NYC’s New Vision for its City Streets
Last week the Bloomberg administration released New York City’s first street design manual in an effort to rethink the current car dominated landscape in favor of a plan that considers alternative modes of transportation and pedestrian-friendly public spaces. The guidelines are a culmination of nearly two years of research and are meant to reflect a push for greater sustainability in our urban centers, both in terms of environmental concerns and community interactions. In addition to providing a new vision for the city’s streets, the initiative hopes to streamline the design process – currently a typical street can involve multiple city agencies working on specific aspects from light poles to awnings that ultimately slow progress and lead to inefficiencies.
Though drivers might feel otherwise, the plan certainly marks a welcome departure from the utilitarian design of the city implemented by Robert Moses:
“Moses had a sort of utopian view of orderly, suburban places that de-emphasized New York’s ‘cityness,’ while Bloomberg embraces the soul of the city itself and recognizes it as a solution to the region’s environmental, sustainability, and energy problems,” said Robert Puentes, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program.
One such initiative is The Broadway Pilot Program that eliminates automobile traffic from two sections along Broadway, in Times Square between 42nd and 47th and in Herald Square between 33rd and 35th streets. The radical new design for the heart of Midtown went into effect on Sunday. Gothamist reports on some of the public’s reactions and compiles some photos from the day.
[image via ultraclay! on Flickr]