Move over cars, New York makes room for pedestrians

08:37, February 12, 2010      

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Cars will be permanently banned from Broadway in New York's Time Square, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Thursday.

"I think it's clear to say that the reviews are in and we've got ourselves a Broadway hit," the mayor said.

Last year, the city ambitiously closed off two sections of Broadway to cars. The experimental project created a pedestrian plaza, equipped with plastic lounge chairs.

In an area usually backed up with heavy traffic jams and horn- blaring taxis, Broadway became a respite for tourists and New Yorkers to sit back and watch the city lights in peace.

Citing studies, Bloomberg said the experiment proved popular with New Yorkers, including merchants and office workers, and had reduced traffic accidents in the central Manhattan area, while improving congestion.

"After an exhaustive review that showed positive results in all aspects, and overwhelming improvement in many areas, we've decided to make this groundbreaking pilot project permanent," Bloomberg said. "The most reliable data shows an overall seven percent increase in vehicle speeds -- an improvement few thought could be achieved in midtown traffic."

"We found even better results in the area of safety, with dramatic reductions in accidents," he added.

"The new Broadway is here to stay," said Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. "We will now design a world-class public space that's a new center stage for the greatest city in the world."

Source: Xinhua
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