New York City Department of Transportation
New York, New York
Janette Sadik-Khan, 49, cut through the congested knots of Manhattan traffic with a novel concept: Close some roads to cars. Green Light for Midtown, a project launched last May, has turned lanes of Broadway in Times Square and Herald Square into pedestrian zones — and sped up traffic.
"Half a million people go through Times Square each day. It's 90% pedestrians and 10% vehicles, yet 90% of the space has been allocated to vehicles. In an urban environment as complex as New York's, with more than 6,000 miles of streets, in-demand public space, and another million people expected to come here in the next 20 years, we can't accommodate everyone by just triple-decking our roads. We're changing our streetscape's DNA with more trees, benches, and good design, and with bus and bike lanes and pedestrian areas, so that it's about more than just moving cars from point A to point B.
These changes improve the flow of the city, better people's health, and it's also great for the environment. We're not going to be able to maintain the quality of life and the economic attractiveness of world-class cities by continuing to jam more and more traffic and congestion through them."
A version of this article appeared in the September 2009 issue of Fast Company magazine.