City Completes Union Square Pedestrian Plaza

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Say goodbye to traffic lanes and say hello to trees and tables.

The next phase in the dramatic reshaping of New York City streets is complete with major changes on Broadway near Union Square.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reports
LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reports

Only one lane of traffic can now squeeze through from 17th to 18th Street after the city turned the area into a pedestrian mall and a place for bike paths.

Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan has driven the effort to leave a green legacy for Mayor Bloomberg.

“What we’re trying to do is prioritize sustainable mobility, green mobility on the streets of New York,” Sadik-Khan said.

On the last day of summer, the picnic tables in the area were filled with New Yorkers who said they were very happy about the new pedestrian plaza.

“It gives me somewhere to go during my lunch time,” Nigel Mitchell told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria, “you can really people watch here.”

“I don’t like it, I love it,” one man told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond.

“We like being able to sit out here and just sit and look at everything,” one woman told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

But some drivers were honking mad at being squeezed out in favor of those on two wheels and two feet.

One motorist said the conditions made it “hard to drive.”

“Everyone’s got to go on the subway, takes buses,” he said.

“I think it’s blocking a lot of traffic, more congestion, making it harder to travel,” another driver said.

But Sadik-Khan said criticism aside, support for the city’s reshaping is strong.

“There’s never anything that’s unanimous in New York City. But we’re working very very hard to create a greater, greener city,” Sadik-Khan said.

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  • MK

    Janette Sadik-Khan is the new Robert Moses. She is reshaping the streets in the worst possible ways against the will of the people. I have yet to speak to anybody that is happy about what she is burdening the public with in the outer boroughs. Since she doesn’t give a flip about the will of the people, here’s hoping she gets stuck interminably in one of the traffic jams that she has created.

  • Josh

    There’s never anything that’s unanimous in New York City – meaning, we just do whatever the Mayor tells us to do. We don’t care if it’s less efficient or a waste of money. We just do what we’re told. If the goal is to be greener, how does slowing the flow of traffic, thus increasing exhaust better?

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