A 42nd St. for Pedestrians and Light Rail?
Yesterday the NY Times ran an extensive piece on a proposed plan to close 42nd Street to cars entirely. Replacing the vehicular gridlock would be a pedestrian mall with a light rail connecting the East River and the Hudson. The plan, put forward by an organization called Vision 42, is said to have received support from many places but not from the Mayors office. Perhaps we’ll see this emerge as a point of debate in the NYC Mayoral race?
Vision 42 would like to turn the full length of 42nd Street into a pedestrian mall, while adding a light rail line that would connect the 39th Street ferry terminal on the Hudson River, near the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on the West Side Highway, with the 36th Street ferry terminal on the East River, near the undeveloped Con Edison sites on the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive.
The light rail system, which would cost an estimated $500 million, would run from terminal to terminal in about 20 minutes, half the time that the current bus system takes, said George Haikalis, an engineer who serves as a co-chairman of Vision 42. He is one of three board members of the Institute for Rational Mobility. Through October, Clear Channel/Spectracolor is running a free public service announcement for Vision 42 on its Times Square billboard at 1567 Broadway between 46th and 47th Streets.
“The real gain here is you could handle three times as many people with roughly the same cost,” Mr. Haikalis said. “A lot of people have expressed interest in this, but have not signed on, because they’re awaiting interest from Mayor Bloomberg.”