Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Plan would close Strips of Broadway

with one comment

New York Times

Before Vancouver readers get the vapours, this story comes to you live from New York City. That is a place where they are taking placemaking seriously.

The plan calls for Broadway to be closed to vehicles from 47th Street to 42nd Street. Traffic would continue to flow through on crossing streets, but the areas between the streets would become pedestrian malls, with chairs, benches and cafe tables with umbrellas.

The idea is simple. Cities are supposed to be about people interacting – not cars blasting through as fast they can. Many other cities throughout the world have used similar projects to achieve places that actually encourage people to linger, which, it turns out is good both for business and for the general well being of citizens.

As luck would have it I was in the area today and have some pictures. But first you need the map

Mounted Police Officer in Times Square

Mounted Police Officer in Times Square

The area has already seen traffic lanes taken for better pedestrain movement as the area has increasingly attracted tourists since the rather seedy area was refurbished some years ago.

Times Square Bike Lane

Times Square Bike Lane

And as the Times notes Mayor Bloomberg wants to “Tto change the way the city thinks of its streets, making them more friendly to pedestrians and cyclists and chipping away at the dominance of the automobile.”

It would be nice if Vancouver’s new mayor would adoor a similar policy but I won’t hold my breath on that one. The DVBIAis nothing like as progressive as the New 42nd Street group.

Written by Stephen Rees

February 26, 2009 at 7:14 pm

One Response

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  1. Vancouver Downtown business association will have to get on the bandwagon whether they like it or not as, during the Olympics, Robson street and other downtown streets will be closed to cars. I guess someone in Vanoc must be afraid that foreign tourists might find our great city a boring little burg if it didn’t have pedestrian streets like so many other towns around the world. Unfortunately a couple of weeks is not enough to wean locals from their unhealthy dependence on cars.

    Red frog

    February 28, 2009 at 12:51 am

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