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Park Avenue area reimagined for pedestrians, cyclists

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Mayor Mike Bloomberg wants the area around Grand Central Terminal rezoned for taller skyscrapers to maintain Manhattan as the place for corporate headquarters. But critics argue there would be too many people in those new taller buildings in an already overcrowded neighborhood with few public spaces. To remedy that, the mayor is pushing to convert two of the six lanes of Park Avenue into a bicycle and pedestrian mall.

Rose Urban Solutions' Daniel Hernandez, the project director, said he got ideas from the community.

From 46th Street to 57th Street one lane in each direction next to the median would be closed to traffic.

Also, a larger plaza at Pershing Square from 42nd Street to 41st Street would be created. Vanderbilt Street by Grand Central would be closed to traffic from 42nd Street to 41st Street and then again from 41st Street to 39th Street.

On the elevated roadway on the west side of the terminal, one lane of traffic would become like the High Line in Chelsea -- a third floor balcony for pedestrians.

Comptroller John Liu issued a statement after we requested one: "Mayor Bloomberg's administration seems to be scrambling at the 11th hour to push this and other projects through. We ought to be a little more patient and allow for more community input, and perhaps the involvement of the next administration."

The mayor's office had no additional comment.

The Department of Transportation has to conduct a traffic flow study before work can begin -- normally a six- to eight-month process. But sources say Bloomberg wants work on this project started before he leaves office in January.

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