Three Articles, One Theme

Eastern Parkway Was Never Meant to Be a Highway by Diana Budds, about the design and use of the widest and most park-like street in Brooklyn.

What If We Took the West Side Highway for Bikes? by Choire Sicha, about reclaiming one lane of the roughly 25-year-old street/highway (the replacement for the elevated highway) for non-car use.

Expanded car-free ‘Summer Streets’ program starts this Saturday by Scott Lynch, about this year’s iteration of NYC’s program to close streets to vehicles on summer weekend days, creating temporary play areas and pedestrian malls.

The link between these stories is obvious, but the context of that link may not be. New York cannot function if it relies on private transportation. There is not enough street space for the number of vehicles required and tearing down portions of the city to build more highways – known locally as the Robert Moses approach – would destroy the reason that all those people wanted to be here in the first place. Traffic generation works both ways: build more roads and more people drive; reduce the road capacity and fewer people will. So the answer to the questions raised by all three articles is: yes, reduce the car capacity of the streets.

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