By Gabriela Resto-Montero and Jill Colvin
MIDTOWN — The city has officially abandoned controversial plans to build a permanent pedestrian plaza on 34th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues Wednesday.
Department of Transportation officials scrapped plans for the plaza after residents voiced opposition at more than 50 public meetings on the subject held over the last three years.
"DOT continues to prepare a design for 34th Street that addresses community concerns as well as transit, congestion, pedestrian and safety needs," DOT Spokesman Seth Solomonow said in a statement.
In June, DOT officials had said that they were moving away from the plaza in favor of a new plan, in which 34th Street would would allow only eastbound car traffic, with dedicated bus lanes traveling in both directions.
Another alternative being considered would split 34th Street at Fifth Avenue and have traffic run one-way in each direction, from the center, but without the pedestrian plaza.
The change is part of a larger plan to bring rapid bus service to the stretch, and will create fully protected bus lanes all the way along 34th Street from FDR Drive to 12th Avenue. Plans for off-board payment are set to begin this summer.
The DOT is set to present a revised proposal of the project to a community advisory committee on March 14.