Fittingly for a multibillionaire who had term limits repealed, Bloomberg’s mayoralty is defined by the grand gesture, the leader-as-visionary. He banned smoking and trans fats for our own good; tried to bring us the Olympics and the West Side Stadium (and Atlantic Yards); did bring the 2004 RNC; and occasionally tried to unilaterally enact really progressive environmental policy like congestion pricing (I will think about actually voting for a third term if that’s going to be a priority).
Recently, Bloomberg woke up one morning and was like, you know what, we need to rethink basic assumptions about cars. (He was correct.) So we had some experimental car-free streets during a couple weekends last year. And now, maybe, Broadway will be closed to cars from 42nd to 47th.
This will, say traffic engineers, reduce congestion, and more importantly start the process of getting people to think about city streets as things for people, bikes, and generally useful for a lot of purposes other than driving a car through.
The Gothamist comments thread on this bit of news is less neighborhood-cranky and missing-the-urban-planning-forest-for-the-trees than you might hope. So far, at least.