It's been a tough few years for cantankerous NY Post columnist Steve "He Who Yells At Cloud" Cuozzo. So many changes in this town! Particularly near his office, where the DOT turned several blocks of Broadway into pedestrian plazas that Cuozzo did NOT sign off on. Infernal bike lanes have popped up everywhere, cigarette smoking is criminalized, and now the DOT is still threatening big changes to 34th Street. In a new rant entitled "Debacle on 34th St.; DOT's plans to ruin grand blvd," Cuozzo draws a line in the sand:
The DOT's detested bicycle lanes merely forced cars to park far from the curb and turned streets into parking lots. But the scheme that Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan hopes will be her master stroke will ruin 34th Street from end to end. Because of recent, overdue pushback against the bike paths and other Sadik-Khan moves, the DOT is advancing the $30 million project in secrecy, but remains hell-bent on making it happen—the public be damned.
Be afraid: The DOT has consistently ignored community objections, and its "studies" of its bike lanes' and plazas' impact on traffic have ranged from incomplete to outright false. For a preview of how the block between Macy's and the Empire State Building might soon look, check out Times Square's asphalt-paved "plazas" cluttered with cheap chairs and tourists gobbling junk food Mayor Bloomberg claims to hate. The 34th Street plaza would be bigger than all of Times Square's combined.
The DOT's proposal [pdf], by the way, would essentially cut 34th Street in half, with the section west of Sixth Avenue running one way toward the Hudson River, and the section east of Fifth Avenue running one way toward the East River. Buses would travel in both directions in their own special lanes, and in the middle there would be a pedestrian plaza on the block between Fifth and Sixth, the part of town informally known as Clusterfuck City. "The plan would effectively turn 34th Street into a Manhattan exit causeway," cries Cuozzo. "Why not bring back Robert Moses' cross-Manhattan expressway?" You'd like that, wouldn't you Cuozz?
A DOT spokesperson tells Yells At Cloud, "No decisions have yet been made as community discussion for this project continues." (They expect the results of a traffic study sometime in the spring.) In an excellent, point-by-point evisceration of Cuozzo's screed on Streetsblog, Ben Fried begins, "Steve Cuozzo columns about street reclamation are usually so divorced from reality that we’ve been letting him go unchallenged for a while. The insanity is usually self-evident." But what do you think about Cuozzo's vision/hallucination for 34th Street? Let him know at his new website, www.stevecuozzo.com!