New York City officials are taking their biggest step yet in making cars unwelcome on some of the city’s busiest streets. They are moving to ban from one of Manhattan’s main thoroughfares — the busiest stretch of 14th Street — according to a New York Times report.
The busiest stretch of 14th Street is a major crosstown route for 21,000 vehicles a day that links the East and West Sides but will mostly be off-limits to cars. Drivers will be allowed onto the street for just a block or two to make deliveries and pick up and drop off passengers. Then they will have to turn off.
The sweeping restrictions come as New York and other cities fundamentally rethink the role of cars in the face of unrelenting traffic that is choking their streets, poisoning the environment and crippling public transit systems by trapping buses and light rail systems in gridlock.
The French Connection
Authorities in the French Capital — Paris — did something similar when they moved to make the city car-free on the first Sunday of every month.
The move, which was part of the French capital’s Paris Respire initiative, spearheaded by Mayor Anne Hidalgo started on 7th October last year though it was already in place in several parts of the city on a pilot basis.
The Car-Free Movement
The car-free city concept has gained momentum in 13 cities in countries like Norway, China, Germany, France and now the U.S.A. A car-free city is a population center that relies primarily on public transport, walking, or cycling for transport within the urban area.
The goal first and foremost is to reduce traffic and congestion in city centers like the Central Business District (CBD) in Accra.
The second reason for the car-free movement is the environment. Urban planners and policymakers around the world have started to brainstorm ways that cities can create more space for pedestrians and lower CO2 emissions from diesel and petrol-powered engines. Norway has confirmed that it will phase out diesel and gas-powered cars nationwide by 2025.