New York rethinks Broadway

As the song says, if you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere.  If the Big Apple can make a park-like setting out of one of the city’s busiest streets, what’s to stop your town from making a pro-people shift  in one of your important spaces? 

Of course we need cars and trucks, delivery access and shopper convenience, but as the New York experiment suggests, it may not have to require multiple lanes and acres of asphalted parking directly in front of stores.  (If that were the case we could just replicate  the clogged arteries that lead to a big box strip mall  near you.) 

For an alternative, check out this streetfilm from streetsblog, an initiative of the Liveable Streets Initiative:  Carmaggeddon avoided as Broadway comes to life.  

Streetsblog's Mark Gorton gives a video tour of the new Broadway.
Streetsblog's Mark Gorton gives a video tour of the new Broadway.

As a temporary measure, Times Square put cheap lawn furniture in the newly pedestrianized area.  The pink and blue chairs had a lot of fans, and the space felt like a big neighborhood block party. 

What would a similar, albeit smaller scale experiment look like in your community?  You could try it (with the cooperation of transportation planners) on a temporary basis.  With signage and some orange cones, you might be on the way to building community support for expanded sidewalks, fewer lanes, and space for the al fresco dining space  that can bring your streets to life.