lafayette.jpg
lafayette, by vinnie716 at flickr

For three Saturdays in August, the city will not allow car-traffic on certain roads in order to create a five-mile boulevard for people to walk or bike. According to the Sun, the zone will "run from the start of Centre Street in Lower Manhattan to 72nd Street on the Upper East Side by way of Lafayette Street, Fourth Avenue, and Park Avenue." And the Downtown Express explains "On 15 major east-west streets, like Canal, 14th St. and 42nd St., cars will be allowed to cross the car-free zone."

The roads will be closed on August 9, August 16, and August 23, between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m., with police managing traffic along the route. While some businesses are worried, City Councilman John Liu, who heads the council's transportation committee, told the Sun, "This is not likely to create a huge ripple in the fabric of Manhattan. It may even begin to wean people off dependence on personal automobiles."

Streetsblog had previously mentioned the Department of Transportation was planning a car-free street event, in the style of Ciclovia in Bogota, Colombia.

Update: At the press conference held in the East Village today, the program was unveiled--it's called "Summer Streets." Mayor Bloomberg said, "We anticipate that hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers and visitors will take advantage of streets temporarily opened for recreation. We hope the Summer Streets experiment will become as much a part of the New York experience as strolling the Coney Island boardwalk, participating in the 5-borough bike tour, or listening to the Philharmonic in the park."

Some more details and a map after the jump:

Fitness, dance and yoga classes will be held at a central stage along the route, with additional exercise and health activities hosted by community groups at select cross streets. Event sponsors will also organize activities, and bike rental facilities will be available along the route, including at hotels. Rest areas will be stationed along the route for water and bike repair, and serve as meeting areas to link up with friends and family members. At the 72nd Street link to Central Park, the car-free route will occupy the southern half of the road only, while the north side will remain open to two-way vehicle traffic. People on bicycles can access the park and the Hudson River Greenway from the West Side via bike lanes on West 90th and 91st Streets. In Lower Manhattan, bike lanes will connect to the route from the Greenway via Warren, Reade, Hudson, and Chambers Streets.

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The cross streets open to crosstown traffic are Chambers Street, Worth Street, Canal Street, Broome Street, East Houston Street, W.8th Street, 14th Street, 23rd Street, 36th/37th Streets, 49th/50th Streets, 53rd/54th Streets, 57th Street, and 59th Street.