File Under: No Wonder New York City is Falling Behind London

london_congestion.jpgWhile New York City inexplicably continues to open up Central Park to motor vehicles from Thanksgiving to New Year’s as a "holiday traffic mitigation," London transformed its most popular shopping area this weekend into a car-free pedestrian zone for holiday shoppers and visitors. Stretches of Oxford and Regents Streets were made into car-free zones this Saturday, December 2 from 10:30 am to 5:00 pm. Mayor Ken Livingstone wants to transform Oxford Street into a permanent pedestrian zone with light rail running down the middle. This weekend’s event was set up as a test. This London reports:

Mark Taylor, manager of Boots in Oxford Street, said: "I’ve been in retail for 15 years and Saturday was one of the best days in retailing I can ever remember. "The West End was completely buzzing. It would be impossible to get rid of transport in Oxford Street altogether, so I think a tram would be an excellent middle ground." Jace Tyrell, of the New West End Company, which organised the event and aims to boost trade in the area, said: "It shows what Oxford Street could achieve if it was treated as a destination and not as a thoroughfare."

Note to Mayor Bloomberg and Senator Schumer: The Sarbanes-Oxley Act isn’t the only reason why London is overtaking New York City.

Note to the 34th Street Partnership and the Times Square Alliance: Hello?! What are you guys waiting for? You don’t have to look far for help.

Note to Gwyneth Paltrow: I’m sad to say it but New York City’s leadership appears to be proving you right.

  • Or 31st Street in Astoria

    or Main Street in Flushing

    or 125th Street in Harlem

    or Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn

    or parts of the Grand Concourse in the Bronx

    or New Dorp Lane in Staten Island

    etc, etc, etc.

    Just try it and see what happens. What if you threw a streetfair and didn’t invite any vendors, just let people shop at the regular stores?

  • AD

    It happens every weekday on Fulton, John and Nassau Streets downtown, and people love it.

  • g

    or the streets around washington square park.

  • Zach

    Er, 31st Street? 31st Street is a dump. Do you mean Broadway? Or maybe 30th Ave? Those would be mighty excellent, but I can’t imagine people having much fun on the gringy, garbage-strewn street under the elevated…

    125th would be unspeakably badass, however.

  • ddartley

    Zach, I suspect Glenn was referring to the stretch of 31st St. near the Ditmars (and last) stop of the el. Business on that stretch is booming indeed.

  • Yes, I used to live near 31st street between Ditmars and 23rd Ave and there is no reason for cars to have to go through that area and ruin what could be a beautiful retail strip that has a bakery, butcher, green grocer etc. Half of the area (one block) that I am thinking about is not under the elevated train.

    Or do all of Ditmars from 28th Street to Steinway or do Steinway! Just try it out and see what happens.

  • Steve

    I like that there’s just one car in the picture, immobiized in a sea of people.

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