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How Do You Measure a Summer Stroll?
August 12th, 2008

Last weekend marked the debut of Summer Streets, an experiment to ban motor vehicles from nearly seven miles of streets from the Brooklyn Bridge to East 72nd Street for three Saturdays in August. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said that if the event is a success, the city may look to expand it. But exactly what would constitute a “success” is unclear.

Today, the New York Times editorial page weighs in, calling the experience “serene” and “therapeutic” and claiming that “New Yorkers are voting with their feet in favor of more chances to displace the cars, trucks and taxis for a day, and go for a stroll.” (The New York Times blog message board is also filled with mostly positive reviews of the event.)

The blog Gothamist has a roundup of differing opinions on Summer Streets, including complaints from business owners, cab drivers, residents, and pedestrians who thought cyclists were riding recklessly.

The blog Commuter Outrage writes: “Please tell me that success is defined a little more concretely than people having fun”

By on August 12, 2008, 8:36 am
In category: Environment,Transportation | 2 Comments »

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2 Responses to “How Do You Measure a Summer Stroll?”

  1. Amanda Says:
    August 13th, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Why bother linking to a quasi-anonymous blog out of Washington DC who’s take on civic conversation is “If you have an problem with our [content] we dont care. You are free to get the hell off our website, or start your own.”

    Seriously, though, I see a healthy debate that weighs to the positive on Gothamist and the City Room and a couple of PR industry curmudgeons in DC who just hate the idea of it. If that is the most resounding criticism of Summer Streets I’m impressed.

  2. Daniel Millstone Says:
    August 18th, 2008 at 6:45 am

    Well, I was in town briefly for the first one and it was — from my point of view — an eye-opener. I saw the streets less as traffic barriers to cross than as areas many could share.

    There were of course crazed cyclists, erratic pedestrians and angry auto drivers. It seemed to me that car-free streets will need new rules of comity.

    While I don’t see the three-Saturday-tryout in August as sometime for which success or failure standards can be gauged, I learned a lot from it. More important: I liked it.

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