Drive through Midtown recently? No? We haven't either. BECAUSE IT'S MIDTOWN: Where buses move slower than tricycles.
A new report from the Department of Transportation, however, could maybe make us reconsider.
According to The DOT, its "Midtown In Motion" program-- an elaborate network of sensors and cameras launched last year, which allows DOT officials to "remotely adjust Midtown traffic signal patterns"-- has been a huge success. From The New York Post:
Since the program was implemented in July 2011, average travel speed climbed in the zone from 6.5 mph to 7.2 mph between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., a 10.2 percent improvement.
On Madison Avenue, the average travel speed jumped from 6.9 mph to 7.9 mph, a 14.5 percent improvement.
The DOT's so excited about the improvements, they're expanding "Midtown In Motion" to twice its size. According to CBS New York, the DOT will add "100 more traffic sensors, 32 more video cameras, and the addition of E-ZPass readers at 23 more intersections to measure traffic speeds."
Currently, the program covers the area between Second and Sixth avenues and from 42nd to 57th streets. The planned $2.7 million expansion, set for September, will stretch it from First Avenue all the way to Ninth Avenue-- or from the United Nations building on the East side, all the way to the Private Eyes Gentleman's Club on the West.
“When Midtown moves, New York City moves,” DOT commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said in a statement.
Traffic analyst Charles Komanoff, although agreeing of Midtown's importance to traffic flow, thinks the DOT isn't prioritizing. He thinks the city should tax drivers who drove through Midtown and increase the price of parking, so that less drivers circle the streets looking for a spot.
"Congestion pricing is Babe Ruth and curbside pricing reform is Derek Jeter," Komanoff told AM New York. "This [DOT] tinkering is a guy that never should have gotten out of the minor leagues."
The DOT, in anticipation of NYC's new bike share program, has also announced some new bike lanes for Midtown. If approved, the new lanes would be on 39th and 40th Streets, 43rd and 44th, 48th and 51st, and 54th and 55th. Also, they will drive Andrea Peyser crazy.