Friday, March 04, 2011

Sadik-Khan Blinks!

In a rare victory for sanity, the Bloombergistas have apparently thrown in the towel on turning 34th Street into a vast pedestrian mall. The NY Post reports in a story aptly headlined, The Miracle on 34th Street" "City officials are walking away from their controversial plan to turn 34th Street between Herald Square and Fifth Avenue into a pedestrian plaza -- citing repeated criticism of a scheme that would have shut down yet another major Midtown intersection. "There isn't going to be a plaza . . . The changes we are talking about reflect what we have heard from the community," Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said yesterday."

So we are finally getting some push back on the Bloombergistas' Copenhagen modeling: "The city's decision to scrap the plaza was welcomed by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer as "a step in the right direction." "Clearly, discussions between the various stakeholders are having an impact," Stringer said. Residents and small-business owners in the neighborhood were outraged by the proposal, and said yesterday they were glad the city will let traffic keep flowing through the area. "It was a silly idea to start with. Why would you need to close it down?" said Sarah Mercer, 37. "It's a busy block. I'm glad they've come to their senses."

Sometimes people need to have sense knocked into them-and the WSJ chimes in: "Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan has attracted international attention with the city's pedestrian malls. But she ran into stiff opposition on 34th Street. Residents complained the pedestrian mall would snarl traffic; businesses said they would be unable to receive deliveries if the mall were created."

We expressed our view earlier on the NYC Sadik, and the decision to pull back doesn't mitigate that sentiment in the least-although we are pleased with the pull back. She is still ill-equipped to handle the transportation department-hampered as she is, both philosophically and temperamentally. The city's about face does not represent the commissioner's newly acquired sobriety-but rather the strength of the growing opposition to her arbitrary and capricious policy making.

The NY Times reporting gets the last word-but even the paper of record understands the role played by the NY post's Steve Cuozzo (and Andrea Peyser as well) in exposing the stupidity of the plan: "The decision to abandon the plaza plan is a stark contrast to the fate of previous unorthodox ideas put forward by Ms. Sadik-Khan, who has banned cars from parts of Times, Herald and Union Squares. The 34th Street plan came under sustained attack this week in The New York Post, where one columnist deemed the project a “budding Titanic.”