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A Car-Free 34th Street? (For One Block. Maybe.)

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The death of congestion pricing did not mean the death of wacky transit proposals, that's for sure. Streetsblog has a complete rundown of the initiatives announced by New York City Transit and the Department of Transportation today, the boldest of which is the proposed future of 34th Street. First up is a repaving and restriping between Third and Ninth Avenues, which will result in three auto lanes at the center and two dedicated bus lanes on the north and side sides. This is called a "Bus Rapid Transit" (or BRT, in Streetsblog speak) system, and should result in speedier bus travel times on that clogged thoroughfare (the NYPD has committed to enforcing the buses-only lane). These changes are scheduled to happen by the end of the year.

Phase 2 is where things get interesting. The idea is to close 34th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues to cars, and install pedestrian plazas instead. The buses would still be allowed to travel between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, in their new special lanes. A graphic of the proposal is above. Hard to imagine? Yes. Crazy? Kinda. Odds of success? Let's not hold our breath. The 34th Street BRT will eventually tie into the new East River Ferry Service, which is getting a full presentation next week. Hey, if it's half as fun as this bus thing, we can't wait!
· A Transit Miracle on 34th Street [Streetsblog]