Bike lane for Broadway

July 11, 2008 12:26:11 PM PDT
Call it the Great Bike Way. New York City plans to turn a swath of Broadway in midtown Manhattan into a bike lane and public esplanade - leaving two fewer lanes for vehicles on the busy thoroughfare.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Friday that the plan will benefit the environment as well as people's health.

The Broadway plan will "give us a lot more room to walk on the streets and to get people ... out of their cars and walking, which is good for their health and also good for the environment," Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show.

The area, called Broadway Boulevard, will run from 42nd Street eight blocks south to the busy shopping district of Herald Square, which includes Macy's department store. The esplanade will be flanked by a pedestrian walkway with cafe tables and umbrellas, separated from vehicular traffic by planters filled with flowers.

The area's Fashion Center Business Improvement District is working with the city's Department of Transportation to create the street plazas, at a cost of $700,000. Jan Gehl, an urban designer based in Copenhagen, was hired as a consultant.

Work already is under way. The esplanade is to open in mid-August, with newly painted pavement and plastic traffic barriers popping up on the street.

The project is in line with Bloomberg's vision of reducing New York's traffic and pollution by encouraging bike riding and other alternatives to cars.

City transportation officials also are exploring other possibilities - from banning cars on Park Avenue on three Saturdays in August to a bicycle-sharing program.


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