So Mr. Mike is changing things up again. Mayor Bloomberg in 2009 instituted a ‘pedestrian plaza’ in Times Square and Herald Square to cut down on traffic and make the walking a little easier for folks who are out enjoying the town. While this is not really new news, it was news to me and that was when it occurred to me, I hadn’t been in Times Square in such a long time.
According to reports from New York Magazine (1) “Mayor Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn announced (February 11, 2010) that the Broadway pedestrian plaza experiment they instituted last year has been a wild success and will continue in perpetuity, with ‘new paving and permanent seating’ on the way.”
I saw these tables which were little more than tin patio table and chairs and all I could think was they needed something a little more substantial and a little less ‘take-me-and-walk-away’ to really lure in the type of sitter the Mayor hopes for. At the same time even the dingiest homeless person wouldn’t really want these table and chairs. Of course anything is better than nothing but just like the subway system in New York City your first thought is ‘where am I sitting?’ and your second thought is ‘who just got up from here?’.
New York Magazine continues, “according to their (Bloombergs) statistics, traffic has moved faster, fewer people have been hit by cars, and more people have been walking around in Times Square.” While I wonder about the absolute validity of their ‘more people’ comment, the biggest way to cut down on ‘hit by cars’ incidents is to eliminate cars from the area altogether!
At the same time I like where Mayor Mike is coming down on this argument. People need to be on foot in Times Square. It has always been a constant battle with cars usually winning out. So the fact that visitors can get out and get around on foot without the fear of automobile traffic is encouraging.
It does still take a little bit of getting used to though. Some folks I saw were standing at the corner of 43rd Street when the “Don’t Walk” signal was up even though cars would have absolutely no reason to turn on Broadway.
Everything in its own time I guess. While we wait to see what the long term future of this pedestrian only Times Square is, I couldn’t help but be tickled by one last comment from New York Magazine about the Bloomberg camps claim that ‘more people have been walking around in Times Square…’
New York Magazine’s position: “…which is good because, seriously, that place was a ghost town.”