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Transportation & Environment

Modifications to Broadway Boulevard between West 35th Street and West 42nd Streets

At the monthly meeting of Community Board Five on Thursday, November 08, 2012, the Board passed the following resolution with a vote of 38 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, The reconfiguration of Broadway within Community Board Five from 59th Street to 14th Street is a multi-year project undertaken by the Department of Design and Construction, Department of Transportation, and the affected BIDS to improve the safety and efficiency of traffic - for cars, trucks, bikes and pedestrian - for this stretch of Midtown; and

WHEREAS, CB5 has in a variety of resolutions been supportive of these changes and, in particular, to improvements to the pedestrian experience along Broadway; and   

WHEREAS, Beginning in the summer of 2009, Times Square & Herald Square were the site of pilot projects initiated by the NYC Department of Transportation to convert blocks of Broadway from a traffic thoroughfare into a series of pedestrian plazas. The project - Green Light for Midtown - was an attempt to rationalize the West Side traffic grid and relieve pedestrian congestion on New York's most crowded sidewalks; and

WHEREAS, The new pedestrian zones, significantly increased the amount of pedestrian space provided multiple benefits, offering new places for visitors to sit and linger, and more room for New Yorkers in a hurry to walk quickly; and

WHEREAS, Times Square to the north and Herald Square to the south are already two of the busiest hubs in the world, attracting an even greater number of pedestrians after the closing of Broadway to traffic; and

WHEREAS, The closure of Broadway to the north and the south has resulted in significantly fewer vehicles along the stretch of Broadway between West 35th Street and West 42nd Street with only approximately 4 vehicles per minute during the morning rush hour; and 

WHEREAS, The Fashion Center BID has been in discussions with DOT for a number of years to reorganize the portions of Broadway Boulevard between West 35th Street and West 42nd Streets; and

WHEREAS, The existing conditions on the street are as shown in the attached diagram; and

WHEREAS, After studying how these changes to Broadway have worked and how these kinds of improvements have functioned in other parts of the city, DOT is proposing a reconfigured scheme; and

WHEREAS, Permanent traffic signals need to be installed which requires a longer term plan; and

WHEREAS, The proposed plan would significantly increase the amount of pedestrian circulation space and plaza space; and

WHEREAS, The proposed plan would reduce the number of travel lanes from 2 to 1 along stretches of Broadway further to the south; and

WHEREAS, DOT does not expect this to have a significant traffic impact because of the relatively few cars that use this stretch of Broadway; and

WHEREAS, The Fashion Center BID and its stakeholders are very supportive of these changes; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five is planning to work with other stakeholders to determine how best to ensure that these new DOT plaza spaces throughout our district are not overwhelmed by commercial events and that standards are developed for the kinds of permissible programming to ensure that they remain spaces that are primarily public in nature; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of the modifications to Broadway Boulevard between West 35th Street and West 42nd Streets.    

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