square:

Great job.

I am an outsider not from NYC.
when I have guests I can bring them to the "New Times" square and my guests feel the enrgy of NYC just sititng in Times square.

It is a shelter from the madness and this is locatedin the eye of the needle.

I loive it.

Mayor Bloomberg has my respect.

The president of South Korea is doing some good work in Seoul. I was there recently and had an oprtunity to see some of this.

He is basically restoring te faded glory of Seoul.

Story Title: Removing the Freeway, Restoring the River

Many parallels worldwide.

Look forward to more changes.


Feb. 11 2010 11:57 AM
Dominique from 3 Times Square

Please do not use my last name, but I love it. My name is Yvonne and I work at 3 Times Square. Prior to the Pedestrain Zone I hardly if ever went outside for lunch because I usually bring in my own lunch but there was really not much places to sit outside to and eat. Now I just walk out the door or the Reuters Building, cross the street and have the luxury of both soaking up some vitamin D and getting out of the office. YEAH!

Feb. 11 2010 11:49 AM
Josh from Brooklyn

I might be in the minority here, but this really sucks the character out of NY. First Disney buys Times Square (why do we need TWO Applebees, much less one). Now it looks like every mall in America. Growing up, the area might have been sleazy (and crime), but it was NY. It had Grindhouse theaters showing movies you couldn't see anywhere. Theater was more then the Lion King and Hairspray. Tourists would come here to see The Deuce. Now they come and shop in the mall of America they could get at home. But creating the mall, it only encourages and furthers that agenda. It will actually bring more tourists to the area who will sit and take more pictures. Times Square is no longer the "intersection" of the world. There is no intersection. It was the soul of NY. Watch Shaft. Now, what is it? What's next? A roof to block out the rain?

Feb. 11 2010 11:48 AM
Robert T. from Manhattan

Steve, #3, perhaps if you and your cycling companions had ANY level of consideration for pedestrians, we might return the courtesy. The organized gang/mob/thug rides hardly helped your cause.

Feb. 11 2010 11:47 AM

Just another small step away from the Robert Moses paradigm -for the better

Feb. 11 2010 11:45 AM
Carolyn from Park Slope

While this idea may have some successes and failures in its practical application, it is truly physically UGLY -- a horrid green, mostly flat, dynamicless response to what was originally a dynamic space. Perhaps this is because it was a temporary experiment? Will there be a competition to address its failures and it's physical beauty? Thank you.

Feb. 11 2010 11:44 AM
kai from NJ-NYC

No wonder the Mayor is happy. Like all end-term officials, he loves it when he can implement what he thinks is best (regardless of efficacy) without risking his own political skin.

He gets his "smart" city planning initiative, traffic-pedestrian improvement, "green space," etc., without facing another mayoral election.

Feb. 11 2010 11:43 AM
nat from Brooklyn

To all the nay sayers, think about it this way; its not an issue of driver convenience, its an issue of safety.

As a society, we are willing to go to the airport two hours early, get run through scanners, take off our shoes etc. This is all done to prevent a statistically tiny threat of terrorism.

That is nothing compared to the threat of motor vehicles hitting pedestrians; which is NYC's number one cause of deaths for children, and has been for decades. Times and Herald Squares were among the most dangerous stretches of Broadway, and the numbers are way down.

Every New Yorker should think about all the traffic calming as a way to save lives. Are you really the type of person who can't spare a couple dozen minutes of lost time a year to save dozens of lives?

As a long time cyclist, I hate the new bike lanes on Broadway. However pedestrians are the number one road user in our city, its about time that they are infrastructurally supported as such.

Feb. 11 2010 11:43 AM
Peter from Manhattan

Avid biker here --- I love the new Times Square! Yes, there are a few blocks around Times Square that are not great for biking. That's okay because they're great for walking and I don't mind walking a few blocks.

What really impressed me is the new layout of Broadway between Columbus Circle and Times Square. A brilliant layout of car lanes and bike lanes, intelligently timed signals. It's actually a joy to stop at a red light around there and marvel at how much thought went into the design.

My only concern is that the bike lanes are so wide you'll frequently see drivers using them as a short cut and the cops don't seem to care.

Feb. 11 2010 11:42 AM
John from Brooklyn

I think this is great. It makes the city much more pedestrian friendly and pleasant to walk in. If it improves traffic as well, that's a nice bonus.
I do think there is a need to somehow keep the pedestrians and bicyclists better separated. Maybe with the permanence, there will be an effort in that direction.

Feb. 11 2010 11:42 AM
Robert T. from Manhattan

This is an absolute step in the right direction, whether or not auto traffic speed increases. An area as densely populated as Manhattan must balance the needs of cars, buses, pedestrians, cyclists and businesses. Since the time of Robert Moses, the default mode has always been pro-car. Bloomberg brings new, creative thinking to this formula and he should be congratulated.

Now if we could only get congestion pricing!

Feb. 11 2010 11:42 AM

This just goes to show how New York is becoming more suburban and more for tourists than the real New Yorkers. If someone wants to sit in the middle of traffic and breathe in all the exhaust from the traffic passing by, go right ahead!

Feb. 11 2010 11:40 AM
Pam from Manhattan

i live in the area, the traffic is worse, not better. i love cooked stats, nypd, traffic, tax revenues, etc.

Feb. 11 2010 11:40 AM
Stella from Manhattan

I'm glad the mayor is happy but clearly no one has given any thought to how this affects people with disabilities. As someone who is partially disabled I can tell you that this set up makes it impossible if you need to cab it to get to the theater.

Feb. 11 2010 11:40 AM
kate from New York, NY

Mike is Hot ! I love that he backs up so much of what he tries with quantitative analysis. The idea of separating the tourists and the people that need to get somewhere faster was a great idea. Go Mike ! You're the man !

Feb. 11 2010 11:40 AM
Ali from manhattan

i grew up in manhattan and lived in paris for a while and i absolutely hate the pedestrian mall. it shouldn't be compared to public squares in europe - it is not a green space. we have park for roaming and contemplation. times square is a mall of superstores and holds none of the small businesses or the pulse that makes this city great.

Feb. 11 2010 11:40 AM
Mike C. from Tribeca

New Yorkers hang out at Times Square? Will wonders never cease.

Feb. 11 2010 11:39 AM
JK from Midtown

i love it. i work smack dab in the middle here in times square, and its easier to walk through tourists than it is cars. as long as the tourists stay on the side or sit on those ugly chairs and not standing around in teh corner waiting for the green light, im fine with it.

Feb. 11 2010 11:39 AM
Michael from Prospect Park South, Brooklyn

"How many people ever thought you could improve traffic speeds by closing streets?"

Ummm, every traffic expert in the world!

Feb. 11 2010 11:39 AM
Steve from NYC

This is a disaster for bicyclists! It is impossible to ride down Broadway in the bike lane, because pedestrians pay absolutely no attention to it. Pedestrians pay no attention to bicyclists ANYWHERE in NYC, but at least where there is auto traffic, we can ride along with it. Now in Times Square we have no cover, and it's impossible to weave through the meandering pedestrians.

Feb. 11 2010 11:37 AM
Robert from NYC

What a mistake. This is what you get when you think you want a good business manager for mayor or governor or any political office. You get tchotchki crap to please the very easy to please follower multitudes whose cheap standards are easy to satisfy. Hmmmm Penn Station.

And for chrissake there's nothing yet after 9 years at Ground Zero. If this were just about any other Euorpean or Asian "developed" country there would have been some grand structure(s) there about 3 or 4 years ago already. Mr Bloomberg and his realtor/investment friends are having a ball screwing up this city.

Feb. 11 2010 11:27 AM
Jeb from Greenpoint, Brooklyn

If permanent, let's hope they institute some serious landscaping improvements. Currently, it has all the charm of a Walmart parking lot.

Feb. 11 2010 10:44 AM

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