::Extremely Bane voice:: Gotham is yours, no cars shall interfere. Walk where you please. (via Flickr user john)
As we learned last week, the city is planning to ban motor vehicles from a large swathe of Broadway on Earth Day, April 22nd this year. That plan, which will involve closing 30 blocks of Broadway to cars, trucks, and buses, was officially announced yesterday by Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez.
Broadway, between Union Square and Times Square, will be off-limits to cars between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 22nd, a much larger chunk of the boulevard that was closed to cars last year, when just four blocks were pedestrian-only. St. Nicholas Avenue between 181st and 190th Street will also go car-free that day during the same time period.
“We’re showing New Yorkers the potential of a car-free Broadway and what open streets can look and feel like,” Rodriguez said. “Reducing car usage in our city can transform so much. It can help us to take advantage of space currently used for parking lots and gas stations; it can reduce traffic fatalities and injuries; it can make our city healthier and more breathable; and it can bring a newfound sense of calm to our bustling metropolis.”
While Broadway belongs to pedestrians, cyclists, and unicyclists, there will be a variety of fitness classes, sustainability workshops led by city agencies and environmental non-profits, arts and class workshops and musical performances all along the street during the car-free hours.
Citi Bike will also be free to use on Earth Day, according to the DOT.
Other streets will be off-limits to motorists in the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn on Earth Day, the first piece of programming in the city’s Weekend Walks events this year. In the Bronx, Eagle Avenue between East 161st and East 163rd Streets will go car-free from noon to 4 p.m. In Brooklyn, Montague Street between Court Street and Pierrepoint Place will be pedestrian only from 11:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. In Queens, Woodside Avenue between 75th and 77th Streets will be car-free between 11:30 a.m. and 7 p.m., and Shore Boulevard between Ditmars Boulevard and Astoria Park will do the same from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In addition to the car-free Earth Day locations around the city, Manhattan’s Community Board Five will vote today on a proposal to turn Broadway between 24th and 25th Streets—where the DOT says pedestrians outnumber cars by an 18:1 ratio during peak evening rush hour—into the city’s first “Shared Street.” If CB5 approves the proposal, the city will redesign the street to change the traffic direction to a single lane going north, move a Citi Bike station there, change the color of the asphalt and add an advisory speed limit of five miles per hour as soon as this spring.