Mayor Bloomberg's office is hard at work to push through a plan to rezone the eastern half of Midtown in an attempt to keep the area relavent to the business community—and help assure hizzoner's legacy. But an interesting idea has hitched itself to planning process: What if Vanderbilt Avenue, that five block strip to the West of Grand Central, became the next big pedestrian plaza?
Basically, the city is hoping to "upzone" the midtown area with bigger, better, more high-tech friendly buildings. And that means also adding more public amenities to the crowded area—like pedestrian plazas. Details on the plan aren't many, but government agencies are aware of it. An MTA spokesman told the Post the agency is "aware" of the proposal and noted something clear to anyone who has walked down the street: "Vanderbilt Avenue is critical to emergency responses at Grand Central Terminal, and any closure of Vanderbilt must not interfere with fire, police and emergency medical access or egress to the terminal." So yeah, they will have to find a place for all those cop cars.
Also, some local workers, like cab drivers and food cart vendors, aren't jumping at the idea. But that isn't really a surprise. The same people weren't exactly excited about the Times Square pedestrian plazas either, and those have turned out quite well. Considering how starved for public space the area is—and how packed Bryant Park always is—we think this could be a great idea.
Official details on the plan could be released to Community Board 5 as early as Wednesday.