Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Broadway is getting narrower in August

In the quest for more ameniable spaces for pedestrians to navigate through Midtown, the Bloomberg administration in conjunction with the Times Square Alliance, the Fashion Center B.I.D. and the 34th Street Partnership are designating the stretch of Broadway between 34th street and 42nd street, "Broadway Boulevard." These business improvement districts (BIDs) are spending $240,000 for maintenance and purchase of planters that line the sidewalks. The initial cost of creating the esplanade was disclose by Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan for the amount of $700,000 according to the NY Times.

The transformation of a very well known thoroughfare is the beginning of reclaimation of more productive spaces - spaces for more commerce in forms of outdoor cafes, vendors, advertising, hotels, stores and, in turn, revenue for the city. Don't be surprised that the venue not only lure more tourists in the area but could become the next site of Fashion Week events. However, not everyone is in favor of the change. Truckers who come bring in the goods to the respective stores are going to have a hard time. So will motorists who are accustomed to park nearby maybe forced to seek alternatives elsewhere. Time will tell how this experiment will develop.

Mayor Bloomberg has decisively made his vision of the city more apparent after the defeat in Albany for congestion pricing back in April. Realizing that idle traffic does not produce revenue other than for taxis and creates pollution (smog, noise and otherwise), the city's leaders are collaborating more productive spaces. Thanks to higher gas prices, tolls and maintenance, more and more motorists are parking their cars rather than driving it.

NYCDOT plan for Broadway Boulevard/Fashion district-Times Square - Herald Square (pdf file)
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