Times Square to Become Giant Outdoor Mall

Walkways, cafes to replace car lanes

A swath of New York City's Great White Way will soon become a pedestrian mall. It's an experiment that -- if successful -- could become permanent.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to announce today that parts of Broadway will be closed to cars in an effort to make Times Square and Herald Square more pedestrian friendly.

In May, the city plans to close Broadway to vehicles between 47th and 42nd streets and transform them into pedestrian walkways. The mall will feature cafe tables and benches.

Drivers won't be totally shut out. Bloomberg's plan calls for the widening of Seventh Avenue from three to four lanes at 45th Street to accommodate downtown traffic, according to the New York Post.

Cross-town traffic is not expected to be affected.

The plan will get rid of the 45th Street crossover in Times Square and is expected to make life easier for drivers heading uptown near Herald Square.

The stretch of Broadway between 42nd and 35th would remain open to motorists for local traffic and deliveries.

The project is in line with Bloomberg's vision of reducing New York's traffic and pollution while making the city more pedestrian-friendly.

In July, the city designated two lanes of Broadway for bikes and a public esplanade between 42nd and 35th streets.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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