Out of the Mire of New York’s 34th Street

The New York Times is promoting a discussion on Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to close parts of 34th street to car traffic and make it a pedstrian mall as part of its on-line “Room for Debate” series. It’s an interesting proposal, but, as I point out in my contribution, has potential pitfalls if they don’t accomodate cross town traffic.

The city, I write, still needs to consider capacity expansions for road use, probably using tunnels and pricing to manage the infrastructure:

“The city should consider long-term enhancements to the Manhattan street system that meets these circulation needs. Among the solutions could be installing queue jumpers that funnel crosstown traffic over congested intersections at major avenues (perhaps financed and managed by electronic tolling) to speed up travel along 37th street.

An even bolder plan might include a new crosstown tunnel (also financed in part by users) linking the Queens-Midtown and Lincoln tunnels. This tunnel could include an underground interchange near a major north-south artery such as the Avenue of Americas, Fashion Avenue, or Broadway. While ambitious by U.S. standards, these types of road capacity improvements are actively being considered (and planned) in cities like Beijing and Chongqing.”

As the other contributions make clear, this outside the box thinking might be a little to bold for New York City.