Still, there are some more things that could make things a lot better for pedestrians. Some of them seem pretty simple to me, others a lot more complicated. I'm guessing that she's considered most of them, and that there's some political reason why Bloomberg can't support her on them. Still, these are things I hope I will see in the next four years or so.
- Remove the barricades: During the 1997 Christmas shopping season, NYPD Chief Allan Hoehl decided to try preventing pedestrians from crossing at certain corners in Midtown Manhattan. A few months later, Acting Transportation Commissioner Richard Malchow made these barricades permanent. They force pedestrians to go several yards out of their way to cross the street - a small inconvenience, but a huge symbolic slap in the face to pedestrians from Giuliani's arrogant bureaucracy. Since Sadik-Khan took over the DOT, I've been expecting her to get rid of them, but they're still there.
- Make sidewalk extensions standard: They're documented to make streets safer for pedestrians. They should probably be on every corner. In 2002, Bloomberg and Commissioner Weinshall missed a golden opportunity: they spent $218 million to install curb cuts at corners throughout the city, bowing to years of sustained pressure from disability rights advocates. They could have installed extensions at many of those corners, but of course they didn't. Sadik-Khan could make up for that by setting a policy that in the future any corners that are rebuilt will be rebuilt with extensions by default. Those extensions could be omitted if circumstances argue against them, not the other way around.
- Summer Streets across the Manhattan Bridge: Summer Streets has proven to be wildly popular for two years running, and it's time to extend it. A large number of livable streets advocates live in Brooklyn and already travel to Manhattan for the event. We could make it easier for them to attend, and bring some tourist dollars and recreation to Brooklyn, by extending Summer Streets east on Canal Street, across the upper deck of the Manhattan Bridge and down Flatbush Avenue to Prospect Park. Sadik-Khan may need some help from the NYPD on this: I've heard that the policing costs are very expensive, but that the police staffing levels are very much overkill, and many of those cops could be replaced by event staff with no decrease in safety.
- Widen Penn Station sidewalks: Sadik-Khan has done great things for pedestrians in Herald and Times Squares, but it's well-documented that there's a heavy crush of pedestrians around Penn Station during weekday rush hours. That's where pedestrian improvements are needed the most. Why not take a lane or two out of Seventh and Eighth Avenues and make them available for pedestrians?
- Loading zones on every block: I've made the case that the lack of dedicated loading zones makes the city much more dangerous. The city's culture of double-parking, where "everyone does" something that's illegal and dangerous, poisons the relationship between motorists and traffic enforcement agents. Rampant double-parking encourages negligent idling practices. It also pits motorists defending their "right" to double-park against pedestrians who want narrower streets to discourage speeding, and cyclists who want protected bike lanes. The DOT is constantly reconfiguring parking on blocks around the city. What if every time they did that they set aside a space or two that was only available for loading and unloading, maximum occupancy fifteen minutes?