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AutoBlog: REPORT: Cars officially banned from New York's Time Square

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Filed under: Government/Legal, Safety

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The crossroads of North America is about to become a lot more pedestrian-friendly. New York City's Times Square is reportedly getting a makeover to make it car-free. According to an Associated Press report, portions of Broadway from 42nd Street up to 47th and from 33rd to 35th are being closed to cars to cut down on pollution, traffic and pedestrian accidents.

To kick off the new arrangement, NYC has planned something of a block party in the Square, where they'll play a movie on a giant screen and street performers will entertain the crowds. They're even going to set out beach chairs so folks can cop a squat and soak it all in.

Barriers started going up on Sunday around Times Square and the nearby Herald Square in front of Macy's. Herald Square is the other area that will become a pedestrian mall as a result of the changes. To make sure everything goes smoothly, the Department of Transportation says it will be keeping a close eye on traffic in the area as the new setup ramps up.

[source: The Associated Press, Photo by Laughing Squid | CC2.0]

REPORT: Cars officially banned from New York's Time Square originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 26 May 2009 13:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Neato. Time to pave over the asphalt with concrete... or ASTROTURF!

Btw the Les Miserables poster on the left = win.

Edited by Teh Ricer Civic!
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I think this is a neat idea. Times Sq is a pretty huge clusterf*ck, and any intersection with Broadway is a mess. I'm excited to see what they'll come up with for the former road surface.

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I think this is a neat idea. Times Sq is a pretty huge clusterf*ck, and any intersection with Broadway is a mess. I'm excited to see what they'll come up with for the former road surface.

Yeah, I saw a lot of minor changes last week when I popped out of the N line for my usual Times Square to PABT hike through the tourists. New barriers and some sort of textured asphalt.

I still don't see how this is going to actually work. Sure, they could eliminate the intersections... but I don't see how one can reroute Broadway. I'd rather see them build a new platform for peds a story above the existing Times Square, sort of the opposite of the Atlanta Underground... leaving the traffic below the new ground level. Of course, they'd never go for that.

They also wanted to rid Union Square of cars. Another cluster. I wonder if this all part of a program to frustrate NYC drivers to the point they won't enter the city at all... since congestion pricing failed.

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Everyone I've talked to that has visited NY always comments about the 'hustle n' bustle' of Times Square. I wonder if this could take away something from the I <3 NY experience.

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Everyone I've talked to that has visited NY always comments about the 'hustle n' bustle' of Times Square. I wonder if this could take away something from the I <3 NY experience.

I don't think so. The 'hustle and bustle' is really on the sidewalks... and in Times Square the sidewalks are usually packed to capacity. With cars being locked out of TS, I figure vendors will move in en masse and make getting through TS a grueling drowning through humanity. More tourists will be attracted back to TS and it'll be like New Years Eve all season.

Meantime, the vehicular 'hustle and bustle' will only be a few short blocks away as cabbies cut each other's throats trying to find a shortcut around the TS rerouting.

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The title of the article is bordering on sensationalism. Cars won't be banned from Times Square. Seventh Avenue will still be open, as will 42nd and any other street that crosses Seventh Ave. Only a small part of Broadway from 42nd Street up to 47th will be closed and turned into a pedestrian walkway. This makes sense anyway, since Broadway jogs along parallel to Seventh for a few blocks while other streets such as 45th and 46th cross over the two, creating a weird three-way intersection and causing a constant traffic headache in this part of town.

Edit: Here's a map showing which streets will be closed.

20closings.map.jpgdot090525_2_560.jpg

Edited by mustang84
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Yeah, I saw a lot of minor changes last week when I popped out of the N line for my usual Times Square to PABT hike through the tourists. New barriers and some sort of textured asphalt.

I still don't see how this is going to actually work. Sure, they could eliminate the intersections... but I don't see how one can reroute Broadway. I'd rather see them build a new platform for peds a story above the existing Times Square, sort of the opposite of the Atlanta Underground... leaving the traffic below the new ground level. Of course, they'd never go for that.

They also wanted to rid Union Square of cars. Another cluster. I wonder if this all part of a program to frustrate NYC drivers to the point they won't enter the city at all... since congestion pricing failed.

I don't think that would actually work. It would cause problems with ground level entrances that currently exist, and studies have shown that people will not use raised platforms if there is no direct or easy access to places that people frequent such as retail and restaurants. But more importantly, urban planning studies have shown that pedestrian malls without any vehicular traffic tend to fail. So many cities tried to build pedestrian malls in the 70s and 80s that ultimately wound up abandoned (and eventually car traffic was allowed to pass through again and they quickly revived). Cars and pedestrians go hand-in-hand in creating an active area, and modern urban planning allows for controlled vehicular access to pass through (which is what this Times Square proposal seems to be doing).

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Utt Ohh, how will I drive to the Letterman show now ... But then I almost got thrown out the last time I was there anyway ... :smilewide:

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I don't think that would actually work. It would cause problems with ground level entrances that currently exist, and studies have shown that people will not use raised platforms if there is no direct or easy access to places that people frequent such as retail and restaurants. But more importantly, urban planning studies have shown that pedestrian malls without any vehicular traffic tend to fail. So many cities tried to build pedestrian malls in the 70s and 80s that ultimately wound up abandoned (and eventually car traffic was allowed to pass through again and they quickly revived). Cars and pedestrians go hand-in-hand in creating an active area, and modern urban planning allows for controlled vehicular access to pass through (which is what this Times Square proposal seems to be doing).

My suggestion would require businesses to relocate first floor entrances to the second floor. First floor entrances would close or become freight entrances... similar to Chicago's Wacker Drive. Granted, my idea would never work simply because land owners and business owners in TS would never go for spending the money.

I agree that pedestrian malls do fail (several locally have) because because it worked in one place, towns are too quick to jump on the 'me, too' bandwagon, but TS is likely one of a few candidates that would actually work.

The Broadway change map posted is the first I've seen. Still scary... I suspect Broadway between 42nd and 35th could become sparse... the three-lane left and fast right (Northbound at 42nd) is going to be a nightmare, as will the southbound complement. Making turns in NYC is a nightmare due to the throngs of pedestrians. I've seen places where you have to wait several light cycles to make a right... as only one or two cars can turn each time.

My prediction still holds. The new pedestrian space will be filled with foreigners selling mystery meat, nuts, inedible pretzels from carts, people drawing caricatures and airbrushed names and Scientologists. I can smell the smoke and body odor just thinking about it. Ugh. Oh, and NYPD and their friends will park/drive wherever they please on the walkways, regardless of the traffic tie-ups it causes.

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My suggestion would require businesses to relocate first floor entrances to the second floor. First floor entrances would close or become freight entrances... similar to Chicago's Wacker Drive. Granted, my idea would never work simply because land owners and business owners in TS would never go for spending the money.

This is exactly what Los Angeles tried to do Downtown in the 1970s. Trust me, it doesn't work and is a bad idea on almost every level...pardon the pun.

Edited by Croc
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some how make it a roundabout?! yeah!!!!! lol

sounds cool, sounds expensive though too.

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