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Thread: Broadway Boulevard : Street Reclamation - Expanded Pedestrian Areas

  1. #331


    I love it. All of B'Way should look like that.

  2. #332


    So glad they are making Times Sq permanent.

  3. #333
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Sep 2003


    Driving through there was slow and frustrating to begin with. Better to just streamline it and make some large plazas in one of the most famous areas in the country.

  4. #334
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Oct 2002


    Video: See How NYC Streets Have Transformed Over The Last Decade

    By Ben Yakas

    Former Mayor Bloomberg (remember him?) may not be remembered quite the way he had hoped, but there's no denying that he dramatically changed the landscape of NYC through bike lanes, new buildings construction, and rezoning. And Streetfilms, which produces short films about transportation around the world, appreciates him for at least one of these things.

    After praising the Bloomberg administration (including out-going NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan) for their work making streets more livable, they write: "We have similarly high hopes for Mayor de Blasio as he takes office...and look forward to what he and his new NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg [will do]. As much as has been done, the large majority of our streets still need reforms, we need drastic policy change, slower speed limits and traffic calming for our most vulnerable citizens. Hopefully, this short gets them excited to top the transportation record of the Bloomberg administration."

    Below, check out their video showing how Times Square, Madison Square, Herald Square, Kent Avenue, the Brooklyn Waterfront, Queensboro Bridge, 9th Avenue, and more spots around Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens have radically changed over the course of Bloomberg's time in office.

  5. #335
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Oct 2002


    Times Square’s ‘public’ plazas make little profit

    By Kate Briquelet

    The public plazas in Times Square are often rented out for events but the city is making close to nothing in profits. Photo: Robert Miller

    The “public” plazas in Times Square are being pimped out for commercial events and product launches — but the city is making little profit.

    Now the local community board wants the city Department of Transportation to restrict events in the Crossroads of the World and charge higher rates as the NFL prepares to launch an outdoor theme park in the week leading up to the Super Bowl.

    The Super Bowl Boulevard, stretching from 34th to 47th streets, will run from noon to 10 p.m. between Jan. 29 and Feb. 1 and include a theater, an autograph and concert stage and a 60-foot-tall toboggan run.

    The city wouldn’t respond to requests for comment on how much the NFL was paying in events fees.

    “We want to make sure that the city gets a good deal when it rents out these spaces,” said Raju Mann, a member of Community Board 5. “Right now, they can’t technically make money, which is crazy from our perspective.”

    The city currently charges fees from several thousand dollars to upward of $20,000 to reimburse police and other agencies for crowd control and permit processing.

    The Times Square Alliance, which manages the plazas, receives a smaller concession fee, ranging from $950 to $28,000 for a large event.

    But little — if any — revenue goes into city coffers. The fees also aren’t covering maintenance costs to the alliance, which went over its plaza budget by $55,000 in 2013 and $99,000 in 2012.

    The alliance, which had revenues of $17.42 million in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013, received $74,000 in government grants.

    In 2013, corporations and nonprofit groups held more than 50 events in Times Square, including a promotional tent by People magazine for its Sexiest Man Alive issue. The city charged People $22,500 for crowd control and $9,500 for the alliance’s maintenance budget.

    Last week, the DOT withdrew a controversial proposal to expand the 41,000-square-foot plaza on Broadway and Seventh Avenue between 41st and 47th streets to 53rd Street. The plan would have tripled available concession space without instituting bigger fees.

    The community board and then-Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer disapproved of the plan.

  6. #336


    The redesign looks great so far. It feels like a legit plaza.

  7. #337


    Broadway as "Super Bowl Boulevard" with a toboggan slide for Super Bowl XLVIII

  8. #338
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Oct 2002


    Boulevard of Dreams

    Bryant Park Corporation builds momentum for 41st Street placemaking project.

    by Henry Melcher

    A proposal from the Bryant Park Corporation would turn a block of 41st Street into a linear plaza. Courtesy Bryant Park Corporation

    The congested stretch of 41st Street between Broadway and Sixth Avenue is less than a tenth of a mile long, but it could become a critical pedestrian link between Bryant Park, a privately owned public plaza, and the Broadway Boulevard if enough property owners chip in to spruce it up.

    The plan, called Boulevard 41, comes from the Bryant Park Corporation (BPC) and involves covering curbside lanes with moveable seating and planters. Streetsblog reported that the plan, which was first unveiled two years ago, has been approved by the Department of Transportation, FDNY, and Community Board 5, but needs private funding to move forward.

    Industrial designer Ignacio Ciocchini, who has created some of New York City’s more interesting street furniture, designed the project in-house. “We really concentrated on very simple urban solutions that make a difference,” said Ciocchini. The goal, he explained, was to create an inviting environment that was not tied to any particular business. The result is a stretched-out version of the city’s popular public plaza.

    Boulevard 41 includes 20 red chairs and silver planters made from Ciocchini’s signature laser-cut horizontal slats. Seating platforms are set between the planters and completed with railings, bistro tables, and Ipe decking. Each platform also has a hatch for cleaning and access to utilities. To try to boost support with local property owners, the platforms and planters are spaced out to not block any useful freight entrances.

    Two years after Boulevard 41 was first proposed, the BPC is sticking with its original plan to fund the $1.5 million project entirely with private money. But securing the necessary funds from adjacent buildings has proved difficult as those buildings keep changing hands.

    While Ciocchini currently puts the chance of Boulevard 41 being realized just under 50 percent, he is not giving up on it just yet. He is going back to the property owners, new and old, in hopes of convincing them that investing in the public realm is good both for the city and their own bottom line.

  9. #339


    Between the costumed characters and top less body painted women all hustling tourists for tips, Bla has had enough.

    The solution? Rip out the pedestrian plazas and put back the traffic.
    Last edited by BBMW; August 21st, 2015 at 12:31 AM.

  10. #340
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    So, all the money and effort already put into making Times Square more pedestrian friendly is wasted?

    Aren't there any other important issues to be dealt with in NYC at the moment?

    There are a lot worse problems than "...topless women and costumed panhandlers...", surely.

    Challenging Mayor de Blasio Over Times Square Plazas

    AUG. 21, 2015

    It was bad enough when the New York City police commissioner, William J. Bratton, reacting to tabloid headlines about topless women and costumed panhandlers in Times Square, suggested digging up the pedestrian plazas. That brought back memories of the 1980s, when New York officials refused to install benches in some city parks because they couldn’t figure out how to manage public space.Then Mayor Bill de Blasio made matters worse, saying he took the commissioner’s remark seriously. “We’re going to look at what the pros and cons would be,” he said at a news conference on Thursday in Queens, adding, “as a human being and a parent, I don’t think it’s appropriate, in the middle of one of the busiest squares in New York City, that women should display themselves that way.”

    Never mind the prudish grandstanding. The mayor, realizing voters fear that quality of life is declining in the city, gave New Yorkers only more cause for concern by entertaining a harebrained scheme.

    It’s hard to grasp his calculus. One of Mr. de Blasio’s big initiatives, Vision Zero, aims to improve pedestrian safety. Ripping up the pedestrian plazas in Times Square, restoring cars and forcing millions of people to dodge traffic again, runs headlong into his own policy.

    Costumed characters and visitors said the pedestrian plazas in Times Square were a great place to relax and people watch. Removing them would be sad, they said.

    Watch Times Video »

    As an exasperated Tim Tompkins, the president of the Times Square Alliance, put it on Thursday: “Sure, let’s tear up Broadway — we can’t govern, manage or police our public spaces.”
    “That’s not a solution,” he added. “It’s a surrender.”

    The Times Square plazas were devised by the former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and his transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan. Not for the first time, Mr. de Blasio is creating a peevish impression that, even now, he is running against his predecessor when he needs to be running the city. After the plazas opened in 2009, pedestrian injuries dropped 35 percent, and injuries to drivers and passengers in cars fell 63 percent, according to city records. Skeptics forecast calamity for retailers and commercial real estate. Business boomed. Surveys reported leaps in satisfaction by residents, workers and tourists.

    Then poll numbers dropped. First came an anti-Semitic Elmo, ranting outside Toys “R” Us. Super Mario groped a woman. Cookie Monster shoved a 2-year-old. Con artists began pressing CDs on teenagers. The painted desnudas arrived. Construction in the plazas exacerbated pedestrian congestion, and traffic worsened throughout Midtown. Anxieties spiked about Times Square spinning out of control.

    “There is no hard data that shows the retail or commercial office environment threatened in any way,” Mr. Tompkins told me Thursday afternoon in his office, which overlooks a pedestrian plaza. The neighborhood continues to fetch whopping rents for commercial real estate.

    That said, perceptions matter and, in time, they reshape economics.

    The pedestrian areas of Times Square. Credit Richard Perry/The New York Times But reopening streets to traffic in Times Square won’t help. Congestion pricing would. The mayor has been silent on that critical issue. Digging up plazas won’t stop hustlers. But smarter policing might, with a unit assigned to monitor costumed swindlers. “I know which Iron Man, Hulk and Minnie Mouse are bad actors out there,” Mr. Tompkins said with a straight face. That’s because he’s keeping track, day in, day out.

    As for family values, Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco has a painted area for buskers, first come first served. New York might cordon off the desnudas. Authorities failed to prosecute a Cookie Monster who was accused of molesting a 16-year-old girl this spring because the police couldn’t prove his identity. Officials ought to consider a no-fee volunteer registration for costumed characters — and those who don’t register could expect the police to be on their tails. One more thought: The plazas are still registered as streets, which limits rules governing them. They could get special district zoning designations that would allow new regulations.

    Surveys show that visitors and New Yorkers aren’t looking for Disneyland when they go to Times Square, which they want to remain spontaneous and a little crazy. They do want to feel safe, but that doesn’t mean that they care what anybody is wearing, or not wearing. It means that they want some sense of control over their surroundings, a bottom line in public space.

    Time and again, Mr. de Blasio leaves an impression that he understands very little about the dynamics of urbanism and the physical fabric of the city — its parks and plazas, its open spaces, libraries, transit network and streetscape, which all contribute to issues he cares most about, like equity and social mobility. Entertaining the demolition of the plazas, the mayor sends a message that New York can’t support the sort of great pedestrian hubs that thrive in competing cities around the globe.

    The conversion of traffic-addled Times Square, one of the democratic crossroads of the world, contributed to making New York the most progressive city in the country, transportation-wise. Mr. Bloomberg and Ms. Sadik-Khan created pedestrian plazas in underserved neighborhoods, too, which were starved for public space. Many of those places are now havens and boons for jobs and local businesses.

    Mr. de Blasio should be expanding the plaza program. What the city needs is serious thinking from the mayor about planning and public space.

    What it’s getting is zero vision.

  11. #341


    As the article states ; "it is hard to grasp his calculus" . The reason something just does not 'add up ' here is because there is probably more to the equation than is being presented to the public: I suspect there is more to the story but just don't care enough to conduct a federal investigation.

    Theory one: NYC politicians travel around town to their press conferences, luncheons, and such in chauffeured town cars - blocking that central roadway has in fact added additional traffic congestion in Manhattan. So, they don't much like sitting in stalled traffic.

    Theory two: During the day, but mostly at night, there are many homeless people dwelling in the plaza. There are many photos posted on the Internet and in the news that are very shameful looking: and justifiably an embarrassment to our local politicians for their lack of effort or interest in dealing effectively with our growing homeless population here in NYC.

    Theory three: I am working on a plausible hypothesis and will post if/when it occurs to me why the Mayor is taking on this issue of all issues. There is just no understanding his calculus on this one for sure.
    Last edited by infoshare; August 22nd, 2015 at 08:58 PM.

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