Car free zones in Herald Square and Times Square are great for pedestrians and people watching but some say that the new areas create even more traffic in New York’s busiest areas while others say it hurts business.
Mayor Bloomberg and his administration officials say the plazas have made the city more secure, more livable, and even sped up traffic. They’re petitioning applications to open other plazas around the city and are focusing on Union Square in downtown Manhattan.
On the other hand, motorists and taxi drivers claim traffic jams are far worse, not better. While some business owners – especially those in Union Square—say they’re worried about the plazas preventing their access to customers and the local fire station.
The creation of plazas in midtown is part of a long term effort by Bloomberg’s administration to reinvent the street grid in one of the most traffic-dense areas in Manhattan.
The goal has mainly been to improve traffic flow, although the first results have been mixed – a study released this year by the city proved that new travel times were not as speedy as the goals the city had originally set.