Since his recent announcement that seven blocks of Broadway in Times Square and Herald Square would be made permanent car-free oases, Mayor Bloomberg has hinted that this is only the beginning of motor vehicle banishment: "I think it’s encouraging that we’re getting merchants from other parts of the city saying, 'Can you please do this for us as well?'" So what neighborhood will be next to kiss cars goodbye? The DOT isn't talking, and recent rumors that Bedford Avenue's "Williamsburg Walks" closures would be made permanent are just that—rumors. But to fan the flames, the Post asked some transportation advocates what crazy changes they'd like to see:

  • Ban cars on Astor Place between Lafayette and Fourth Avenue! "There’s no good place to sit there right now," says Jeffrey Zupan, senior fellow for transportation for the Regional Plan Association. "Banning cars would open up a pedestrian plaza in front of Cooper Union."
  • Ban Cars from Fulton and Nassau Streets! "Drivers don’t use those streets much anyway and there’s a large density of foot traffic," says Zupan. "People in lower Manhattan don’t have a lot of parkland. Right now the only open space is the cemetery at Trinity Church. You have to sit with the dead if you want to sit outside."
  • Transform Broadway into a Pedestrian Promenade from Columbus Circle to Lincoln Center! Zupan, drunk with car-ban bloodlust, tells the Post, "Closing one direction of Broadway between Lincoln Center and Columbus Circle is a real possibility." In Zupan's vision of the future, Broadway traffic would be diverted to Ninth Avenue, and the park in front of Lincoln Center would be enlarged.
  • Change the speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph citywide! The current 30 mph speed limit leads to a 45% chance of a fatal crash, according to Transportation Alternatives. The group says reducing the speed limit to 20 mph would cut that to 5%.
  • MONORAIL! Well, "light rail," but we'll take it. According to George Haikalis, founder of Auto-Free New York, an auto-free light rail boulevard that would run along 42nd Street could be expanded into a loop around the island. He estimates the 61-mile light rail system, stretching from lower Manhattan to the far West Side, would cost an estimated $12.2 billion to build. Definitely more of a Shelbyville idea right now.

Sure, some of these ideas sound like pipe dreams, but if someone told you three years ago that tables and chairs would displace cars on Broadway, you would have said, "Sure, and we'll all be sharing taxis in the future, too, right?"