City rolls out 'shared streets' in two Manhattan neighborhoods

In two Manhattan neighborhoods, the city is rolling out what are known as shared streets, open space for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers. NY1's Michael Scotto reports.

In the Flatiron District, a new type of street has been rolled out. It's called a shared street, and it's aimed at creating an environment where cars travel at just 5 mph so pedestrians and cyclists have an easier time getting around.

"I think it's better to have more people walking around and less cars," said one person in the neighborhood.

Earlier this week, the city's first permanent shared street opened on Broadway between 24th and 25th streets.

Down in Chinatown, the city is testing another one. For three Fridays this month, Mott Street between Worth and Bayard will be open to pedestrians, cyclists and slow-moving cars. 

The concept is already in use in other cities across the country and world, including Pittsburgh and Barcelona. 

"It gives a chance to take a city street and slow cars down and let people walk and bike and eat and listen to music and just enjoy themselves," said Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.

Making the streets more accessible to people not in cars has been a major goal of the city for the past decade. During that time, bike lanes and pedestrian plazas have become part of the landscape, sometimes to the dismay of drivers.

While this new concept allows for cars, drivers will realize it's only worth being on those streets when it's absolutely necessary.

"We're always trying to balance, you know, making the city more enjoyable for pedestrians and cyclists and creating more public space, but also the needs of traffic and business and deliveries. So the shared street concept lets you do both," Trottenberg said. 

The city is exploring adding more of these shared streets throughout the five boroughs. An announcement is likely this fall.

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