First-Ever “Shared Streets” Brings Stress-Free Streets to Financial District

With car traffic in the neighborhood limited, pedestrian and cyclists has most of the Financial District to themselves on Saturday. Photo: David Meyer
With so few cars, people were easily able to navigate Lower Manhattan’s streets. All Photos: David Meyer

DOT’s first-ever “Shared Streets” event limited car traffic entering a 60-block section of the Financial District for five hours on Saturday. With the neighborhood free of the near-constant stream of cars passing through on a typical day, pedestrians and cyclists were free to navigate the streets without fear.

Drivers who entered the area between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. faced barriers at streets along the edge of the neighborhood, with NYPD officers on hand to let motorists through and, aided by temporary street signs, remind them of the day’s 5 mph speed limit.

Officials held a noon press conference celebrating the event. “I think this is an opportunity to show you can go five miles an hour in a car [and] you can still get there,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for New Yorkers and visitors to New York to see how our historic center can operate with less traffic, and still accommodate cars, but to be a very pedestrian- or bicycle-friendly place that works for everybody,” said DOT Deputy Commissioner for Policy Michael Replogle.

While the heat kept many inside, those who did venture outdoors were rewarded with a tranquil traffic-calmed zone punctuated by event hubs, including a drum line at Federal Hall and bike races for children at Park Row.

A new sight in old New York: Children playing ball in the street during DOT's "Shared Streets" event on Saturday.
A new sight in old New York: Children playing ball in the street during DOT’s “Shared Streets” event in the Financial District on Saturday.

Take a look below the jump for more photos of “Shared Streets” in action:

citibike shared streets
Biking in the Financial District was a whole lot nicer during “Shared Streets.”
5mph_sign
Signs reminded drivers of the 5 mph speed limit during the “Shared Streets” event.
Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, joined by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Public Advocate Letitia James, at a "Shared Streets" press conference Saturday afternoon.
Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, joined by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Public Advocate Letitia James, at a “Shared Streets” press conference Saturday afternoon.
  • BrandonWC

    So you felt it was more successful than Gothamist did? http://gothamist.com/2016/08/14/shared_streets_experiment.php

  • Vooch

    should Be From Friday Night to Sunday Night year Round

  • SSkate

    Skated down Broadway while this was happening but didn’t actually venture in. Really felt for the NYPD Traffic officers who were working at all the intersections because the heat was just brutal.

  • Reader

    Gothamist’s headline seemed a little unfair, especially if you look at their pictures which show a lot of great scenes. This was the first time NYC had attempted anything like this, so of course some people weren’t going to play nicely. It was no different when Summer Streets began in 2008 and people predicted the end of the world. Yet here we are.

    The easiest way to make sure this succeeds to is to do it again… and again… and again. DOT should launch another version of shared streets for the fall and then plan to do it over successive weekends in 2017. And then it should make it permanent in 2018. In about a year people would probably forget that it was ever any other way.

  • KeNYC2030

    A friend and I were honked at several times from behind while biking 7 mph (and I don’t think they were trying to pull us over for speeding). My sister had to leap to the sidewalk at one point to avoid a passing car. I saw no signs inside the zone reminding drivers to play nice. Drivers’ sense of entitlement dies hard, but this was a start.

  • Alicia

    I think the implementation was confused, too – fully blocking the streets during the duration would have been much more understandable.

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