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Walking the walk: Adams administration is right to expand pedestrian plazas in Midtown

Broadway is the street with the most history in the world, and not just because of the theaters around Times Square. So it’s no small feat that Mayor Adams is now moving to redo a patch of the Great White Way in the heart of Midtown.

Building on the work that began in earnest under Mike Bloomberg and his Transportation Commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, who turned the busiest part of the street, between 47th and 42nd streets, into a pedestrian plaza, Adams, his Transportation Commissioner Transportation, Ydanis Rodríguez, and his newly appointed director of the public sphere, Ya-Ting Liu will push cars to the sidewalk for seven nearby blocks. Well, not quite to the sidewalk: while no cars will be allowed between 25th and 27th streets, with people and outdoor dining filling the streets, the next five blocks to 32nd street will be “shared,” which is to say that vehicles will be discouraged from using the road, but not outright prohibited.

When Sadik-Khan was in charge of the city streets, the idea of ​​letting people on foot and bicycles dominate the roads previously reserved for cars, trucks and buses met with a fierce reaction among drivers who were convinced it would mean the end of a livable Manhattan. . But the pedestrian plazas created throughout the city have stood the test of time and have proven immensely popular with residents, commuters, and tourists alike.

Sure, there are trade-offs. Banning cars from major roads certainly complicates life for those who drive on a daily basis; and makes it harder for businesses to get their deliveries, and for people with mobility issues to get mid-block pickup and drop-off. All of which is why this needs to be done strategically, not ideologically. Cars are part of the urban ecosystem, not the evil invaders that some paint.

Sadik-Khan first opened on Broadway in 2009 and has been wildly successful for years. It shouldn’t have taken all this time to add a few more blocks to production.

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