At any given time, New York City’s 34th Street is bustling with residents, vendors, tourists, buses, bikes and, above all, cars. To ease some of the traffic, increase the safety and add a bit more public space to this often stressful area, the city had proposed turning a portion of 34th Street into a pedestrian-only plaza. Unfortunately, despite the level of peace the initiative could have brought to the area, the plan has just been rejected by the city – a reaction many are attributing to the NY Post’s editorial war that relentlessly pressured the Department of Transportation (DOT) to abandon the plan.
If completed, the plan would have seen 34th Street cut in half, closed off between 5th and 6th Avenue and turned into a pedestrian only plaza with a special lane reserved for public buses – very much mirroring what we now see in Times Square.
But beyond the Post’s editorial, a number of citizens have expressed concern as to how the initiative would affect business flow, delivery and curbside access, to name a few. DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan says that is what caused the reversal, not the paper’s unfiltered distaste for the change.
“The design has evolved as we continue to work with the community,” Sadik-Khan told the New York Times. “We want the public process to play itself out.”
While the design at hand may have been scrapped, DOT will be returning to the drawing board with a new proposal to be announced March 14th. The details are vague, but what they have revealed is that there will still be express “Select” bus lanes in the final plan.