Study finds air is cleaner in Times Square

The News Leader

April 13, 2011 11:07:32 AM PDT
Air quality in Times Square is cleaner and healthier since the pedestrian plazas were opened, a new study found.

New York City Community Air Survey released the results showing "an immediate and substantial air quality" improvement in Times Square after implementation of the pedestrian plaza.

"We created pedestrian plazas right in the heart of our City to straighten out some of the chokepoints in our street grid and to help traffic flow more smoothly and quickly through Midtown," said Mayor Bloomberg. "We also expected that by reducing the numbers of vehicles in and around Times Square, we would also improve the area's air quality, and that's exactly what the numbers now show."

A comprehensive survey of street-level air quality in the five boroughs created as part of PlaNYC. The New York City Community Air Survey is one of more than a dozen PlaNYC programs designed to improve air quality in New York City.

The city estimates that a quarter-million pedestrians enter Times Square each day. Over the past two years, the city has banned cars from parts of Times Square, Union Square and Herald Square. A plan to ban cars from parts of 34th street failed when businesses and residents complained that drivers forced to use alternate routes would increase traffic on side streets.