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Articles by Ben Fried

Ben Fried is a writer and reporter for Streetsblog. He previously wrote about urban planning issues for the nonprofit Project for Public Spaces.

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On Monday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a new event called “Summer Streets.” For three Saturdays in August, pedestrians and cyclists will enjoy exclusive access to a contiguous stretch of city thoroughfares running from the Brooklyn Bridge to 72nd Street. No cars allowed.

This goes way beyond street fair territory. We’re talking about a path more than half the length of Manhattan — 6.9 miles, to be precise — where people can walk, bike, shop, and otherwise enjoy the city free from the intrusion of motor vehicles.

The core idea behind Summer Streets, according to Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, is to change the way people view the city. “We’re really committed to treating our 6,000 miles of streets as more than just travel corridors, but as really vital public places,” she said at the Monday press conference. “For many of us, our streets are really our front yards and this new initiative will allow us to enjoy them free of vehicles.”

Or, in Bloomberg’s words, “It says to people, there’s other ways to get around.” By giving hundreds of tho... Read more