On Friday morning, Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan cut the ribbon on Willoughby Plaza, the first permanent pedestrian plaza in the city. Afterwards, she told The Observer that even after she and Mayor Bloomberg are out of City Hall, the plazas will persist thanks to public support.
The same morning, 200 miles away in Washington, the mayor was delivering the same message to The World Bank.
In a conversation with the president of the global organization, the mayor discussed a number of topics, including the way his administration has reengineered the city’s streets, particularly along Broadway in Manhattan.
“Now that it’s been there for three or four years, I think it’d be hard pressed for anybody to ever turn it back,” the mayor said, according to Capital New York.
It is an interesting message to be delivering in Washington, considering how few cities in the country have the pedestrian densities of New York. Outside of the nation’s capital and perhaps Portland or San Francisco, it seems turning roadbed back into pedestrian space would be a scarce project, given the national dependence on cars. And globally, Europe and parts of the developed world never got away from walking, so they already know the lessons New York is just discovering.
You can watch the mayor’s entire speech below.