End of Summer (Streets)
August 25th, 2008

“There are many annoying and frustrating things about living in New York City, but every once in a while, they are balanced out by something incredible. Something that is completely unique to New York and only has the real impact the it does because it takes place here.” So wrote Advocate of Green about Summer Streets, the city’s closing of 6.9 miles of Manhattan roadway to cars and trucks for three summer Saturdays until 1p.m.

The program ended this weekend with widespread raves, as blogs featured effusive praise along with accounts of how the writer had taken advantage of the closings of Park Avenue and Lafayette Street.

“The general consensus was that the event succeeded beyond even the most hoped for expectations,” said Streetfilms. “A page has been turned …: The future will hold many more large scale street openings for pedestrians, cyclists, runners, children, dog walkers, dancers and any other reasonable livable space use.”

That said, the extension of Summer Streets is apparently not guaranteed. While walkers, bikers and other ordinary New Yorkers enjoyed the respite, Ray Rivera reported in the Times that, “For businesses in the car-free zone … the reviews were varied.” Borders Books and places selling food and drink generally did well, but high-end so-called destination retailers complained that shoppers, unable to drive to their establishments, stayed away.

“Officials with the Bloomberg administration say they plan to study the effect on businesses closely as they decide whether to continue or expand Summer Streets next year,” Rivera wrote, although Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan told him, “I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews.”

Looking ahead, Streetsblog asked readers to suggest how the program could be improved. The first round of readers suggested more and better Summer Streets (and not just in the summer) and urged the city to consider more interesting streets than stodgy Park Avenue for future closings. (Broadway, perhaps, suggested one.)

By on August 25, 2008, 12:07 pm
In category: Environment,Parks,Transportation | 1 Comment »

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One Response to “End of Summer (Streets)”

  1. MrManhattan Says:
    August 25th, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    The idea of opening up streets for use by New Yorkers was a stroke of genius.

    Thank you Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Sadik-Khan!!!

    I agree that Broadway would probably be a better route, both for participants and (especially) merchants.

    The only drawbacks were that it was only three days, and only six hours per day.

    Next year it should be every weekend from April thru October, 7am-7pm and with a variety of routes to “share the wealth”.

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