Williamsburg Walks Doubles Foot Traffic on Bedford Avenue

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Transportation Alternatives has been measuring the effect of Williamsburg Walks, the car-free street event on Bedford Avenue, and look what they found:

Foot traffic on Bedford Avenue was 96% higher than the average
Saturday, based on pedestrian counts. The number of children and seniors using the
street also increased. And because so much more space was available for walking and
sitting, the street felt open and uncongested.

The numbers come from pedestrian counts conducted on two Saturdays earlier this summer, which averaged 240 people per 15-minute span, compared to a count of 470 pedestrians during the same interval on the first day of Williamsburg Walks.

These figures should help ease any lingering anxiety that opening streets up to pedestrians won’t be good for local businesses. And they bolster the argument that car-free events should not be graded on the appearance of "crowdedness." If Bedford Avenue seems less bustling than usual when cars are gone and twice as many people are present, imagine how hemmed in pedestrians must normally be, when cars are taking up the street.

Photo: Neighbors Allied for Good Growth

  • It would be helpful if someone would informally poll merchants on the closed section fo Bedford, while the event is still fresh in their minds, and ask if it improved business or yielded any other advantages or disadvantages.

  • Great idea! I know it’s been done at other street closures in the past few weeks and will most likely be done at Bedford as well.

  • It’s a great idea and we are lucky to have this happening in our neighborhood..lets try and focus on keeping our neighborhood safe and free to enjoy,,,join the STOP THE VIOLENCE RALLY on Aug 2. 5 – 10pm at Washington Park – Roebling and South 5th….rally with your neighbors, community members. Old and New to the neighborhood…please paticipate!

  • O

    this is such a great idea, but it would definitely take time to catch on. i walked over to bedford saturday and found a lot more of a social atmosphere than usual. the only thing though, is that everyone still walks on the sidewalks. i had to stop myself and be like, “wait, what the hell am i doing? i can walk down bedford in the middle of the street without getting hit by a bus/car!” so, yeah. i think it would take people some getting used to, especially since it’s not a street fair and there are not vendors parked in the middle of the street for you to visit….

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