As press reports detail NYC DOT’s plan to create a public esplanade along Broadway from 42nd to Herald Square, the 34th Street Partnership released the results of its annual spring pedestrian counts, which were taken May 13-14 (a Tuesday and Wednesday). Tens of thousands of people each hour cross the area’s busy intersections, making it clear how critical foot traffic is to the area.
The Partnership’s district stretches from 10th Avenue to Park Avenue and is bounded by 30th and 36th Streets, but its busiest three locations were all around Penn Station. They were the northwest corner of 34th and 7th, which 14,340 pedestrians passed through during its peak hour; the northwest corner of 34th and Broadway with 16,776 pedestrians; and the Penn Station entrance at 32nd and 7th, whose busiest hour saw 69,240 people enter and leave the station.
Tri-State launched its Penn For Peds campaign not only because of existing congestion and safety issues, but also because planned public and private developments will further increase foot traffic in the area. Not least of these is the ARC Tunnel project that will double NJ Transit capacity to Midtown Manhattan and expand Penn Station below 34th Street. According to project environmental documents, both the 34th St./7th Ave. and 34th St./Broadway intersections will be hit by unacceptable pedestrian crowding.
In addition to the 34th Street Partnership’s pedestrian count, the MTA’s 2007 subway and bus ridership report found that three of the six most-used subway stations in the city (in terms of ridership) are in the area: the Herald Square station and both the 7th Ave and 8th Ave Penn Station stops.