Report finds reduction in air pollution as the city creates more pedestrian plazas.
The quality of air in Times Square is cleaner and healthier since a pedestrian plaza was opened in 2009, according to a recent study by the New York City Department of Health. The plaza is one of many around the city including Union Square, Columbus Circle, and Herald Square, and is part of Mayor Bloomberg’s initiative to make New York City “greener” by 2030.
The report cites “immediate and substantial” air quality improvements in Times Square after comparing the air quality in the crossroads of the world with other parts of the city. Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said “providing cleaner air is second only to lowering smoking rates in terms of the number of lives we can save here in New York City. There’s a difference there, because people can choose to smoke or not, but they can’t choose to breath.”
Former President Bill Clinton—whose foundation works to combat climate change—says the Mayor’s actions are commendable, and an indication of what’s to come. “I think you’re going to see a much more rapid dissemination of the best ideas, a much more rapid drop in green house gas emissions, an increase in jobs in big cities in the United States, and around the world,” Clinton said.
The mayor and the former president both discussed how local governments around the world need to invest more time and money in sustainable projects. Mayor Bloomberg said the health department's findings bring New York City closer to its goal of having the best air quality of any city in the world by 2030.