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Car-Free Streets

NYC Needs a Network of Car-Free Streets

The signs say Manhattan, but don’t be fooled, the island of Manhattan has no streets like this.

New York City in 2017 has several car-free blocks and pedestrianized street segments where traffic once rules, like Plaza 33 and Myrtle-Wyckoff Plaza. But unlike several other world cities, New York still doesn't have a connected grid of car-free streets.

That's true even in neighborhoods where pedestrians just don't fit on the available sidewalk space, like the Financial District, downtown Flushing, and Times Square (where the Broadway plazas form an archipelago, not a network).

Other cities have figured out that the most crowded commercial areas function better when pedestrians have the freedom to use the whole street, and motor vehicles are only allowed for essential deliveries. In this Streetopia preview, Clarence Eckerson looks at car-free streets in cities like Montreal and Buenos Aires to show how much catching up NYC has to do.

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