Times Square Goes Car Free

photo courtesy of nytimes.com

NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg has officially designated Times Square as car-free, for a period to last at least till the end of 2009.

Newsday asked onlookers what they thought:

“It’s great,” Hance said. “Usually we are trying to just jump out of the way of cabs.”

Said Villaran, “I have seen shops and signs I have never noticed before. You can see people are more relaxed. They are not pushing and shoving. It’s great.”

For street vendors, store owners and shoppers, the freedom meant happier customers and easier window gazing.

Dawn Fowler, 24, of Crown Heights, who wears a bulky sandwich board to urge people to see the Holocaust-era play “Irena’s Vow,” called her newfound freedom “incredible.”

“Normally you feel like a sardine on the sidewalk,” Fowler said. “I usually take people out with my sandwich board. Not today.”

NYC Transportation Commissioner of the last two years, Janette Sadik-Khan, has created 200 miles of bicycle paths (many protected/separated from traffic lanes), public esplanades, and effectively pursued a vision of civic amenities instead of utilitarian corridors.

Too much of the time I think pedestrians have been seen as guests in this space. Putting a prime role for designing for people — designing for pedestrians, designing for cyclists, designing for buses, designing for better mobility, designing for a more sustainable city — is all part of the package. 

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