In light of the positive responses to the vision42 proposal by a wide spectrum of the City’s decision makers and constituencies at more than 300 presentations that have been made to date, we believe that this plan merits consideration for a meaningful demonstration project—which could serve to allay the fears of naysayers about converting this very central crosstown street into an auto-free light rail boulevard.
A “first stage” could consist of an immediate closing of 42nd Street to motor vehicles, the assignment of a fleet of low-floor, alternative fuel NYC Transit buses to the M42 route, the designation of the center two lanes of the street as a transitway exclusively for these buses, an extension of sidewalk functions to the transitway, and the furnishing of this space with planters and outdoor cafés. The three Business Improvement Districts and the NYC DOT could take the lead in designing and managing this space, modeled after their very successful recent projects at Times Square, Herald Square and Grand Central. Quickly creating an enhanced pedestrian environment in Midtown will bring many of the benefits of vision42, while serving to generate support for a permanent surface light rail line and longer lasting, high-quality landscaping and amenities.
The technical studies of this proposal by well-regarded independent consultants that have been commissioned between 2004 and 2008 by the Institute for Rational Urban Mobility, Inc., vision42’s host organization, contain detailed analyses and projection of the proposal’s economic and fiscal benefits, traffic diversion and management and delivery truck parking, a detailed estimate of its capital and operating costs, and construction phasing plans. The most recent sutdies have been a 2007 update of the cost estimate and a financing study that explores mechanisms for funding the project privately, so as not to compete with other New York City transit projects for scarce public funds. However, to advance the plan toward its realization, an official Environmental Impact Statement must be prepared by a public agency with adequate resources, for which a commitment by the City will be required.
If you agree that vision42 would have a beneficial effect on New York and would like to see City government direct an official study of it, this website affords you an opportunity to make your voice heard, by sending an email to the Mayor and your elected officials.