From the NY Times:
In an abrupt concession to community complaints, the Bloomberg administration said Wednesday that it would scrap a plan for a pedestrian plaza on 34th Street in Manhattan that would have banned automobile traffic on the block between Herald Square and the Empire State Building.
The plaza had been the centerpiece of an ambitious reimagining of the Midtown thoroughfare, a plan that included dedicated bus lanes separated by a concrete barrier from other traffic. Cars on either side of the plaza would have traveled in a single direction, outbound toward the edges of the island.
But the project, proposed in 2008, received sharp criticism from some of the area’s residents and business owners, who complained that the bus lanes would block access to their buildings and that cars seeking a route across town could clog up surrounding side streets. Some residents said they had considered the project a fait accompli.
Not so, said Janette Sadik-Khan, the city’s transportation commissioner. “The design has evolved as we continue to work with the community,” she said Wednesday. “We want the public process to play itself out.”
The decision to abandon the plaza plan is a stark contrast to the fate of previous unorthodox ideas put forward by Ms. Sadik-Khan, who has banned cars from parts of Times, Herald and Union Squares. The 34th Street plan came under sustained attack this week in The New York Post, where one columnist deemed the project a “budding Titanic.”
A revised plan will be unveiled at a public forum on March 14. Ms. Sadik-Khan declined to say whether other elements of the project, like the separated bus lanes, had also been changed. But she said the new plan would expand curbside access for parking, deliveries and drop-offs.
Some supporters of the plan said they appreciated how the city’s Transportation Department responded to the concerns of the public.
The Daily News reports today that the problem Janette was aiming to fix has already been resolved.