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Car-Free Streets

Streetfilms: Carmaggeddon Averted as Broadway Comes to Life

1:21 PM EDT on July 20, 2009

When New York City opened up new pedestrian zones in the heart of Midtown this summer, naysayers predicted a traffic nightmare. Nearly two months later, we're still waiting for the much-feared Carmaggedon.

In this video, Streetsblog publisher Mark Gorton
takes us on a tour of Broadway's car-free squares and boulevard-style blocks, where conditions have improved dramatically for
pedestrians, cyclists, and, yes, delivery truck drivers. As Mark says, the counterintuitive truth is that taking away space for cars can improve traffic while making the city safer and more enjoyable for everyone on foot. There are sound theories that help explain why this happens -- concepts like traffic shrinkage and Braess's paradox which
are getting more and more attention thanks to projects like this one. While
traffic statistics are still being collected by
NYCDOT, there's already a convincing argument that Midtown streets are functioning better than before: To understand it, just take a walk down Broadway.

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