Janette Sadik-Khan Profiled in Esquire
In March of 2010, New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan visited Los Angeles and helped inspire CicLAvia. She’s one of the early champions of car-free ciclovía events in the United States – called “Summer Streets” in New York City. Commissioner Sadik-Khan stated that “[Summer Streets] was really inspiring and I think it’s the kind of a program that could work really well in L.A.” There’s a new profile of Sadik-Khan in the latest Esquire. Below is an excerpt, read the full article online.
“People just right away use new spaces, they don’t question them,” she says, smiling. “There is such a hunger for open spaces in New York. We want to sate it as much as possible.”
A woman seated at one of the tables does not make eye contact but says to Sadik-Khan, “Who’s going to maintain this area?”
Sadik-Khan turns, ever smiling, to address the willful dissenter. “The local businesses do, and the city of New York does.”
“You don’t know that,” says the woman.
“Uh, yes I do. It’s already happening in Madison Square, and in Herald Square, and in Times Square.” These are the other places where she has created pedestrian plazas; specifically in the latter she has entirely closed down Broadway to vehicles between Forty-seventh and Forty-second Streets. No cars on a long and wild strip of Broadway!
“Local businesses are going to lose money if cars have nowhere left to park.”
Sadik-Khan nearly laughs in the woman’s face. “Quite the opposite! Revenues from businesses in Times Square have risen 71 percent! That’s the biggest increase in history!”
Stat! The commissioner dispatches data streams as though from a machine gun, pelting dissenters with a language that is part English and part numerical: Injuries to motorists and passengers in the project areas are down 63 percent. Pedestrian injuries are down 35 percent. Eighty percent fewer pedestrians are walking in the roadway in Times Square.
Read the rest of the article at Esquire.