No cars for Earth Day


Make text smaller Make text larger


DOT will also convert one block of Broadway near Flatiron to full-time “shared street”


Photos



  • Pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers will share the road on the block of Broadway between 24th and 25th Streets, under a DOT plan recently approved by Community Board 5. Graphic: NYC DOT




  • City Council Member Ydonis Rodriguez (left) and DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg announce plans to close Broadway to vehicle traffic on Earth Day at a press conference in Times Square April 12. Photo: Michael Garofalo




  • City Council Member Ydonis Rodriguez (left) and DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg announce plans to close Broadway to vehicle traffic on Earth Day at a press conference in Times Square April 12. Photo: Michael Garofalo




Heading downtown on Saturday? Make sure your cabbie knows not to take Broadway. Or better yet, says the Department of Transportation, ditch the cab altogether and celebrate Earth Day with a stroll or a bike ride down America’s most famous street, which will be temporarily car-free.

The DOT announced last week that Broadway will be closed to vehicles between Union Square and Times Square on April 22, leaving the street open to pedestrians and cyclists from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All cross streets will remain open except 33rd Street.

Plazas along the mile-and-a-half-long stretch of Broadway will host various DOT-sponsored events and activities, including musical performances, dance classes and walking tours. Citi Bike will offer free bike-sharing citywide throughout the day.

“Overreliance on cars causes a lot of problems: danger to pedestrians, air pollution, congestion, street noise, wasted space to make room for parking, and more,” Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said last week at a press conference in Times Square announcing the event.

The second annual Car Free NYC is an expansion of last year’s inaugural event, during which Broadway was closed to vehicle traffic from Union Square to Madison Square. The DOT will also close a half-mile span of St. Nicholas Avenue in Washington Heights for the day. City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, who chairs the council’s transportation committee, called for a further extension of the Earth Day initiative next year. “I think that we should aim together to close Broadway from the tip of the island all the way downtown,” he said.

The DOT won a victory in its efforts to improve pedestrian safety and access on Broadway last week, when Community Board 5 approved the department’s proposal to convert a single block of Broadway near Madison Square into the city’s first full-time “shared street.” Under the shared streets concept, which is in use in Seattle and Pittsburgh and was piloted by the DOT on several downtown blocks last summer, pedestrians and cyclists share the road alongside slow-moving vehicles, without designated lanes or crosswalks.

The DOT’s plan will redirect traffic on Broadway between 24th and 25th Streets to flow northbound (so that vehicles can only enter from Fifth Avenue), lower the speed limit to five miles per hour, narrow traffic from two lanes to one and change the color of the asphalt. The location was chosen due to its heavy foot traffic — a DOT study found that pedestrians outnumbered cars 18 to one on the block during peak hours. The DOT plans to implement the changes this summer.

“We’re going to improve pedestrian circulation, we’re going to provide more public space for the public to enjoy, and still provide vehicular access to the buildings and continued traffic flow,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said at the press conference.

Asked whether car-free Earth Day and the shared block in the Flatiron District could be a preview of more expansive traffic changes to come on Broadway, Trottenberg declined to address specifics. “I’d say we’re starting the journey,” she said. “I don’t know if we’re going to get there immediately, but I think we’re taking some exciting steps this year.”






Make text smaller Make text larger

Comments



MUST READ NEWS

Image A new vision for Wall Street
Plan reimagines New York Stock Exchange district with curbless shared streets, improved lighting and seating
Image Running for Congress in Trump’s Backyard

In his book, a Republican recounts his 2016 contest against Rep. Carolyn Maloney

Image Reclaiming Pride for the LGBTQ community

In the last two months, Heritage of Pride (HOP), the organization entrusted with the annual LGBTQ Pride Parade/March and the official NYC Pride events around the city...

VIDEOS



Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Neighborhood Newsletters





MOST READ

Local News
The summer of '78, in living color
  • May 16, 2018
Local News
A new vision for Wall Street
  • May 15, 2018
City Arts News
Good as gold
  • May 17, 2018
Crime Watch
Crime watch
  • May 15, 2018
Columns\Op-Ed
Running for Congress in Trump’s Backyard
  • May 15, 2018

MOST COMMENTED