Times Square is one of the most crowded pedestrian areas in the city. As I covered over a year ago, the Times Square Alliance, the local business association, suggested closing the cutover between Seventh Avenue and Broadway - the “bowtie”, to create additional pedestrian space between the two avenues.
On Sunday, the New York Post reported that DOT has agreed to a six-month test of this change.
Here is a diagram of the new pattern.
I’m now at Borough President Scott Stringer’s transportation conference, where DOT Commissioner Iris Weinshall just announced the change and also talked about DOT’s efforts to create more public spaces, such as the closing of a portion of Willoughby Street in Downtown Brooklyn, and their commitment to creating more such spaces in neighborhoods throughout the city.
If DOT follows through on this in a big way, it could mean a significant improvement in the quality of life in New York. Just last weekend I was walking around SoHo, on Spring Street, where the sidewalks are very narrow, but the streets fairly wide. Each block had about 16 parked cars, and over a hundred pedestrians, yet the pedestrians were squeezed into a much smaller space than the empty cars. On the other hand, DOT could simply change a few minor spots extremely slowly, and change is certainly needed. I hope they will make a serious effort in this area.