NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Tuesday marks the 10-year anniversary of the Broadway pedestrian plaza in Times Square.
While some are excited about the change it brought, others say it’s simply problematic.
For the Times Square Alliance and city’s Department of Transportation, Tuesday’s event was a celebration.
“Broadway went from a place for cars to a place that people wanted to be,” former DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan told CBS2’s Reena Roy.
Officials touted the Broadway pedestrian plaza as a game changer that completely transformed the busy tourist destination for the better.
They proudly announced pedestrian traffic has increased by 30% with 466,000 people walking through Times Square each day.
But for some New Yorkers left squeezing past each other, the plaza’s 10th birthday party was a reminder of what’s gone wrong.
“This whole area has become crazier and crazier,” Long Island resident Jaime Barrientos said. “It is frustrating and it is a lot of traffic … By the end of the day, you just wanna get home. You don’t wanna be caught in this sea of people.”
“The city has become one big outdoor mall,” Manhattan resident Fara Rose said.
Not to mention the seemingly constant construction, further crowding the sidewalks and streets.
“People are cranky,” Rose said. “Enough is enough.”
It’s not just the foot traffic, but also the traffic on the roads. When the Times Square plaza was put in, a portion of Broadway was closed off to drivers.
“[Traffic is] really heavy. You always gotta stop for people. The people, they’re not paying attention,” one driver said.
But officials stand by their celebratory ceremony, saying a recent survey showed nearly 75% of New Yorkers believe Times Square has improved since being so-called “pedestrianized” over the last decade.
Officials say the Broadway plaza inspired more than 70 plazas in the city, like the Union Square and Flat Iron plazas.