By Heather Grossmann
MANHATTAN — The experimental Times Square pedestrian mall is now permanent, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Thursday.
Broadway has been closed to vehicles in both Times Square and Herald Square since May of 2009 as the city collected date on the controversial project, dubbed "Green Light for Midtown," which aimed to reduce traffic congestion in the area.
Bloomberg, who spoke at a press conference in Times Square Thursday morning, admitted that the results were “not what we had anticipated, but it still was good.”
The data was measured using GPS tracking on taxis, which showed a 17 percent increase in northbound travel speeds, but a 2 percent decrease in southbound speeds.
"We saw an improvement overall of 7 percent," the mayor said of the increased speed of traffic in the area.
"Some people benefit, some people lose — that's always going to be the case," the mayor said.
The data produced reportedly did not meet the original goals of the project, but the improvement — coupled with other factors like increased pedestrian safety in Times Square — was enough to convince the city to make the street closure permanent.
Bloomberg said the city would make short-term improvements to the area including new paint and pavement treatments, and would start work on an "innovative and sustainable design" in the long-term for the pedestrian mall.