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Thread: Broadway Boulevard : Street Reclamation - Expanded Pedestrian Areas

  1. #46

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    The problem with this plan is that it is not nearly ambitious enough. The boulevard really should run from Columbus Circle (and thus Central Park) to Union Square. Hopefully, they will do this right, and leave New Yorkers handkering for more.

  2. #47

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    ^
    Yes, they're like appetizers.

    But you've got to keep in mind that these projects are funded right out of the budget, so they can be done quickly. Something more elaborate would have to be financed, bidding, contracts.

    The big thing is that they stake a claim on the street.

  3. #48
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    I appreciate that point. It is something positive to focus on. I hope we get to the stage that ninth ave south of 23rd is at: a bike lane with an island and cars parked at the curb, between it and traffic.

  4. #49

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    And keep your fingers crossed that cb4 gets it's way...they want to extend that 9th ave bike lane all the way up into hell's kitchen as far north as they can!

  5. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by scumonkey View Post
    And keep your fingers crossed that cb4 gets it's way...they want to extend that 9th ave bike lane all the way up into hell's kitchen as far north as they can!
    I'd love this! I live right on 45th and 9th and have been itching for an excuse to blow a couple hundred on a bike.

  6. #51

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    Front-Row Seats on Broadway, if You Dare

    By WILLIAM NEUMAN
    Published: August 25, 2008

    As if New York wasn’t stimulating enough already, the city has provided a new kind of thrill right in the heart of Midtown: an esplanade carved into Broadway where people can sit and relax as cars and trucks whiz by.

    Ruth Fremson/The New York Times
    Strategically placed planters, weighing 600 to 1,000 pounds, help protect people on an esplanade from wayward traffic.

    Ruth Fremson/The New York Times
    Mala Ghisai, left, with her daughter, Sangeeva Van Elleswijk, 16, said that the nearby traffic enhanced their lunch on the Broadway esplanade on Monday.

    And while the esplanade seems to have become an instant hit with office workers and tourists — the metal benches, tables and chairs (some under red umbrellas) were rarely empty on Monday morning, even though they have been out for only a few days — many eyed the traffic warily.

    “I think it’s dangerous,” said Vicki Lee, who nonetheless sat with two friends eating lunch at a cafe table on the esplanade just south of 38th Street. Ms. Lee, a clothing designer at a Midtown fashion company, was careful to sit so that she could keep an eye on the traffic heading downtown.

    Her concern, she said, centered on the gray plastic planters arrayed every few feet along the edge of the esplanade as a buffer for the passing traffic. The planters were filled with soil, flowers and other plants and were too heavy for one person alone to budge. Yet they did not make Ms. Lee feel safe.

    “You hear so many accidents of the cars going out of control and all they have here is plastic pots,” she said. But she dug into her salad and added, “We’re going to roll the dice and eat lunch here today.”

    Not far away, Eric Sachinis and Grace Ong sat on two metal chairs pulled up to the edge of the esplanade closest to the traffic. They ate sandwiches and gazed at the passing cars.

    “It’s a death trap,” Mr. Sachinis, a network administrator for a garment company, said with a laugh. “It’ll be up for a month and then somebody’ll get hit and they’ll take it down.”

    “I like it, though,” said Ms. Ong, an administrative assistant, who observed that a pedestrian would be no safer on the sidewalk than on the esplanade if a car lost control. Besides, she said, the esplanade was a good spot for people watching. “That’s why you live in New York,” she said, “to watch everything go by.”

    The city Transportation Department, which created the esplanade, assured that it was safe.

    “The plaza is protected by parked cars in some locations and in others by planters weighing 600 or 1,000 pounds and stationed in positions that prevent vehicles from passing in between,” said Seth Solomonow, a spokesman for the department. “We have used planters as a pedestrian safeguard in this way at numerous locations throughout the city.”

    To create the esplanade, the city took away two of the four traffic lanes on Broadway from 42nd to 35th Streets. On the eastern portion of Broadway, it created the new pedestrian areas, which have a gravel coating glued to the pavement, and a bike lane that runs next to the sidewalk. And it bought the benches, tables, chairs and planters, which were set out last week. The project cost $700,000.

    The city also created parking areas along parts of the esplanade, and the parked vehicles create an added buffer for pedestrians.

    Richie Frakes, 61, a state worker, sat undeterred at the corner of 37th Street with his back to traffic.

    “I think it’s great,” he said, munching on a salad from a plastic container. “It’s the first time in my life I ever had lunch in the middle of Broadway.”

    Eric Osorio, 45, an electrician who was eating lunch with a colleague at a cafe table, said that the esplanade was a nice change from eating lunch at the construction job he was working on nearby.

    “This is way better,” he said. “We’re in our glory here.”

    But Mr. Osorio also looked dubiously at the leafy planters.

    “A truck would wipe us all out,” he said.

    Three business improvement districts, the Times Square Alliance, the Fashion Center B.I.D. and the 34th Street Partnership, have agreed to maintain the esplanade and pay for the plantings.

    Karis Durmer, 29, who works at Condé Nast in Times Square, said the esplanade had transformed a part of the city that she had thought of as unbearable: “Just people and the noise, the traffic, it’s all cars and smoke and honking.”

    “It’s amazing how a few plants can make you feel removed from all that,” she said, as she sat near the northern edge of the esplanade. (At one point her conversation was interrupted when the siren of a passing fire truck drowned out her words.) “They transport you to a calmer place.”

    Ruth Fremson/The New York Times
    The city is monitoring the esplanade, which runs from 42nd to 35th Streets, to see if it affects traffic conditions in Midtown.

    Ms. Durmer looked at the nearby benches and chairs, which were full of people. “What I find amazing is the minute this pops up, overnight people are already utilizing it.”

    The esplanade seemed to be especially popular with tourists.

    Mala Ghisai, 44, and her daughter, Sangeeva Van Elleswijk, 16, of the Netherlands, took a lunch break on the esplanade with plastic containers of salad bar food after a morning of shopping in Manhattan.

    Far from being bothered by the traffic, they said that it was what they had come to New York to experience.

    “I enjoy it because of the crowds, because of the traffic,” Ms. Ghisai said.

    Although Broadway has been narrowed, the flow of traffic on Monday did not seem to be noticeably tangled as a result of the recent changes.

    Janette Sadik-Khan, the transportation commissioner, has said that traffic patterns might shift and that there was enough capacity on other nearby avenues for drivers.

    A spokesman for the Transportation Department, which created the esplanade as part of a program to make streets better places for pedestrians and bicycles, said on Monday that officials were monitoring the esplanade’s effect on traffic.

    Robert Stribley, 39, an information architect at an Internet design firm with an office on Broadway, said that he found the experience of sitting on the esplanade surreal.

    “You look around and expect a truck to veer off and plow into you at any moment,” he said. “It’s not Bryant Park. You’ve got exhaust coming at you. But it’s kind of cool.”

    A co-worker, Rachel Lovinger, 37, suggested a way to eliminate the risk: turn all of Broadway from Times Square to Herald Square into a pedestrian park, with no cars or trucks at all.

    “If the entire thing were a pedestrian walkway it would be great,” she said.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/26/ny...1&ref=nyregion

    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
    Last edited by brianac; August 26th, 2008 at 05:28 AM.

  7. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by brianac View Post
    “It’s a death trap,” Mr. Sachinis, a network administrator for a garment company, said with a laugh. “It’ll be up for a month and then somebody’ll get hit and they’ll take it down.”

    The city Transportation Department, which created the esplanade, assured that it was safe.

    The project cost $700,000.
    Curbs would help, though they would doubtless quintuple the cost.

    Might be worth it anyway. This is a case of less being too little, I think.

  8. #53

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    Interesting concept. Now hopefully there won't be a funeral included.

  9. #54
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    I don't like it.

    It looks fine when things are not crowded, but walking home last night, they had performers out around TS that made the corners almost impassable.

    There are just TOO MANY PEOPLE IN TIMES SQUARE to try and fit more people in standing around doing nothing.

    they should remove the tables and benches from the corners and keep them mid-block, or someone is going to get forced into oncoming traffic.

  10. #55
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    Needs curbs and bollards, or fences.

  11. #56
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    They're on the right track.

  12. #57

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    I bet we'll see a bike collision before an automotive one. I can so picture someone stepping off the curb only to be blind-sided by a bicyclist zipping along in the relative safety from traffic.

  13. #58

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    Yeah, it's hard to hear a bike --and you're not as fearful of them.

  14. #59
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    That's true all over town where these new green bike lanes have suddenly appeared. It's often like a free-for-all for drivers and pedestrians alike.

  15. #60
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    They just watered the plants today and I am noticing things that noone could have really seen before without actually doing this.

    That stuff they use for the coating seems to stain easily. or, at least, discolor. I see the brownish trails coming from the plants and it makes the area look old even though it is only a few weeks new!

    Also, the corners are already starting to flake off. I have no clue how as these areas seem to be really close to the signs and plants. It may be the street cleaners that are scrubbing it off.

    Oh, as for the green bike lanes... they are almost impassible. I can't see a bike getting through there without running someone over or using a cattle-bar. They are only slightly better INSIDE the pedestrian zone because they do not have to deal with cabs or double parkers/standees, but they are MUCH worse because they are supposed to follow traffic regulations. People are not going to stop at the concrete curb now at a red light, they will cross the bike lane when they are supposed to have the right of way.

    It is a nice idea, but I do not think they thought about this 100%

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