Plan for 34th Street Will Create ‘Pedestrian Plaza’

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Photo: Librado Romero/New York Times

The Bloomberg administration is making even more progress in arguably its most effective effort — its crusade for the city’s pedestrians — with ambitious plans for creating an automobile-free zone on 34th Street similar to the one implemented in Times Square. The plan is to create a “pedestrian plaza bookended by Herald Square and the Empire State Building,” which would be achieved by banning automobiles on the block of 34th Street between Fifth Avenue and Avenue of the Americas.

Crosstown bus routes will not be affected by the plan, as the proposal calls for an “experimental bus lane” through the pedestrian plaza, allowing buses to operate in both directions — and, in fact, the idea is that the notoriously slow crosstown bus system will be sped up. Though the 34th Street plan — which was initially proposed in 2008 — has now been accelerated, you can expect the usual mess of traffic and tourists when you have to trek to Macy's to return something for the next few years: The final design plans aren’t due until the fall of 2011, with the street not ready for use until the end of 2012.

Plan for 34th St. Puts Buses and Feet First [NYT]