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I walked through the Times Square pedestrian plaza once. It was on a summer day when I was acting as a tourist. I had family visiting from China, so we took a bus tour and made our way through Times Square. It's great for that purpose only. It's wonderful for tourists to stroll around, shop, and not be bombarded by cars honking horns and taxis swerving about.
Has the pedestrian plaza in Times Square made the air cleaner and the streets safer? Mayor Bloomberg says yes. Speaking at an environmental summit, the Mayor cited a Department of Health study that found traffic-related pollutants in the area decreased 40% since the creation of the plaza. The Mayor also says the plaza has reduced traffic deaths "almost to zero."
The findings come one day after an NYU report analyzing Census numbers found only 0.6% of New Yorkers use bicycles to get to and from work. The Department of Transportation disputed the accuracy of the findings, saying more New Yorkers are using dedicated bike lanes than ever. What do you say?
Are the pedestrian plazas around town working to make the air cleaner and the streets safer? Have you noticed an increase in cyclists using bike lanes? What suggestions do you have to improve transportation on the streets of New York City?
Send your thoughts using the link above.
I hardly ever see anyone using the lanes They ride all over the road and the sidewalks They were a waste of money Just like renaming the tri-borough and the queensborough bridges What a ridiculous waste of money from a city that is crying poverty and firing teachers The prince mayor should pony up the cash
No matter what effect pedestrian plazas have on local air quality and street safety, we are gravely and carelessly endangering public health and safety by focusing on this Bloomberg "greenwash" sideshow.
Instead of being beguiled by Bloomberg's 'green' PR, we should be outraged by his Wall Street friendly 'green' marketing scheme for sustainable infrastructure development.
The real story is Bloomberg's 'Building America's Future' think-tank and the 'National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank' - a private-financier investment model which opens the door to endless profiteering on vital national expenditures and the insidious privatization of public assets.
Yes, we need to re-design cities and create sustainable transportation, but while we
are pre-occupied with official small talk, private-financier class stratagems loot the economy at the people's expense.
Bicycles are toys and should be banned from the streets. Bicycle riders violate traffic laws repeatedly yet suffer nothing (except for the recent crackdown in Central Park). If they’re going to remain on the streets and be the pestilence that they are, they must be licensed and the bicycles must be inspected and registered just like any other vehicle. That’s the only way their bad habits can be broken.
Don’t mention the absurd idea of “traffic calming.” All that means is that the bicycle lanes and their users have reduced the space cars, trucks and buses need to safely get around town. Traffic calming = traffic congestion.
If you move traffic off one street and onto another, claim that traffic congestion has been decreased on the first, isn’t it logical to conclude that congestion has been increased on the other street? There is no other conclusion since there has been no overall traffic reduction.
Likewise with “bad air.” If the source of the bad air has been moved, the quality of air in the place to which it was moved has to have worsened.
Oh, I forgot. Logic is not Bloomberg’s strong point.
Port Richmond, SI
As much as the wizard of NYC thinks that he is helping the citizens, his ideas were and still are strangely misdirected. Anyone with a pile of cash can conjure the statistics that he desires to make his point. Sorry, it doesn't wash with me. I can hardly wait for the next "real" Mayor of NYC to un-do all of these experiments in social engineering.
He could have made his big money real estate pals build parking structures in those condo towers of wealth and allow commuters who inexplicably choose to drive to Manhattan to pay a fair rate and keep a few cross streets as no parking zones so traffic can flow.
As far as bicycles go, how about making a real effort to keep them off of the sidewalks? Two bike rental stores on W 57th btwn 8th and 9th have people pouring out to enjoy our city and being a hazard to everyone who rents from them, as the tourists drive wherever they desire.
WHEN THE MAYOR WAS MAKING THOSE UNTRUE CLAIMS, WAS HE WEARING A BIG BASS DRUM TIED TO HIS FRONT AND CYMBALS ON HIS KNEES? HE WILL NEXT BE ABLE TO TELL US ABOUT COTTON CANDY CLOUDS AND PEPPERMINT STREET SIGNS. BIKE LANES AND PEDESTRIAN PLAZAS ARE A FAILED, WASTEFUL AND EXPENSIVE PROJECT. DOT COMMISSIONER JANETTE SADIST - KHAN HAS TALENTS BETTER UTILIZED IN A CIRCUS SETTING.
JOE, BAY TERRACE
Look I don't know what sort of kudos the mayor's trying to score with EPA, but the bike lanes and pedestrian plazas are a waste of time and money!! Cleaner air ridiculous!!! The money spent on bike lanes and plazas could and should have been better spent on better signage and traffic mechanisms to make streets safer. We have parks. We keep going from bad to worst.
We know Bloomy is always blowing his own horn because no other Nyer's are anymore maybe except kelly - quin and his upper stock inner group of high flyers all rich now group- Do you reazie how much money the stores in that area have lost just from people walking by and people hopping out of cabs to crab goodies - These places arent just for people to look good for him- there are real live people who own mom and pop stores who need this business and the caf'e look is old fast - and in the summer the sir is so bad who is really suffering- He is sop full of himself - -be gone already-
As a motorist/pedestrian/cyclist, the over-emphasis in an almost obsessive-compulsive fashion by Khan-sadik and bloomberg on bicycle lanes where they dont belong makes any objective debate moot. DOT should instead eliminate traffic signals that are not synchronized and have more left turn signals and not wait for fatalities to occur before placing a signal there or all way stop signs. I would also stop issuing licenses to drunks and psychos (the mentally deranged). I knew a Jack Russell terrier who drove better than today's average driver. SUV's should pay much higher insurance premiums until their owners are cognizant of "right-of way" vehicle and traffic law.
NO, NO AND NO TO EVERYTHING.
Now are we supposed to believe this report and as usual he always needs someone to be with him and so does this mean that having Clinton there that this validates the bogus findings. Again he believes that we all took dummy pills again today. He keeps tooting his own horn over and over again.
GET RID OF ALL THE BIKE LANES AND ALL OF THE MALLS BECAUSE THE MAJORITY OF US DO NOT LIKE NOR WANT THEM ANYWHERE IN THE CITY. OH! AND BY THE WAY DOES HE HAVE THE RESULTS OF A SURVEY AS TO HOW MANY OF THE TABLES AND CHAIRS HAVE BEEN STOLEN SO FAR? I GUESS NOT BECAUSE THAT WOULD RUIN HIS IMAGE. NO ONE CARES ABOUT HIM OR HIS ADMINISTRATION AND SO THEY SHOULD ALL GO AND GIVE SOMEONE ELSE A CHANCE.
I think the Mayor has been smoking what the people in Times Square have been smoking!
Chip, Formally of The Upper East Side
I like the fact that you undertake such a delicate subject that affects so many lives.
I do all three: ride a bike and drive around town and other boroughs by car and I also use public transportation . I lived in Washington heights for more than twenty years and I have always shared the road without any problem.
Bad idea the bike lanes. We the people ask for more road space and parking for cars. As for mid town maybe creating some elevated cross walks so that the pedestrians crossing don’t cause the grid locks for cars. The plazas are just unnecessary. The bus lanes and are all too often empty while cars are bumper to bumper. The double buses another bad idea. They are always jack driving into the car lanes and causing again more traffic. One more thing, not allowing the bikes to ride in the parks seems to be discouraging good healthy living. If you bike across the parks you should not have to walk your bike or force to cross the park with the cars where they are no bike lanes. It’s not that many bikes that use the roads and most of them are careful bikers, after all its their lives and safety more than anyone else.
Please allow bikers to continue to enjoy the roads but not with the bike lanes. Cars are such an essential tool in the economy and if you allow more cars space and parking for them, New Yorkers will feel a lot better.
I'm not writing to complain, I just want people to consider that the main benefits of separated bicycle lanes and traffic calming measures are increased safety. Argue all you want about measures that impact convenience, but we cannot ignore the hundreds of traffic related injuries and deaths each year, and we can't easily dismiss road improvements that save dozens of lives.
Kips Bay, Manhattan
The pedestrian plazas and bike lanes are awesome! Why are people being so negative with projects that aim to beautify our crowded, bumper to bumper city?? Mike is making an effort to get people out and enjoy our city. Keep them coming! On a different note, thumbs down to the Parks Dept. for not offering any bike riding programs or bike rentals in the summer.... They should be leading the initiative.
Sidewalks are for people the streets are for vehicles including bike cycles and that is what is says in the NYS VTL enforce the traffic laws on the bike cycles and maybe not so many will die and get injured. Taking a street that drivers paid for is the same thing as a thief sticking their hand in your pocket you would not stand for it. The next man/woman that runs for mayor that will get rid of the bike lanes and the ped plazas has my vote
As a pedestrian, I'd love it if cyclists actually followed traffic lights, and could get ticketed for not abiding the same rules as cars should. Cyclists are not always as aware of the pedestrians and often fly through intersections without regard for right of way. On the other hand, I don't see them as too much of a problem.
It's interesting to me how bikers fight tirelessly for their rights as they feel subjugated by drivers. Then, when they get what they want and then some, they in turn subjugate pedestrians.
Bikers are out of control with or without lanes and should be more regulated by police. Who is a pedestrian to subjugate? Squirrels?
A a bike commuter I agree that bikers should follow the traffic rules to make it safe for all, stay off sidewalks etc. But bike lanes save lives- like mine. I've been hit by cars who don't look for bikers. Bike lanes save lives and as more people move to the city, cars will overload the system, bikes are the answer.
Mike from Brooklyn
As a career environmental scientist and one who cycled to work in 3 east coast cities in the 1970s, taught seminars on safe group riding skills, still lead rides, and I've seen how cycling and pedestrian plazas across Europe (notably Amsterdam and Copenhagen), make them better cities. I am convinced that NYC's new bike lanes and pedestrian plazas are a step towards making NYC much friendlier city where people are seeing and interacting with one another directly rather than from inside dangerous, heavy vehicles.
What I am NOT seeing in all the reportage is any data. No graphs, just generalities. We see the same press conference over and over. How many people were previously maimed or killed in the TImes Square plaza on foot or bikes in an average year vs. 2011? Which pollutants are lower? How much lower? What does high exposure to these pollutants do to one? (I know the answers, but you can bet your audience does not). What are the health costs of the injuries, illnesses and deaths avoided?
Maybe the air quality in the pedestrian plaza was greater. However, i'd bet the air quality in the areas where traffic was diverted was more poor than usual. Bike lanes narrows our already clogged streets...thus, giving justification for the mayor's congestion pricing heist. Besides...bike riders RARELY use the lanes.
Far Rockaway, NY
I live on East 61 Street and I am getting more and more frustrated with the car traffic. There is a 7am to 1 am "honking contest" on our street and it goes on 24 hours on the weekend. Ambulances are stranded in traffic for as long as half an hour!
I go to Central park often and see the poor cyclists, runners and tourists sqeeze themselves against the cars, inhaling the fumes.
THEY SHOULD DO MORE! MORE BIKE LANES! I'm not going to other boroughs to honk or pollute their air. So why should they?
When they poll the people who are against bike lanes it's because they don't live in Manhattan! Show me how many Manhattanites are against bike lanes!
Meli, Upper East Side
Cabs Cabs Cabs
If there were some way to stop taxis from cruising as some other cities do, and instead have them wait with their engines OFF at designated taxi stands (and yes, there would have to be some construction done) I am certain carbon emission would be reduced tremendously. If you look at cars on the street in Manhattan during the day, you will notice that a large number are empty cabs.
The whole bike lane and clean air debate is suffering from the same toxic atmosphere that is infecting every single issue today - too much shouting, not enough listening.
Bike lanes are great. But some of them don't work.
Pedestrian plazas can be cool. But some of them are in stupid places.
Why can't bike advocates (like myself) acknowledge that a lane like the one on Prospect Park West, which is mostly populated by toddlers on scooters, strolling picnic'ers, and joggers (yes, joggers!) isn't cutting it?
And why can't drivers admit that some lanes on some routes (Vanderbilt Ave in Brooklyn, for instance) are really helping to make the road safer for all?
Why have I never seen a single idling vehicle get a ticket?
Why hasn't the city figured out a way to stop the thousands of ambulances in the city from idling ALL DAY EVERY DAY?
Why, after almost three terms, has Bloomberg not managed to make NYC any more recycling friendly than it was when he took office?
Let's look at more solutions, more ideas, take more action, and try to listen to the other side a little bit and stop digging in heels all the time....
I love the lanes and the idea but with cuts in education and schools and people being layed off, I would rather the Mayor not make this a priority now.
I'd like to know how much money is being spent on the lanes?
Lesley from Brooklyn
Bloomberg has done a great job eliminating pollutants in NYC, though not as well as he's done eliminating the sick, poor, and elderly. Sometimes I wonder if he sees them as the same thing.
I'm so pleased that the air in NYC is improving. Gee- I live on Springfield Blvd in Queens Village and have seen no diminishing of truck traffic even though it's banned. Sorry-no pedetestrian malls in Queens. Gee- I guess I should move to Manhattan-oh I just remember-can't afford to live in Manhattan
:o) Jack B.
I don't see many bikes in the bike lanes, but I see plenty of them all over the sidewalk and on the street going the wrong way and weaving in and out of traffic. The bike lanes are a pain in the butt to drivers and serve no purpose. The pedestrian plazas are a waste of resources and cause traffic congestion. Let's face it, Bloomberg is doing everything he can to push his congestion pricing down our throats. What is good or bad for us doesn't matter to him. He just wants to get his own way.
I don;t visit the Times Square Area so I don;t know if the air is cleaner & the streets safer???? I do know that the bike lanes in my area are dangerous. I was driving on Crescent Street in Astoria-there were 3 bicyclists in front of me-riding side by side oblivious to the cars behind them,. They rode through a red light -didn;t have helmits; lights etc.???As for car pollution>??? What about the #6 oil that our schools are burning??? Give us a break-& STOP TOOTING YOUR HORN- As for REDUCING TRAFFIC DEATHS TO ALMOST ZERO-hello-if there are no cars-wouldn;t that account for no deaths??
I have been a cyclist since I have moved into manhattan in 1982. bloomberg is king in my book. It is essential for everyone to have the bike lanes and the fools who have an issue with it are old stubborn out of shape farts.
These lanes are a menace, create blind spots for vehicles, and are not really utilized as intended or stated!!! The creation of bike lanes in an original parking lane that moved the parking lane "into the street" are unsafe for vehicles and people alike. The lanes are not well marked. Cars moving along in what is assumed to be a regular driving lane, crosses an intersection and than finds it is in a parking lane with no notice. Here is another traffic jam as moving traffic does not let the vehicle move into its lane. Traffic in all of the arteries to the plazas and bike lanes are frequently filled with more traffic and congestion and major slow downs of moving traffic.
Broadway south of Canal Street has created traffic that goes back up north on Broadway up past Houston Street to Bleecker Street and all the way back West to Varick Street!!!!! This is an absurdity. The small village streets have a very hard time with this and is compounded by NYU's construction and intermittent street closures as they see fit. The city seems to be getting prepped for tourists with no consideration for those who do not have time to order a meal in the middle of the day and in the middle of the street!!!
What has happened to the pollution in the surrounding streets? Many bicycles go the way THEY to. That is to say against traffic, on the right not the left of moving vehicles, as is where the bicycle lanes are. A lot of money is being spent that we do not have on unnecessarily redoing roadways in perfect shape, while those in need of repair sit untouched.
I just do not see the benefit of Bike Lanes. Especially down major roadways. I live in Brooklyn and the vity cut down Beford Ave from 3 lanes to 2 to accommadate bikers who hardly use it. Sometimes bikers do not even use the lanes or use them in correctly by going against traffic. If you want to ride a bike use a park or side street.
Not only do we have cleaner air but the city looks much nicer and will attract tourists and new residents. Good job Bloomberg!