Broadway To Become More Pedestrian

Ken AshfordPopular CultureLeave a Comment

This sounds like a good thing:

The city plans to close several blocks of Broadway to vehicle traffic through Times Square and Herald Square, an experiment that would turn swaths of the Great White Way into pedestrian malls and continue Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s effort to reduce traffic congestion in Midtown.

Although it seems counterintuitive, officials believe the move will actually improve the overall flow of traffic, because the diagonal path of Broadway tends to disrupt traffic where it intersects with other streets.

The city plans to introduce the changes as early as May and keep them in effect through the end of the year. If the experiment works, they could become permanent. The plan was described by several people who were briefed on it this week.


The plan calls for Broadway to be closed to vehicles from 47th Street to 42nd Street. Traffic would continue to flow through on crossing streets, but the areas between the streets would become pedestrian malls, with chairs, benches and cafe tables with umbrellas.

Seventh Avenue would be widened slightly within Times Square to accommodate the extra traffic diverted from Broadway.

Below 42nd Street, Broadway would be open to traffic, but then would shut down again at Herald Square, from 35th Street to 33rd Street. Then, below 33rd, it would open again.

Here's how it will look from Broadway and 7th Street, looking north (before, after).  Note the pedestrian mall in the background (going all the way to 47th Street) as well as the foreground.


And a view of Herald Square (Macy's on the right) before and after.  Again, pedestrian malls are in the foreground and background.