Car Free NYC
In April 2016, the New York City Council Committee on Transportation held a public hearing on a proposed NYC Car Free Day, an effort to create a more environmental and pedestrian friendly city. We testified in support of Car Free NYC, which would allow pedestrians to take back the streets.
Read our testimony below or download here.
New York City Council Committee on Transportation
Oversight Hearing on Resolution 1013-2016, NYC Car Free Day
Testimony of the Times Square Alliance
April 4, 2016
Thank you, Chairman Rodriguez and members of the committee for allowing me the
opportunity to testify today. My name is Caitlin Lewis, Director of External Affairs at the
Times Square Alliance. The Times Square Alliance is proud to support Car Free NYC,
and we commend Councilmember Rodriguez for spearheading this effort and sparking
conversation around the need for a more environmentally- and pedestrian-friendly city.
In 2009, the New York City Department of Transportation took the bold step of closing a
five-block stretch of Broadway to vehicular traffic. The pedestrian plazas that replaced
the cars on Broadway were an immediate hit: surveys of Times Square Alliance
employees and businesses reported significant increases in satisfaction with Times
Square, jumping from 43% in 2007 to 74% in 2009. The plazas have reimaged one of the
world’s most famous boulevards into a place where tourists, employees, and residents can
relax and eat their lunch, enjoy public programming, and take in the famous lights and
signs of Times Square.
The plazas have also increased safety for pedestrians moving through Times Square. In
2004, we counted 6,000 pedestrians spilling into the busy Broadway roadway during a
single weekday afternoon. While areas outside of the plazas, such as 42nd Street, still
have similar flow issues during busy times, the plazas serve as an incredible model for
creating a better pedestrian space that works optimally for its diverse users – visitors,
employees, theatergoers and those just passing through.
This Earth Day, approximately 450,000 pedestrians will traverse Times Square’s
pedestrian plazas, and Car Free NYC recognizes that New York City’s streets belong to
them as well. The success of the Times Square plazas proves that it is possible to take
back our streets to create a more pedestrian- and environmentally-friendly atmosphere. If
we can do it at the Crossroads of the World, we can surely do it throughout our city.