We propose banning private cars from Manhattan Island. Permitted motor vehicles would be buses, small taxis, vehicles for essential services (doctor, police, sanitation, vans, etc.), and the trucking used in light industry.
Present congestion and parking are unworkable, and other proposed solutions are uneconomic, disruptive, unhealthy, nonurban, or impractical.
It is hardly necessary to prove that the actual situation is intolerable. “Motor trucks average less than six miles per hour in traffic, as against eleven miles per hour for horse drawn vehicles in 1911.” “During the ban on nonessential vehicles during the heavy snowstorm of February 1961, air pollution dropped 66 per cent.” (New York Times, March 13, 1961.) The street widths of Manhattan were designed, in 1811, for buildings of one to four stories.
By banning private cars and reducing traffic, we can, in most areas, close off nearly nine out of ten cross-town streets and every second north-south avenue. These closed roads plus the space now used for off-street parking will give us a handsome fund of land for neighborhood relocation. At present over 35 percent of the area of Manhattan is occupied by roads. Instead of the present grid, we can aim at various kinds of enclosed neighborhoods, in approximately 1200-foot to 1600-foot superblocks. It would be convenient, however, to leave the existing street pattern in the main midtown shopping and business areas, in the financial district, and wherever the access for trucks and service cars is imperative. Our aim is to enhance the quality of our city life with the minimum of disruption of the existing pattern.
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