The Herald and Times Square pedestrian plazas. The Grand Street, Kent Avenue and Chelsea bike lanes. NippleGate in the Meatpacking District. These are just a handful of the hottest recent Department of Transportation controversies, and they all share something in common: they were dragged kicking and screaming into the world by DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. As the DOT prepares to implement its traffic-lane-reducing Herald and Times Square plan (temporary until it likely becomes permanent) next week, Michael Crowley files a fascinating profile on Sadik-Khan for New York, focusing on the culture war that she has stirred up with her various visions for a more Euro-inspired New York. She's been called an elitist and an anti-car radical (and, in this piece, a "hipster beauracrat"), but she may eventually be called Robert Moses II. Crowley explains where this whole Broadway thing is likely headed:
If the Broadway plan does succeed, the next step (though Sadik-Khan is not talking this way publicly) will likely be to close more sections of Broadway until one day in the near future the entire boulevard has been converted to pedestrianized open space. It's hard to characterize how dramatic a change that would be. Imagine a Manhattan with two major parks: one built in the nineteenth century as a confined space of bucolic wonder; the other refashioned in the 21st century as a long, open boulevard slicing the island on the diagonal. This would be the most striking alteration of the city’s physical landscape since the days of Robert Moses. And more than a little ironic, seeing as Moses constructed his empire of roads and highways while serving for 26 years as the city’s Parks commissioner. One wonders what he would think of a Transportation commissioner who dismantled New York’s most famous street and turned it into a park."It's sort of like Jane Jacobs's revenge on Robert Moses," Khan says of taking back the streets for pedestrian use. Maybe this Villager would be interested in a new place?
· Honk, Honk, Aaah [NYMag]