A backbone for people and bicycles
I first read about this idea in the RPA's analysis of congestion pricing, but now that traffic reduction ideas are a talked-about topic, another more radical idea has hit the blogs: closing Broadway to traffic. Paul White of TA brings up the idea in a Gothamist interview, and MemeFirst follows up with some more detailed detailed thoughts.
I've actually been thinking about this for a while, and my idea is to make it the backbone of a city-wide greenway network and bike highway. Create paths all through the city where people can walk, and which can carry bicycle traffic so bikers don't have to tangle with cars everywhere. A four-lane street could be reconfigured into an extra lane of expanded sidewalk and pedestrian uses on each side and a bike lane in each direction. Broadway is even wider (4 lanes of traffic plus two for parking, I believe).
I'd have the main backbone run from the Bronx to Morningside Park, down St. Nicholas Ave (a road the city has already identified as a good candidate for a bike lane due to lower traffic), to Central Park along the loop drive with a branch over the 59th Street Bridge, then down Seventh Avenue to Times Square, where the Times Square Alliance already wants to Update: DCP created a greenway plan in 1993 including a proposed greenway network (best image is in this PDF). Some of the outer greenways have been built, others are being planned, but a Manhattan backbone would tie it all together.
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