Project to cover five-block stretch of theater district

New York City is making the Broadway plazas permanent.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan have given an official thumbs-up to the ‘Green Light for Midtown’ project, the pilot version of which last year closed portions of Broadway to car traffic, including a five-block stretch in the theater district.

The project had initially prompted concerns that the pedestrian-friendly street closings, undertaken to improve traffic patterns, might disrupt theater industry traffic including tour buses and trucks carrying sets to be loaded in or out of theaters.

Those hassles have not seemed to materialize. And while the improvement in overall traffic didn’t hit previously announced targets, the city’s new report indicates that travel times were for the most part improved for vehicles in midtown traveling in all directions.

Injuries in the area also were down.

Now that a decision on the initiative’s permanence has been made, the city said it will begin unspecified renovations to the plaza areas, which will eventually see a number of design and infrastructure changes, including new paving and permanent seating.

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