Friday’s Headlines: Give Our Prayers to Broadway Edition

Marchers observed a moment of silence on broadway at the spot of Monday's horrendous crash. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
Marchers observed a moment of silence on broadway at the spot of Monday's horrendous crash. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

As a crowd of some 100 New Yorkers marched on Broadway to end traffic violence, the city announced yesterday that it was accelerating long-delayed plans to calm traffic on the stretch of the iconic boulevard where a taxi driver critically injured several people this week.

In breathless language, the Mayor’s Office said that it was “unveil[ing] a two-pronged street safety strategy with immediate measures to expand pedestrian space and a proposal to reimagine and redesign Broadway between West 25th and 32nd Streets” as part of its longstanding Broadway Vision.

In translation, the “two-pronged strategy” boils down to this: The city is temporarily giving over the two blocks of Broadway from West 27th to West 29th Street — the latter being the corner at which a left-turning taxi driver hit a cyclist and jumped the curb, running over still more people — to the Flatiron-NoMad Partnership. The business improvement district for the second year in a row has been running a tactical urbanist “pop-up” pedestrian plaza from 25th to 27th Streets during the warm months.

Now, the blocks from 27th to 29th will be added to the “Open Street” (that is, the pop-up arrangement) there by the end of June. Why they hadn’t been added earlier is a mystery; a fairly sleepy strip of small hotels, lunch joints and perfume shops, they’re little traveled by car drivers.

Further, the city pledged to establish permanent plazas on the Broadway blocks from 25th to 27th streets and to turn the blocks from 27th to 29th Street into a “shared” street similar to the one that now operates in Flatiron-Nomad territory on Broadway from 21st to 23rd streets. Nothing was “unveiled.” Sketches of those ideas have appeared in city documents for at least a year. amNY reported the details. The Daily News went with the color.

The announcement stopped short of the kinds of full-scale, car-free pedestrianization that activists are demanding for the Great White Way.

“The only way to end traffic violence is to redesign our streets to put people first. On Broadway, that means pedestrianizing the street from Columbus Circle to Union Square to create a safe and vibrant corridor,” said Katherine Nessel of the Transportation Alternatives Manhattan Activist Committee and its campaign lead for Open Broadway.

But it was good to see that the city was addressing its old plans with some urgency; Manhattan Community Board 5 was to hear the plans at a hastily convened meeting last night.

The crowd on Broadway, meanwhile, stopped for a moment of silence at the crash site and heard exhortations from Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Danny Harris. TransAlt is circulating a petition demanding the pedestrianization of Broadway along its length. The group sponsored the march, along with Families for Safe Streets.

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In other news:

  • “The Secret of the New Station” is the latest Nancy Drew Kathy Hochul mystery. (NYPost)
  • In more Penn Station intrigue, where can Amtrak put new tracks? (NYT)
  • Channeling Streetsblog, Curbed fantasized about Mayor Adams crushing SUVs instead of dirt bikes.
  • Guns in the subway. Ugh. (amNY, Gothamist)
  • The working class is powering the subway’s return. (The City)
  • The last MTA “redbird” goes up for auction (Gothamist, 6sqft)
  • A megaproject in Astoria got voted down for lack of affordable housing. (CityLimits)
  • As Streetsblog reported in April, the Montague Street Business Improvement District in Brooklyn is the second to join the Clean Curbs program (after Times Square). (BrooklynEagle)
  • CM Lincoln Restler’s proposal to extend the anti-idling reporting program to other traffic violations, such as placard abuse, gets some ink. (WPIX)
  • This is par for the course for some local “news personalities,” but still…:

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West Harlem residents are rallying support for safety improvements on Broadway between 135th Street and 153rd Street ahead of a vote on a DOT redesign proposal at tonight’s Community Board 9 transportation committee meeting. The plan, which DOT presented publicly in July, calls for a road diet on Broadway, going from three lanes in each direction to two, with extra-wide […]