I got the following news items from Newsmax.com.
New Yorkers Prepare for Car-Free Times Square
NEW YORK -- Opening now on Broadway: Pedestrian malls at Times Square and Herald Square. As part of a Department of Transportation plan to make the city more livable, cars will be banned from stretches of Broadway at Times Square and at Herald Square.
The city believes the move will reduce pollution, cut down on pedestrian accidents and help traffic flow more smoothly. The Department of Transportation says the barriers will be fully in place by 8 p.m. Sunday. A ceremony ushering in the new car-free era is planned for Monday.
Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan says her department will monitor the area closely during the initial adjustment period.
Years ago I predicted that it was only a matter of time before the larger cities began developing car free zones because of the congestion, pollution, and cost of fuel. It is now happening and this is only the beginning. It probably won't be long until most of Manhattan Island is turned into a car free zone along with large parts of other major cities.
It is only common sense that you can only crowd so many cars in any space and people still be able to move about at all much less effectively. With our current population and us returning to the cities in larger and larger populations, it is only a matter of time before more and more cities come to grips with the reality that they must restrict cars from more congested areas.
It looks like the current financial crisis will probably contribute to this trend because the cities will be able to save significant amounts of money by being able to remove most officers from automobile patrol and putting them on foot and bicycle patrols. All of our governments have run out of money and they are looking for more ways to save money and keep their governments out of debt. The big socialist federal government financial teat has dried up and people are going to have to start weaning themselves to more efficient governments. We just don't have the money to waste we used to have and ideas like this will result in huge savings. The cities won't have to purchase as many expensive patrol cars, pay for insurance, cover repairs, or pay for increasingly expensive gas. Plus the health benefits payments should decline as our officers become more fit and less fat resulting in better general health and less sick time.
Over the long term, they should find that crime will actually go down in most neighborhoods because the beat cops will get to know everyone like they used to decades ago.
In order to get the people to accept the idea, I believe their strategy will be to start with relatively small areas and expand to encompass larger and larger areas until most inner cities will become car free zones with only pedestrian, mass transit, and bicycle traffic. We don't have a choice any more.
Even in small town America, I have noticed increasing numbers of people using bicycles for transportation and not just recreation. I expect the economy to only get worse for at least a little while and you can expect to see increasing numbers of people resorting to bicycles and mass transportation out of necessity.