A More Human Midtown?

Who would have ever thought that I’d find this sign posted at 35th Street and Broadway, where Broadway intersects 6th Avenue?

The new pedestrian malls just below the sign occupy what used to be parts of Broadway. In the absence of cars, the malls have already attracted such human-centric elements as tables, upright pianos, and foosball games. The malls are so new, the bums haven’t discovered them yet.

This is just the first phase of the project. There are plans to restrict traffic along 34th Street to make space for a physically separate 2-way bus lane with loading docks where riders pay in advance to keep things moving.

The thought of removing street space to speed up traffic might seem like a warped idea, but let us keep in mind that whenever a city does the opposite by adding more lanes to an already congested highway, the new lanes fill up quickly and traffic usually gets worse.

A creation of public space in soul-free midtown is rare. Don’t forget to get your tax dollar’s worth the next time you are on 34th street, give or take a biker-on-pedestrian jousting or two.

About OmnivorousTraveler

Darrin DuFord is a travel writer, mapgazer, and jungle rodent connoisseur. His writing has won numerous awards and has appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, BBC Travel, Gastronomica, Roads & Kingdoms, Narratively, and Perceptive Travel, among other publications. He is the author of Breakfast for Alligators: Quests, Showdowns and Revelations in the Americas (released in July 2016) and Is There a Hole in the Boat? Tales of Travel in Panama without a Car, silver medalist in the 2007 Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Awards.
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