Interesting article in NOW about the need for politicians who don't mind being bashed in the media for creating car-free zones:
Stuck in drive
The flurry of pedestrian zones weaning drivers off Broadway appeared within the past two years, following the appointment of department of transportation (DOT) commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.
Besides crediting her specifically, Norvell says speed is key. “We have a department of transportation that’s in a hurry. They don’t want to wait five years; they’ve been creating acres of pedestrian space using nothing more than paint, gravel and planters.
“What’s made it happen here in New York is that [the DOT and politicians] have been willing to be bashed on the editorial pages. They’ve taken a beating, but they have confidence in their work. Not everyone is willing to lose points for a pedestrian plaza or bike lane.
“There’s so much pent-up demand, the second the cones were put up, [the space] was instantly filled with people – it didn’t take two hours. And I think the same applies to Toronto,” says Norvell, who actually moved from T.O. to NYC in 2005.