Happy Memorial Day Weekend (With Gusto This Time)

CarFreeBway-TSQ_1.jpgThe full transformation will take a few months to set up, but come Memorial Day, pedestrians will finally have some breathing room at Times Square.

When Memorial Day weekend rolls around, here at Streetsblog we usually take the opportunity to note the advent of the summer driving season — and all the waste and violence that entails. This year’s going to be a little different, because we’ve got a major livable streets milestone to celebrate in New York City.

With all those cars headed out of town, DOT is going to re-route traffic at Times Square around Broadway and onto Seventh Avenue. Come Memorial Day morning, New York City will have brand new public spaces carved out of the street, smack in the middle of Midtown. If you’re staying in the city for the long weekend, it’s time to party.

The Times Square Alliance will be out bright and early Monday setting up beach chairs. Virgil’s Barbecue will be firing up the grill. At some point, a giant movie screen will get unfurled for a noon showing of "On the Town" (it’s the last day of Fleet Week, folks). I suspect that I won’t be the only New Yorker heading over to Times Square for the first time in ages.

So, this year we’re not holding anything back: Happy Memorial Day weekend! We’ll see you back here on Tuesday.

  • ddartley

    There goes my direct bike route home… sigh… But good for the world, so I accept it.

  • gecko

    Can smell all that barbecue stuff already. Sweeeet!

  • This sounds so good. We are actually a student group from Stanford University pushing for a pedestrian mall in Palo Alto. All eyes are on New york now. I hope the project is a big success so we can garner more support our initiative. We believe that ped malls boost local businesses and foster a stronger sense of community too.

  • Where are the trees ?

  • What kind of trees do you suggest for a six-month pilot program?

  • If you want trees, I suggest midnight, with a backhoe, a jack-hammer and a few friends. Just make certain you attack somebody’s Hummer with your bikes about 20 minutes before to keep New York’s finest busy elsewhere.

  • Joe in Brooklyn

    Trees? What? Where? …this is Times Sq for pete’s sake, “don’t dance before you can walk.” There are trees at Bryant Park, a block away. Lots of ’em. I’ll take the ped mall for now, and if someone wants to pay to put some trees in boxes like in the parks in Paris (eg, the Luxembourg Gardens), fine. Not sure what’s under Times Sq suitable for growing things in anyway. One step @ time.

    Cheers,
    J.

  • Erin

    Joe in Brooklyn makes a good point. “Not sure what’s under Times Sq suitable for growing things in anyway.” I haven’t seen utility maps of the area, but it’s likely that there’s a lot of stuff just below the surface (as is common in this city). Also, the subway station is massive and the roof of that might be as shallow as only a few feet below the surface.

  • Woody

    There will surely be more greenery than shown in the illustration above. The stretch of Broadway from 42nd to 35th St. already got some of this treatment last year. You won’t get any big trees, but saplings in boxes or pots, altogether plenty of oversized potted plants to bring green to the scene. It wont be baked and dry as seen above.

  • I saw the “WALK BIKE” signs , but couldn’t we have a speed limit for bikes? Like, let us say, 10MPH ? There was a perfectly good bike lane on Broadway before.

    Also, I’ve built some lowrider “semi-recumbent” bikes , that can be walked while still sitting on the seat.

    What about electric wheelchairs, and mobility scooters?

    I walked broadway from 34th to Central Park today, to see for myself. I left my bike at home. But why not just impose a ten mile per hour sped limit on bicycles, instead of asking us to dismount?

  • gecko

    #10 AviationMetalSmith, “What about electric wheelchairs, and mobility scooters?”

    Yesterday, I saw a person traversing the Brooklyn Bridge on an electric wheelchair.

    So cool!

    I’m sure an electric recumbent tricycle would greatly improve his life; especially, when the streets are really safe to make them practical all over.

  • gecko

    #11 gecko (continued), At first I thought it might be one of those GM-Segway PUMAs but, then realized it had only one seat.

  • Yeah, electric mobility scooters. There are 2 wheel, 3 wheel, and 4 wheel versions. But underneath the fiberglass, the wheels, batteries and motors are identical.
    A lot of people forget that bicycle riding is easier than walking. And with a motor it’s easier still. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to remain balanced on a two wheel scooter, and the two wheeler can fit through tight spaces. There are a number of handicapped people who use two wheel scooters, the same kind the kids ride.
    As for bicycles, the “Dismount Bike” signs are really annoying. Why not let the cyclists proceed at walking speed? This goes for all the “Dismount” or “walk bike” areas throughout Manhattan. Walking a bike actually takes more space, and I’ve noticed some pedestrians who somehow try to walk between me and my bike when I am walking it. I can’t let go of the bike, it will fall over.
    A ten mile per hour speed limit for bikes is what is needed, not these blasted ” Dismount and Walk Bike” signs.

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