NEW YORK (CBS 2) — A proposal by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to make 34th Street one way and create another pedestrian plaza in the area has residents and business owners hopping mad.
The proposal — intended to speed up buses — would create a plaza between Fifth and Sixth avenues, where all cars and trucks would be banned, CBS 2′s Magee Hickey reported.
Under the plan, cars and trucks would only be able to head west to the Hudson River from Sixth Avenue; vehicles would only be able to go eastbound to the East River from Fifth Avenue. Buses would still operate in both directions.
“It’s going to destroy the neighborhood,” Murray Hill resident Marisa Bulzone said.
“I’m sorry Mr. Bloomberg, but I don’t like it,” restaurant owner John Ivanac said.
A preliminary design will be presented next spring and the city hopes the changes will take effect by the Fall of 2011.
“The intended result is a 4 minute improvement across town,” 7 Park Ave. Co-op spokesman Sam Milgrim said.
“East, west. East, west. East, west — as if it’s a highway. This is not a highway. This is the heart of a residential neighborhood,” Transit Action Committee spokesperson Aline Chatmajian.
Murray Hill residents see the transit proposal as another example of Mayor Bloomberg always getting his way, Hickey reported. However, a Department of Transportation spokesperson said the unease was premature.
“No design is final as we continue to work with the community on a plan that addresses the serious issues facing 34th Street’s 33,000 daily bus riders while accommodating block-by-block needs,” the spokesperson said.
Transportation expert Sam Schwartz said the proposal is an intriguing idea.
“I think it’s worth a shot. I think you can do it without heavy construction,” Schwartz said. “We’ve been wrestling for years with ‘how do you get crosstown.’” “The old joke was ‘to be born there.’”