Car-free zones please NYC walkers, not businesses

The News Leader

June 20, 2010 9:19:30 AM PDT
Pedestrians looking for a spot to take a coffee break are happy with the car-free plazas the city put in place over a year ago.

But motorists and taxi drivers say traffic jams blocks away are worse, not better. And some business owners say they're worried about the plazas cutting off their access to customers.

City officials say the plazas in the middle of Times and Herald Squares in midtown Manhattan have made the city safer, more livable and even sped up traffic. They're soliciting applications to open others around the city and are looking closely at Union Square in downtown Manhattan.

Downtown businesses and leaders are concerned about blocking traffic at busy Union Square, and about a nearby firehouse that would have to send firetrucks along a slightly different route.