One of the biggest headaches for them has been the Broadway pedestrian islands – plazas that stretch onto the road – a popular summer feature that Midtown denizens expect will be deserted come the cold weather, even as they still tie up traffic.
“In the winter, it won’t even be used,” griped office worker Jeffrey Gottlieb, 47. “Broadway already is down to 1½ lanes after you take the FedEx trucks making deliveries.”
Other road rage-inducing projects include a bus corridor down 34th Street, a bike lane on Ninth Avenue from West 16th to West 23rd streets, and a bike lane on Greenwich and Washington streets.
The most dramatic changes have been on Broadway, which, with the islands, has gone from four lanes to two from Times Square to Herald Square.
“I think it is completely useless . . . It doesn’t do anything for Midtown,” said New Jersey commuter Jason Silitsky, 24.
But Chaim Dadi, 48, owner of Mr. Broadway Kosher at 38th and Broadway, said he has profited from an increase in the number of pedestrians.
“Traffic-wise, it’s not good, but who cares about traffic? I care about the store, and for my store, it’s good for my business. They can take my food outside,” he said.
Barbara Randall, executive director of the Fashion Center Business Improvement District, headquartered on 38th, said: “We haven’t notice any traffic problems. It’s down two to lanes, but it’s moving.” So far, she said, the month-old project is a success. “It was completely, fully used every single day since it was opened,” she said.
The Department of Transportation downplayed concerns that the projects would be underused after summer’s end. “Our streets, like parks and plazas, are used and enjoyed on a year-round basis. We will continue to monitor these improvements and make adjustments as required,” Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said.