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Opinion: Make University Place car-free with a bike boulevard or pedestrian greenway

BY AUSTIN CELESTIN | New York’s favorite pandemic pastime has returned with winter in the rearview mirror. The popular Open Streets initiative has forever transformed how we utilize our streets. Despite some controversy regarding the unequal quality of the program, at its best, it yielded amazing results. However, Open Streets is only a temporary fix. It is not active year-round, prompting activists to call for permanent iterations of the program.

And for a brief moment, it looked like one street might have its day.

Last spring, the New York Department of Transportation considered implementing a permanent bike boulevard along University Place. There was no final, concrete plan to transform the seven blocks between Waverly Place and 14th Street. However, the general idea was to turn University Place into a pedestrian street centered with a two-way bike lane to accommodate the astronomical surge in bike usage. But just as quickly as the plan to reimagine University Place appeared, the city pulled the plug, indefinitely suspending the imagination program. While D.O.T. indicated this was merely a delay to get the specifics hashed out, no developments have come from this plan in the subsequent months. While the city’s interest in this initiative might have ebbed, the need for this plan persists, and it is imperative that D.O.T. revives this plan and commits to reimagining this street.

This is not the first time this proposal has entered the realm of debate. In 2019, Community Board 2 called for a similar proposal in response to the city installing a shared street between 13th and 14th Streets. An op-ed from March 2021 also proposed an extension of that shared street. When D.O.T. started considering this project, community members and activists were already clamoring for something like this. Local demand was never an issue.

You only have to visit University Place once to visualize this demand and see how nonsensical the current setup is. On any given day, foot traffic vastly outnumbers vehicular traffic. Less than a quarter of area residents own a car. That figure does not include the tens of thousands of people comprising the almost-exclusively car-free New York University community. The proportion of car owners to pedestrians surrounding University Place (and the entirety of Greenwich Village) overwhelmingly leans toward pedestrians, but our streets do not reflect that. Students and residents travel in dense streams along narrow sidewalks while the asphalt remains bare and exposed, and the vast majority of cars there are parked.

That should be reason enough to move forward with pedestrianizing University Place, but there are still more justifications for moving forward with this. There are no bike lanes on University Place. Only a year removed from the deadliest year for traffic violence in recent memory, lacking proper infrastructure for alternative modes of transportation is asinine. The foundation for a reimagined boulevard is already there. Deliveristas regularly flock up and down University Place. Alongside those deliversitas are students who use bikes, skateboards or scooters to get to and from classes. Citi Bikes are also very prominent on the block. Recently, a new Citi Bike rack was installed on Washington Square East to complement the one outside the Washington Mews. There is also the large rack at 13th Street and University Place and a handful of others nearby. There is no reason not to reconfigure University Place to accommodate these alternative modes of transportation.

There are still more reasons to go forward with such a proposal. One can invoke the climatological reasons for reducing car usage and couple it with the research showing that removing car lanes reduces congestion. While University Place is a tiny stretch of road, even an incremental step is a step worth taking. Furthermore, based on a Portland, Oregon, study, accommodating alternative modes of transportation does not hurt the revenue of small businesses, as pedestrians and cyclists spend just as much, if not more, at local establishments than car owners do. A pedestrianized street would be a boon for local businesses. This initiative is a no-brainer.

But what about noise? That is an objection brought up as a potential drawback to something like this. A livelier street is likely, since its current use is predominantly idle cars. Noise, however, barely counters the multitude of benefits a plan like this would bring. The objector also specifically referenced N.Y.U. students as a culprit of this noise, implying that they would be the main beneficiaries of this project. College students are boisterous, and, yes, they would benefit from more green space. They are also an integral part of the neighborhood, one of the reasons Greenwich Village is so pleasant in the first place. With an undergraduate student population equal in size to the population of the entire neighborhood, N.Y.U. provides a substantial clientele to local businesses. Implementing a plan that prioritizes students’ well-being would not be the most unreasonable thing in the world since it would have residual economic benefits for the neighborhood. But this initiative was not designed for N.Y.U. students. It is for everyone. Residents, businesses, visitors and students alike will all reap the benefits of a reimagined University Place.

The shared street served as a model for better streets. Open Streets has demonstrated that it deserves a permanent spot in our urban fabric. A permanent, expansive car-free zone here is the next logical step. The application might be small, but it is a step worth taking. A University Place greenway could catalyze more ambitious initiatives throughout the city. University Place connects to Union Square West, which turns into Broadway. Over the past decade, Broadway has seen some popular but piecemeal pedestrianization projects. A greenway here in Greenwich Village could finally galvanize the city into removing cars from Broadway in Midtown or even the entirety of Broadway. We have an opportunity to reimagine our streets for everyone. We must take it.

Celestin is a sophomore at New York University studying urban design and journalism, and a member of Open New York


  1. Concerned Black Native NYer Concerned Black Native NYer June 2, 2022

    Stop voting for people who get money from #StreetsPac and #TransAlt

    They are gentrifiers and gentifier advocates.

    Go ahead…check the names and the Twitter accounts

    These are the types to have a BLM sticker on their laptop or in their apartment window, all while displacing Black and Brown residents in areas all around this city, with the excuse that they have a right to live wherever they want. It is typical fauxgressive garbage that conveniently ignores the fact that these people’s very existence displaces the people they CLAIM to care about.

    If you actually cared about NYC, you’d stay wherever you came from and give Black and Brown people a chance to actually have a stake in their neighborhoods. You’d stop perpetuating the idea that city workers are all lazy tax drains when many of them ARE the Black and Brown people that you’re displacing.

    You want Black and Brown youth to stop committing crimes and care about neighborhoods that have seen DECADES of neglect and harm on behalf of the city and the state? How about more funding for internships and city jobs so these kids have things to do during the daytime and a stake in their own city, since its been proven that when young people have money in their pocket and a chance at a better life, they take that opportunity instead of committing crimes.

    But I guess bike lanes and Citibikes are more important…gimme a break LOL

    Good luck in November dummies…

  2. Susan Goren Susan Goren May 31, 2022

    I lived through the ill-conceived attempt to close Washington Place east of Washington Square. And I continue to live off the square.
    Turning University Place into a bikeway would be just as disastrous.
    Beyond the safety concerns expressed here, may I point out this is just another attempt by NYU to create a “campus” environment In the Village. And bikes zipping up and down University Place from what the university has referred to as the “North Campus” begs the following question:
    If CitiBike stations already congest our streets, what will happen when the riders are in class or at the Square? In all likelihood,. they will be used in the park or chained to the the park fence, both of which are strictly prohibited.
    You’re inviting the kind of problems that the skateboarders have caused for years, which in turn damages our quality of life.
    Please leave well enough alone,

  3. Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz May 30, 2022

    This walking antique lives near University Place and enjoys access to it, especially when using the services of Bleechers laundromat at 11th Street. Pushing my clothes cart along, I’d hate to be overwhelmed by pimply faced NYU sophomores (just kidding, sort of) astride two-wheelers racing down an all-bike street and using words like “pedestrianization” that constitute a lethal blow to the English language.

  4. N Pasley N Pasley May 25, 2022

    No no no!!! A thousand times no!
    At meeting after meeting, hearing after hearing, those directly affected by this wrongheaded proposal to close off University Place have vociferously opposed it, and for good, concrete reasons. Those in favor for the most part do not live, work or own property there.
    The street is lined with large apartment buildings. Many of the residents are elderly and need special transportation that can come directly to their door. Many others rely on taxis, Ubers and other similar vehicles for transportation. At street level there are small retail shops and grocery stores, most of which have only the University Place entrance and need the street for daily deliveries. Not to mention emergency vehicle access. None of this can be served by bicycles or foot traffic.
    The Department of Transportation seems desperately eager to stifle any means of transportation other than busses and bicycles, not recognizing that other forms are needed also. It’s already difficult enough to get to Union Square’s shops, restaurants and Greenmarket, now that once-bustling 14th Street is a vast wasteland.
    It’s time to kill this misbegotten proposal and drive a stake through its ugly heart.

  5. Austin Celestin Austin Celestin May 25, 2022

    I figured people were going to bring up some points I couldn’t address, misunderstand and/or misconstrue some things I said, so I thought I’d clear up a few points

    1. Someone brought up delivery issues — I think one key thing about this is that you can’t cut off the crosstown streets, so traffic flow there under such a proposal would remain the same. However, the turn lanes become unnecessary (if you’re not a bike). Those spaces could be turned into loading zones to allow for deliveries in the adjacent areas — something most streets throughout the city lack. If need be, the area of crosstown streets crossing University Place directly that don’t cross with the bike lanes could also double as a loading zone, too, as the street would be more than wide enough. While I don’t think that would be necessary, that could be an option to explore.

    2. Another person mentioned emergency access — obviously there has to be an exception, and the bike lanes would come in handy here. A two-way bike lane can double as an emergency access lane should that be necessary, granting EMS, FDNY and NYPD access to emergencies on the midblock if necessary. If wide enough and depending upon the utilization of these streets, shoulders could also be used as a passage for emergency vehicles, and if need be, for the sake of the FDNY, the bike lanes could be placed next to fire hydrants for easy access. (They don’t have to worry about cars blocking those hydrants if they aren’t there in the first place — they don’t have to compete with them at all, and bikes are much easier to move out of the way for emergency vehicles).

    3. Speeding bikes — don’t get me wrong, I’ve had several close calls with e-bikers myself. In my experience, my closest calls have come in areas without a bike lane, meaning they are competing with other vehicular traffic and sometimes pedestrians. University Place lacks a bike lane, and that is precisely the problem. Giving bikes the proper infrastructure and hardened lanes makes it safer for both them and the pedestrians around them. Anyone who has used the Brooklyn Bridge in recent months can attest to the fact that since the installation of the new lane, it’s much safer to cross for everyone, compared to the Queensboro Bridge with a hybrid bike-pedestrian lane. With a bike lane, other measures — like cobblestone, winding pedestrian paths, expanded and raised sidewalks (or shoulders) or green fixtures — could also serve as methods of increasing safety and separation for pedestrians and containing bikes in wide, protected travel lanes.

    Lastly, I would like to make it clear that I am from New York. I was born and raised here, and I hope to work and raise a family of my own here as well. It is unlikely that I will be able to live in Greenwich Village long term, but the most likely reason for that would be because I am unable to afford to live in the neighborhood. The same applies to many other NYU students. They might not be “OF” the neighborhood, but I’m sure that, if given the opportunity, many of them would want to be.

    I appreciate those of you who provided worthwhile critiques, and thank you for reading this piece. This isn’t hard news: One of the purposes of op-eds is to trigger discussion. I think I can say I’ve done that. If you have any further thoughts feel free to reach out on Twitter.

    – Austin

    • Ain’t Rand Ain’t Rand May 26, 2022

      Mr. Celestin:
      You admit you are not “OF” the neighborhood and will likely not ever be. OK.

      Then why are you advocating deleterious permanent changes to a community that obviously the vast majority of the locals as well as the community board are opposed to? I am referring to your proposal for University Place and your ardent support for the destructive SoHo/NoHo/Chinatown rezoning.

      Would you be so gracious as to let us know in what neighborhood you reside, and more to the point, please tell us what you have done to introduce Open Streets or an upzoning there — in your backyard?

      Or, are you not really a YIMBY but far more hypocritically, a YIYBY = Yes, In YOUR Backyard. In other words, do as I say and not do as I do.

      Don’t you think a true believer would first start where he actually lives and not imperialistically invade some other folks’ community with proposals they strongly oppose?

      Yes, please tell us what you have done to upzone or Open Street your own neighborhood.

      The same challenge applies to the other OpenNY/REBNY trolls posting here: What steps have you done to implement your neoliberal policies in the community in which you actually live?

      • Spencer Heckwolf Spencer Heckwolf May 26, 2022

        This was the exact same argument segregationist made. “You can integrate your schools in those liberal sissy states, in Arkansas it’s segregation now, segregation forever!” Ain’t Rand ain’t for integration.

        • Aint’t Rand Aint’t Rand May 26, 2022

          Let the Black man answer for himself, Spencie. He is a lot more intelligent and articulate than you are.

      • LES3025 LES3025 May 26, 2022

        This comment is so funny. “Yes In Your Backyard.” “Tell us what you have done to upzone or Open Street your own neighborhood.” It’s like you think we secretly know that bike lanes and upzonings are bad and we’re trying to destroy other neighborhoods out of, like, gratuitous misanthropy. “Oh, Greenwich Village, that’s a nice neighborhood. Let’s ruin it with seven blocks of protected bike lanes! Muahahaha!” Also, if we really thought Open Streets and bike lanes were bad for the neighborhood, wouldn’t we oppose them to maximize the property value for our REBNY overlords? Your thought process is just so incoherent.

        Obviously we think these things are good and Austin has given plenty of reasons why in his op-ed and his comment, none of which you are engaging with. He does live in this community and is trying to be active in it and advocate for making it better.

        I can’t speak for everyone, but I think most of us do the same. I have written to DOT and the City Council in support of Open Streets in the LES. I tweet a bunch at DOT (for all that’s worth) about their failure to implement the Clinton Street bike lane near me (e.g. Open Streets and upzonings in my neighborhood? Don’t threaten me with a good time.

    • fuelgrannie fuelgrannie May 26, 2022

      But why won’t you also address your long affiliation with landlord developer Ben Carlos Thypin’s vanity project, the real estate development lobbying group Open New York?

      Or your impending internship with REBNY?

      You had even bragged that your “fashion sense” will change at REBNY, implying an improved income stream: (looks like you’re on course to be able to afford “to live in Greenwich Village long term” after all).

      You can’t escape the optics of who and what you are aligned with, as well as what you have previously publicly admitted to: You have insisted you’re not a shill for big real estate interests but your actions and alignments reveal something completely different.

      Why can’t you explain that, too?

      It’s telling that you don’t.

      • Spencer Heckwolf Spencer Heckwolf May 26, 2022

        Connie, there are YIMBY chapters all over the world. I suppose they are all part of a well organized cabal with the express purpose of annoying you.

  6. Peter Nigrini Peter Nigrini May 25, 2022

    This is an excellent proposal. University could be an incredible benefit to the neighborhood if repurposed as proposed. I am surprised by the “student vs. residents” “young vs. old” comments, and particularly the notion that it is the students who would be most served by this proposal. Having recently been in Paris were many streets have been transformed in a similar manner, what I saw was in fact of greater benefit to the elderly, disabled, and very young. It was a street built for humans with their comfort and safety in mind. We deserve better than the current use of University Place as the author suggests.

  7. Choresh Wald Choresh Wald May 25, 2022

    University Place already has one block of Open Street / Bike Boulevard between 14th St and 13th St. It works great: there’s access for delivery, utility and emergency vehicles, car traffic is slowed down, lots of space for pedestrians, safe street to ride a bicycle on. Just extend the same design all the way to Washington Sq Park. So easy.

  8. Zach Katz Zach Katz May 25, 2022

    Thank you for writing this. Completely agree, this would be amazing!

  9. ’Ain’t Rand. ’Ain’t Rand. May 24, 2022

    Don’t you love how some pimply-faced sophomore from the suburbs or some fly-over state comes into our established community with his opinion on our city streets, is here two more years, graduates, and then is never seen again?

    Meanwhile, we, who make our community inviting to these guys in the first place, are stuck with his cockamamie suggestion for the rest of our lives.

    If this NYU student is so concerned about our community, why doesn’t he come over to Washington Square Park some morning and help the Parks Enforcement Patrol officers clean up the mess left by his cohorts from the night before?

    Is it any wonder so many of these NYU student are disdained, the Village turned into a s—show because of their antics, and apartments unaffordable because Daddy will be paying their rent for some walk-up in the East Village?

    Meanwhile, guys like this writer shill for the real-estate developers who are pouring tons of money into Open New York to destroy our zoning and landmarking laws, so they can profiteer.

    The shills eventually will get married, return to the ‘burbs, and leave our quaint neighborhoods disfigured with ugly buildings.

    Sophomores like him give a whole new meaning to “sophomoric.”

    • Harry Heymann Harry Heymann May 24, 2022

      I am 43 years old. I live in an apartment on 12th and University with my wife and two young children. I STRONGLY agree with Austin that converting University Place to a bike-centered greenway would be hugely beneficial for the neighborhood for all the reasons he clearly states.

      We only have to look at what cities like Paris and Amsterdam are doing in this area to see how these initiatives can be transformative to cities.

      Cars are loud, dirty, dangerous & alienating. The fewer we have in our cities the better.

      If you’d like to address Austin’s arguments, I wish you would treat him with respect and confront the details of his essay rather than resorting to insults like “pimply-faced sophomore.” That’s just rude.

      You might also consider signing your name.

      -Harry Heymann

      • J J May 25, 2022

        I agree – comments need to be polite.

        Regarding Amsterdam, it is not comparable to NYC.

        Amsterdam is a small city, with low-rise buildings — only a handful higher than 10 floors and these are on the perimeter.

        Actually it’s not easy being a pedestrian in Amsterdam — it’s necessary to always look for bicyclists and some streets are impossible to cross due to continued volume of bicyclists.
        Pre-Covid, Amsterdam residents were not big e-commerce users. Things have changed and Amsterdam is now looking to discourage some e-commerce, like instant gratification food delivery.

        Amsterdam also seeking to limit Airbnb and others which result in tourist overload and gentrification.

        • LES3025 LES3025 May 25, 2022

          Paris has a higher population density than NYC and they managed to do it just fine. Just because New York has taller buildings doesn’t mean we can’t do it also. New York isn’t some unicorn, we just need to get past people who don’t think we deserve a more livable city.

      • Ain’t Rand Ain’t Rand May 25, 2022

        You’re rather selective in your admonition of proper etiquette, aren’t you?

        You have a problem with my ageist use of “pimply-faced sophomore” but let slide the ageist comments from the Open Street/Open NY trolls, comments like “NYU students are the only reason that the area is lively. Without them, it would be a retirement community for old New Yorkers instead of an interesting place to go.”

        Harry, at 43, they think you belong in a retirement community. Do you feel the same way?

        And although the op-ed writer may be from NYC, as another commenter noted, he has only been a mere student in our community for less than two years and in two more years will graduate and move on, leaving us who actually live here to suffer with these silly notions of urban planning he learned at NYU.

        Moreover, it’s not only the Village that the op-ed writer wants to ruin. He also recently penned another op-ed strongly supporting de Blasio’s destructive upzoning of SoHo/NoHo/Chinatown, a boondoggle that will disfigure these iconic neighborhoods.

        The SoHo/NoHo/Chinatown boondoggle is supported by his bosses at REBNY, the Real Estate Board of NY.

        Yes, the op-writer is interning for REBNY this summer. That should surprise no one. The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree.

    • jesse jesse May 24, 2022

      Austin is from NYC.

    • From Mercer Street From Mercer Street May 25, 2022

      The only ugliness in the neighborhood is your selfish, patronizing, and I daresay nativist attitude. I’m ashamed to share the neighborhood with people that think like you.

  10. Seth A. Seth A. May 24, 2022

    But the writer is not advocating for open streets. He’s advocating for a permanent “bike boulevard” with “green space” ( translation: sidewalk cafes that will extend all the way into the street — appropriate in Rome or Paris but not in a place with dense, 20-story apartment buildings). And if it was “open streets,” a program that has been pretty pointless when it has been implemented on University Place, why should an ambulance driver (or Access-a-Ride) have to move barricades to get through?

    • LES3025 LES3025 May 24, 2022

      Open Streets is more an approach to street use than a reference to a specific program. The current Open Streets program has three different versions anyway and I think everyone understands “Open Streets” to refer to a broad concept of reorienting street use away from cars and toward pedestrians and alternate forms of transit.

      If you looked at the original visioning for the bike boulevard ( you can see that it doesn’t call for completely eliminating vehicle traffic.

  11. LES3025 LES3025 May 24, 2022

    This is great! On the noise point, I think people also underestimate the amount of noise generated by cars and the effect this has on people. A study this year found that transit noise was a significant contributing factor to heart attacks ( Cars, of course, are the biggest source of noise pollution in the city. Even replacing them with boisterous students is a big net benefit to everyone’s health.

    • Seth A. Seth A. May 24, 2022

      Why do you think cars cause the most noise (other than those with megawatt music systems)? It’s the incessant construction by the insatiable real estate industry and the months-long din of air conditioners every summer that cause the most noise. Oh yeah, and motorcycles and illegal minibikes.

    • CFR CFR May 24, 2022

      I am happy to have NYU students in the neighborhood. They add to the vibrancy of Greenwich Village. And after reading the postings above, I’ve read nothing that indicates that the residents are anti-student. By the way, the noise from electric cars is nonexistent and that is the direction in which this country is moving. And the noise that I hear mostly is pretty much exclusively from construction. Oh and yes, I must agree that loud motorcycles and dirt bikes and motor scooters and cars sans mufflers should be prohibited from city streets to push decibel levels down. And tickets should be issued for trucks that blast their crazy loud horns the nanosecond the light goes green.

  12. CFR CFR May 24, 2022

    We need passable streets for the health and safety of the residents AND visitors to this neighborhood. Police and ambulances MUST have access. Many people live on or very near to University Place and it should never be closed to vehicles. And by the way, has the writer of this article taken a moment to observe the reckless and dangerous behavior of many riding motorized bikes and scooters? Or does he not care? I have lived in this neighborhood for 30 years and the only times I’ve almost been hit have been by two-wheeled vehicles! While I have occasionally seen a car break a law, scooters and bikes do it CONSTANTLY. I hope this plan never gets legs.

    • S L S L May 24, 2022

      No one is proposing that police and ambulances shouldn’t have access. Open streets are restricted but allow local access for residents / visitors and any emergency vehicle.

  13. Jackie Jackie May 24, 2022

    The continued pedestrianizing, narrowing, greening and calming of our streets has an unintended consequence. Emergency vehicles, fire, ambulance, repair, sanitation and police vehicles have been greatly impeded in their response time. Critical is that of Fire/EMT/Police where minutes matter and can truly be life and death. There has been a continued war on vehicular traffic and personal vehicles in NYC without recognition that folks don’t only work at home or in NYC offices and do need cars. Transportation for seniors is woefully inadequate and many of them do have cars. Rather than close down streets to make them pedestrian concourses, focus on some insightful methods to improve traffic and pedestrian use. Many cities, such as Paris, Barcelona, Prague and even, say, Brooklyn with its Eastern and Ocean Parkways were designed with pedestrian boulevards in mind. To close a street to “make it green and friendly” is not a vision, especially in a busy city that never considered the volume of population growth. Start with improving the functionality of streets, enforce use of bike lanes and keep them clear of cars and obstructions, don’t penalize private car owners and street parking, and, yes, cut down on the density of new/large building in NYC that creates canyons of shadows that block out the sky (NYU is guilty of this), especially in Greenwich Village, one of the last bastions of old and historical NYC. The fact that University Place is described as a “low-volume” traffic area that is mainly used by local residents and businesses is a clear indication that there is no “traffic” problem there. Moreover, to turn University Place into a pedestrian “Bourbon Street” to quench the thirst of NYU bar-hoppers is at odds with residents’ idea of a refined historical neighborhood. There, I said it, it’s called “campus creep.” The “boiling of the frog” practices of NYU are obvious. And I say that as an alumnus who is embarrassed by what NYU has become.

    • S L S L May 24, 2022

      Streets with traffic cannot support ambulances because they get stuck. Open streets can easily move barriers and have people move out of the way and get people to hospitals faster. You can easily see this on any street in NYC with car restrictions (like 14th Street or Vanderbilt in Brooklyn) where emergency vehicles can zoom by instead of being stuck honking in traffic while those valuable minutes are lost

  14. GG GG May 24, 2022

    Turn University Place into a TWO-WAY STREET for bike riders? I think not. It is already a hazard for pedestrians to cross the street due to bike riders not observing the traffic lights. Bike riders ALREADY go both ways on University Place. There is no protection for the pedestrians, and crossing the street is now very dangerous due to the proliferation of bikers, scooters, e-bikes and others who are reckless on the streets, do not stop at the lights, and insist on using the road as a two-way street. The writer is not thinking of protection for pedestrians — which has evaporated — but instead, is thinking it should be a free-for-all bike riders. This is a terrible idea, and the city should never approve it. What it should approve is a licensing system for bike riders, so they can receive tickets, just like any other vehicle, when going through red lights and riding the wrong way. This is what is badly needed if the proliferation of two-wheeled travel (and less) continues at this pace. It is a hazard to the pedestrian. Why not let N.Y.U. students have a corral, like the dog runs, and they can ride their bikes and scooters there instead of on the streets of N.Y.C.?

    • jesse jesse May 24, 2022

      Between 2006 and 2020, there were a total of 10 pedestrians killed by bicyclists in collisions. In the same period, there were 2,116 pedestrians killed by motor vehicle drivers. That means that pedestrian fatalities from vehicle drivers represented 99.5% of all pedestrian fatalities. You are wildly overstating the danger to pedestrians caused by bicyclists while ignoring the fact that cars are an enormous threat to pedestrian safety.

  15. Walter Goodman Walter Goodman May 24, 2022

    As a sophomore student, are you old enough yet to be eligible to run for mayor? You got my vote.

  16. Seth A. Seth A. May 24, 2022

    If you take the time to look around, most of the residents of the Village are much older than N.Y.U. students, and can’t safely ride bikes on city streets even if they wanted to. To suggest completely eliminating cars on University Place is very selfish. What about deliveries to the restaurants and other businesses? What about ambulances? What about those of us who worked long careers to be able to own a car to use only once or twice a month to escape the city to places not served by public transportation? What about the (imminent) time of year when N.Y.U. students leave the neighborhood deserted for 3 months, letting the local businesses suffer? N.Y.U. does contribute to the community, but it has arrogantly expanded its footprint, built a monstrosity where there used to be a low-rise gym and a park, eliminated former street-level restaurants and replaced them with private N.Y.U. spaces, etc. Enough! A better idea would be to lobby N.Y.U. to do something about the increasingly feral situation in Washington Square Park.

    • S L S L May 24, 2022

      What about deliveries to the restaurants and other businesses?
      > Deliveries are supported by Open Streets which limits on-street access but allows it to residents and deliveries.

      What about ambulances?
      > Streets with traffic cannot support ambulances because they get stuck. Open streets can easily move barriers and have people move out of the way and get people to hospitals faster.

      What about those of us who worked long careers to be able to own a car to use only once or twice a month to escape the city to places not served by public transportation?
      > Your car is supported by Open Streets, which allows on-street access to residents and deliveries.

      What about the (imminent) time of year when N.Y.U. students leave the neighborhood deserted for 3 months, letting the local businesses suffer?
      > Students leaving the area during the summer is offset by people coming to New York for internships over the summer.

      • fuelgrannie fuelgrannie May 25, 2022

        Hey Samir,

        Does it bother you that Open New York founder Ben Carlos Thypin is a landlord and homeowner a hundred times over?

        Weird and obvious flex that it’s just anonymous Open New York members in the comments supporting this inane proposal.

        We see you👋

  17. lisa lisa May 24, 2022

    Austin –
    I don’t know how to drive and am a mass transit user.

    Personally, I do not favor Open Streets/closure of University for a number of reasons. One reason is that it is a hardship for some elderly, people with health or limited mobility who need access to vehicles, Access a Ride etc.

    Another issue is equity — Covid has accelerated the massive inequality in NYC. Open Streets is great for affluent people who can work remotely, get their e-commerce stuff, dine out at restaurants etc. — but not great for hard-working folks who deliver the e-commerce, drive a truck, etc.

    N.Y.U. has already remade the neighborhood to favor the school and students; I am not enthusiastic about yet one more land-use amenity perk for N.Y.U.

    Other reasons, as well, but no time to enumerate.

  18. Janis Donnaud Janis Donnaud May 24, 2022

    N.Y.U. students are “one of the reasons Greenwich Village is so pleasant in the first place” — seriously? The obtuseness of the arguments presented here is breathtaking.

    • S L S L May 24, 2022

      NYU students are the only reason that the area is lively and has an interesting variety of restaurants and life. Without them, it would be a retirement community for old New Yorkers instead of an interesting place to go.

    • kramer karen kramer karen May 24, 2022

      I had the exact same thought. They are not OF the neighborhood and they do nothing to support it. Most of the students know nothing of the history and culture of the place. They do their time here and then move on. The writer of this op-ed does not know the Village.

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