NEW YORK (CBS 2) — From the mayor who brought you picnic tables in Times Square and bicycle lanes in Chelsea, a revolutionary plan is being entertained to make 34th Street one-way, but as Magee Hickey reports, that plan is not going over well with Murray Hill residents and business owners.
“It’s going to destroy our neighborhood,” said resident Marisa Bulzone.
“I am sorry Mr. Bloomberg but I don’t like it and my business is going to die just because of it,” said restaurant owner John Ivanac.
The proposal, intended to speed up buses, would be to create a pedestrian plaza between Fifth and Sixth Avenues where all cars and trucks would be banned.
From Sixth Avenue, cars and trucks could only go west to the Hudson; from Fifth, only eastbound to the East River. Buses would still operate in both directions.
“The intended result is a four-minute improvement cross town. Is four minutes worth potentially safety issues with fire, because they’re going to put a concrete barrier here?” said Sam Milgrim, spokesman for 7 Park Avenue Co-op.
The East Side neighborhood of Murray Hill has formed the 34th Street Transit Action Committee to fight the plan. “East, west, east, weat, east, west as if it’s a highway. This is not a highway. This is the heart of a residential neighborhood,” said spokeswoman Aline Chatmajian.
To Murray Hill residents, the 34th Street transit way proposal is just one more example of Mayor Bloomberg getting whatever he wants. As one resident put it, he’s ramming it down our throats, but a Department of Transportation spokesman said it’s barely a proposal yet.
The spokesman added: “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.”
Transportation expert Gridlock Sam Schwartz said it’s an intriguing idea. “I think you can do it without heavy construction. Give it a shot and see. We’ve been wrestling for years with how to get crosstown. The old joke is you have to be born there.”
A preliminary design will be presented next spring. The City was hoping to make 34th street one-way by Fall 2011.