Times Square Pedestrian Malls Permanent

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Traffic barriers restrict Times Square to foot and bike traffic only (Matt Dellinger)

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is making permanent the experimental pedestrian plaza on Broadway around Times Square.

When Mayor Bloomberg closed Times Square to car traffic last summer, the move caused consternation among cab drivers and New Yorkers who said the mayor was tinkering with the crossroads of the world. But it turns out merchants and office workers largely approve of the measure with big majorities saying it has made the Times Square experience better.

Mayor Bloomberg says data from nearly two million taxi trips shows traffic in the western part of midtown has improved seven percent from before the experment, and that it's particularly swift going up sixth Avenue and cross-town.

But taxi drivers say they don't believe Mayor Bloomberg's new data on improved traffic after the closure of Broadway.

"Broadway is closed so how can traffic go faster?" says Hussain Khamrul, a taxi driver.

The mayor says the pedestrian malls have made the busy intersections safer, too, cutting injuries by 63 percent for drivers and passengers, and 35 percent for pedestrians.

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