NEW YORK (WABC) --Theater ticket sales to locals are down in Times Square, and the reason, according to a recent survey, is the pedestrian plazas that have been added to the area over the past several years.
The Broadway League says that 13.1 million people bought tickets to Broadway shows last year, the most ever, but missing from the bunch are local suburbanites. And they're blaming construction, traffic and the influx of costumed characters for the dramatic drop.
In 2010, Broadway sold 21 percent of its tickets to people from Long Island, New Jersey, Westchester and Rockland counties. Now, that number has dropped to less than 16 percent last season.
The timing of the drop in sales corresponds with the creation of the pedestrian plazas, and Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin says that even though it was a banner year, the loss of the suburban audience is a big concern.
"Certainly we have to have something go on with the construction and the number of people that are trying to earn a dollar in an aggressive manner," she said.
St. Martin says that she has joined a task force created by the city to try to find a way to fix the problems in Times Square.
During the same period, sales to tourists outside of the New York area have increased.
The NYC Department of Transportation released a statement Monday saying,
"We are glad to see Broadway continues to thrive, bringing in record numbers last year, and feel our plaza work greatly improves the area for all users no matter where their trip originates. The overall attendance increase from the suburbs using raw numbers (report shows over 2 million during latest period) is a better indicator than using percentages within an overall expanding pie."