New Yorkers Call For Pedestrian-Friendly Improvements To Continue
City Council Hearing On Public Plazas Highlights The Benefits Of Street Improvements To Businesses And New Yorkers
The New York City Council's Transportation Committee convened a hearing today asking, "How has DOT's public plaza program impacted traffic, pedestrian safety, and commerce in NYC?" The answer from New York businesses and local residents was overwhelmingly positive.
"Today's hearing confirmed what most of us already know: our city's commitment to creating safe and livable public spaces revitalizes New York businesses and strengthens the fabric of city life," said Transportation Alternatives Executive Director, Paul Steely White. "New Yorkers are calling for more of these innovative improvements to expand the vibrant street life that New York is known for."
White testified before the Transportation Committee and detailed how public plazas and other street improvements benefit local businesses and the city as a whole. According to a study conducted by Transportation Alternatives and NYU Urban Planning students on two New York City streets with high levels of retail activity, non-drivers provided far more income to local businesses. Pedestrians, bicyclists and transit riders spent an average of $154 dollars per week compared to drivers, who spent $82 per week on average. Furthermore, 88 percent of the people arriving in these neighborhoods came by public transit, walking or bicycle. Only 12 percent arrived by taxi or private car. Overall, pedestrians, bicyclists and transit riders were worth approximately $72,000 in revenue for businesses in these neighborhoods. Drivers contributed only $2,700.
Another testimonial came from Joanna Oltman Smith, a resident of Park Slope, who discussed how public plazas benefited her as a pedestrian.
"I used to avoid Times Square at all costs because the foot traffic was so unbearable for the allotted space, and the traffic noise and fumes were so oppressive," Smith explained. "Now, I go out of my way to pass through the area."
Numerous individuals from Business Improvement Districts all over the city also came to testify on the benefits of public plazas. Others, including Curtis Archer of the Harlem Community Development Corporation, sent in written testimony in support of the street improvements.
The complete report on transportation choice and its impact on businesses is available online:
Founded in 1973, Transportation Alternatives is New York's leading voice on transportation issues and public spaces.
# # #