Monday, June 16, 2008
$900,000 to put cops on car-free streets
Mayor Bloomberg's next big idea: Shut down Park Avenue.
City Will Close Five Miles of Manhattan Road to Car Traffic
A five-mile stretch of road running from Lower Manhattan to Central Park will be closed to automobiles for three days in August, as part of a city Department of Transportation program that, if successful, could lead to regular street closings.
The proposal, expected to be announced by Mr. Bloomberg at an event today, is intended to provide New Yorkers and visitors with a safe place to jog, stroll, and ride without the congestion normally associated with the city's streets. The car-free zone will run from the start of Centre Street in Lower Manhattan to 72nd Street on the Upper East Side by way of Lafayette Street, Fourth Avenue, and Park Avenue, and it will be closed between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. on three consecutive Saturdays: August 9, August 16, and August 23.
But while the plan is intended to accommodate residents, some fear that, even on a weekend, the toll on businesses will be higher than the value gained.
None of the businesses The New York Sun spoke with yesterday said they were consulted by the city about the road closings.
Closing the 5-mile stretch of roads requires a lot of manpower to cordon off hundreds of side streets and direct traffic on crosstown thoroughfares.
The cost of police presence along the thoroughfare could total $900,000 for all three Saturdays, according to a Department of Transportation official, Dani Simons, quoted in a recent story in Downtown Express. The police department did not offer comment yesterday.