Advocates of a radical new plan want to close 42nd Street to car traffic and create a light rail system to run across the island of Manhattan, from the Hudson River on the west to the East River on the east. Such redevelopment would boost the local economy and improve transportation, according to Vision 42, a citizens’ group formed in 1999 by the Institute for Rational Urban Mobility. It would also offer a less polluting travel option than the exhaust-belching buses that currently take New Yorkers across town at a snail’s pace, The New York Times reported.
At a cost of $500 million, the light rail would stop at every avenue and run from one side of the city to the other in about 20 minutes, about half the time it currently takes to ride a bus across town.
So far, property owners along 42nd Street support the proposal — but the city isn’t so sure. But even though city officials aren’t rushing to embrace Vision 42’s idea, they have launched “Green Light for Midtown,” a project to alleviate congestion in Times Square, where traffic moves an average of 4.2 miles per hour. The city has created several pedestrian malls in midtown, and over Memorial Day weekend officials closed several blocks around Times Square to cars.
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