Mayor Eric Adams said the city would increase pedestrian spaces along a stretch of Broadway where a yellow cab driver struck six people last week – while stopping short of a more far-reaching ban on driving pushed by some activists.
In a press release on Thursday, Mayor Eric Adams announced a “proposed reimagination and redesign” of the famed thoroughfare between 25th and 32nd Street.
The plan would involve an immediate – but temporary – two block expansion of the Open Street between 27th and 29th Street, as well as an accelerated timeline for adding bike lanes and loading zones between Herald and Madison Square.
“There is no more iconic street in this city than Broadway — both our small and large businesses sit on it, our tourism and entertainment hubs move through it, and millions of pedestrians walk on it every day,” Adams said. “So I completely reject the idea that people will inevitably be injured or killed by vehicles on this very street.”
The announcement comes after activists gathered at the site of the crash on Thursday to call on the mayor to do more to stop the growing number of traffic deaths. So far this year, 106 people have died in traffic crashes – a 31% increase since 2018, according to Transportation Alternatives.
The group has long pushed for a major transformation of Broadway, calling for a total ban on cars between Columbus Circle and Union Square to create New York City’s first super block.
Adams has said he backs the Department of Transportation’s “Broadway Vision” project, a repeatedly stalled effort that aims to take away space for cars along Broadway. But he has backed away calls for a car-free Broadway, saying this week that it was not something he was currently considering.
To date, the Department of Transportation has fully pedestrianized six blocks between Times Square and Union Square – while designating a number of other blocks as “shared streets,” in which vehicles are encouraged to slow down, according to Streetsblog.
In a statement, Danny Harris, the executive director of Transportation Alternatives, said the mayor’s announcement was a “positive first step.”
“As we face a crisis of traffic violence on our streets, we need to accelerate efforts to put people before cars not only in the heart of Manhattan but citywide,” Harris said. “We remain focused on achieving a car-free Broadway and look forward to working with government, business, and community partners to make this a reality.”