Friday, October 4, 2013

New York, New York, It’s a Walkable Town!

Or at least it’s getting to be one.  I still find walking through the canyonlands of midtown Manhattan to be more work than pleasure, but even there the work done to tame Times Square (very much under construction) promises a bright future.  And strolling down Broadway is much more pleasant than it previously was, with many pedestrianized areas that seem to be very supportive of a revitalizing retail economy.  The older squares along Broadway (Madison Square and Union Square, in particular) I found to be delightful urban experiences on a beautiful Fall day. 
Kudos to Mayor Bloomberg, Janette Sadik-Kahn, and New York City DOT for a fine job (amid the usual New York sound and fury) in planning and implementing a new way of thinking about transportation and land use in the city.
Social and economic trends are also making a big difference.  Many parts of lower Manhattan and Brooklyn – with a much better development scale for pedestrians than midtown – have seen major revitalization, with exciting residential, commercial, and cultural development.

For those of us that remember a grungier – and more dangerous – New York, these changes are heartening indeed.  And they show how solid (and sometime fearless) transportation policies can enable transformations that benefit everyone’s quality of life.

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