Good news from Manhattan, where sections of busy Broadway have been experimentally car-free for nearly a year. According to this article in Business Week, the ban has been so successful that New York's Mayor Bloomberg is making it permanent. Pedestrian injuries are down by 35%. Taxi journey times are improved by 7%. The car-free zones are to become public plazas where outdoor events will be held.
Let us hope that, on his next visit to London, Mayor Bloomberg will have words with his pal Boris Johnson about this success. Quite aside from the ongoing kerfuffle over what to do about the nightmare that is Oxford Street, our own theatreland could also do with some radical thinking of this kind. Christian Wolmar has recently blogged about being stopped by an idiotic jobsworth of a policeman for walking in the road in Soho where the pavement is too narrow and there were no cars coming. Mentalities are going to have to change.