New York City has been steadily taking space away from cars since the first pedestrian plazas were carved out of the asphalt streetscape more than a decade ago. Roads that were once the exclusive domain of cars have been squeezed to make way for bike and bus-only lanes. Precious parking spots have been turned into urban green spaces where people can sip lattes. Traffic lights give pedestrians a head start crossing intersections.
Now, city officials are taking their most ambitious stand yet against cars: Beginning on Thursday, passenger cars, including taxis and Ubers, will be all but banned from 14th Street, a major crosstown route for 21,000 vehicles a day that links the East and West sides.
Drivers are allowed onto the street only to make deliveries and pick up and drop off passengers from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. They can travel just a block or two before they have to turn right off the street. No left turns are allowed. The police will give out warnings at first and surveillance cameras will be watching.