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Could “Open Sundays” Help Solve Prince Problems?

1:33 PM EDT on March 13, 2008

Here is the slide show outlining the DOT proposal to open Prince Street to pedestrians on summer Sundays. As we reported yesterday, the plan isn't popular with some SoHo residents, who say it will turn Prince into another Mulberry Street.

But Community Board 2's Ian Dutton, a supporter of the concept, doesn't intend to let that happen.

"I don't want to go in that direction with Prince Street, and that's certainly not the direction the neighborhood wants to go," says Dutton. "Prince Street is already a destination."

Dutton believes the goal of "Open Sundays" should not be to bring more people to the neighborhood, but to alleviate the current public space crunch. To that end, the CB 2 Traffic and Transportation Committee wants to form a group of stakeholders and community board members to look at problems, like sidewalk vending, and figure out how to incorporate pedestrianization as an acceptable remedy. This might include selecting a different street, says Dutton, or adding more streets to the program (which could equal less overall traffic). It might also mean allowing vehicles to pass in certain instances, like to provide elderly or disabled access.

"I really was disappointed that DOT didn't have a more full-bodied approach," Dutton says, but adds: "I think the level of outcry was based on a campaign of misinformation."

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