Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Car-Free Streets

AAA Plunges Dagger in the Heart of the New Times Square

In a stinging rebuke to New York City's street safety methods, the latest issue of Car and Travel, a.k.a. AAA New York magazine, serves up a razor-sharp critique of Broadway's new pedestrian plazas:

crazy_for_cars.jpgNewly digitized AAA mag: crazy for cars, mad about pedestrian streets.

The “test project,” now four months old, has been criticized by some
as both tacky and ill-suited to the location. While we tend to agree,
we are more concerned with serious safety issues created by mixing
cross-town traffic and pedestrians, particularly where many of them are
vacationing tourists. We also have yet to see the environmental and
congestion benefits to justify the experiment’s costs.

The pedestrian plaza concept was the brainchild of city
transportation officials intrigued with the idea of importing the
pedestrian zones common in Europe to New York City. But so far, the
project appears to be an unnatural fit for the heart of America’s
biggest city. After all, Times Square is not Rome, Paris or Barcelona,
where piazzas and squares lined with cafes and restaurants evolved
naturally in the urban landscape.

Yep, all of a sudden pedestrians are mixing with crosstown traffic. Remember back when that never happened? Me neither.

Have fun picking this apart, Streetsbloggers. I'll just go out on a limb here and wager that the editorialists at AAA, headquartered out in Nassau, don't represent the views of real New Yorkers and probably never walked around with all those "vacationing tourists" squeezed into traffic by the sidewalk crunch at the old Times Square.

After the jump, a nice rejoinder from genuine city dwellers, courtesy of City Room, about the pleasures of having places to socialize in public.

On busy evening in Times Square, at the pedestrian mall on Broadway,E. J. Bonilla and Melissa Oyola found an empty table and two chairs,content among the seas of calm and waves of chaos surrounding them.

This is date night.

“Ever since they hooked this place up, it’s like a lifesaver,” Mr.Bonilla, 21, said. “If you’re with somebody, you’re with them becauseyou like each other. You shouldn’t necessarily need something else tohelp you guys along.”

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Opinion: Connect the Dots of Manhattan’s Missing Bike Lanes

Only a few miles of missing protected lanes stand in the way of a robust bike network.

April 15, 2024

Monday’s Headlines: Thanking the Academy Edition

We would be remiss if we didn't offer some photos and copy about Friday's George Polk Awards ceremony, plus other news.

April 15, 2024

Civic Panel Pushes For (Some) Atlantic Ave. Safety Upgrades

Brooklyn Community Board 2 stopped short of calling for a more aggressive redesign of a street where drivers have killed six pedestrians in the last decade.

April 15, 2024

Vandals Commit Mass Arborcide Near the Greenway in Kissena Park

Hundreds of young trees were ripped from the ground — some stolen, some just left for dead — near the greenway in Kissena Park in Queens.

April 14, 2024

Friday’s Headlines: The Polk’s on Us Edition

This afternoon, our reporter Jesse Coburn will journey to Midtown to accept Streetsblog's first George Polk Award, one of journalism's highest honors. But before that, here's the news.

April 12, 2024
See all posts