A Car Free Broadway?

  Last modified on June 1st, 2021

This past Saturday, pedestrians were able to enjoy walking down the streets of the Upper West Side a little more than they normally do. Due to the efforts of Upper West Side group StreetopiaUWS, Broadway between 73rd and 79th streets was closed off to cars on the northbound side of the roadway.

A normally congested and traffic-filled part of Broadway was quiet and calm. Those who attended relaxed, seated on small tables spread throughout the roadway. In other cities with large pedestrianized zones, this concept is commonplace, but in New York it’s a rarity, as cars have access to most streets.

Lisa Orman of StreetopiaUWS hopes to show the Department of Transportation why a pedestrianized stretch on Broadway would be beneficial to residents, and eventually aims for this to become a reality on the Upper West Side. Orman noted that she favors “completely rethinking Broadway for the entire length of Manhattan, but this short stretch on one side of the street is a no-brainer.”

While banning cars on Broadway may sound like a stretch to some, it may be less of a challenge to instate the ban on this small section of Broadway.

The Department of Transportation has not agreed to much, but they seem open to the ideas from Streetopia UWS, whose Twitter bio notes themselves as a group that is “Redefining streets from a place for cars and trucks to a place for people & public life.” Additionally, this wouldn’t be the first time that a stretch of Broadway has been pedestrianized – Midtown has a pedestrian only stretch on Broadway, between 42nd and 47th Streets, and between 33rd and 35th Streets.

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