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  #41  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2015, 2:59 AM
kingsdl76 kingsdl76 is offline
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How does Times Square compare to Shibuya now?

Its amazing that Times Square is approaching daily crowds of almost half million people -- unbelievable.

I don't think there's anything else in North America that comes quite close, however, I wonder how these numbers compare to the Shibuya crossing in Tokyo. That crossing is supposedly the busiest in the world -- I wonder how Times Square compares.
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  #42  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2015, 5:08 AM
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The article quotes CBRE and office tenants. I think the point is a little more about the irony of having "too much" in a place for office tenants/non-tourist oriented businesses to thrive.

The article wasn't necessarily saying that Times Square/NYC have too many tourists and something needs to be done to cull it, however, it does bring up an interesting and pertinent point that Times Square is perhaps less conducive to traditional office space now as a result of its own success.

Where once in the 2000s it was a fun spot to be "in the center of it all" and to be in a spot that provided a visual ad for your company, either through signage, banner space, etc, now it may becoming more of a place to leave your banner on a building or buy signage if possible, and locate your main office off of the Broadway strip.

The article does make a lot of sense - let's think about this for a second.

Times Square - this article. Trends with downtown/West Midtown/Chelsea/Midtown South. Higher rents found elsewhere in Midtown.

Chicago - the bulk of office is certainly NOT on N Michigan Ave, which is reserved for retail/hotel, mainly.

San Francisco - the bulk of office is certainly NOT centered around Union Square, which again is retail/hotel/entertainment/convention center (and name a city that puts its office space right up against a convention center...same reasoning)

Boston - DT Crossing may have 250,000 visitors a day (I find that hard to believe if Yonge/Dundas is less and Times Square is only relatively more...and Michigan Ave and Union Square SF seem FAR FAR FAR more crowded all the time)...anyway, actually, while Beacon St seems to get fairly crowded (definitely not overbearing, at least when I've been there), there's still some prominent office space on it. I can't think of a similar situation for Boston.

Yonge from Dundas to Bloor in Toronto is also sort of outside of the main downtown area where the bulk of office space is concentrated.


I think it's definitely logical that prime office space is no longer prime if the surrounding environment isn't super conducive to conducting business or if the surrounding area quickly wears on employees.

I think that's really what the meat of the article is about - not so much that there are too many tourists, etc. Though it was interesting that they interviewed theater owners, as well. I'm sure the theater owners have a real concern of driving away local business, not because they'd necessarily lose business (which is replaced by tourists, right), but because if they had to pick between filling seats with outsiders and filling seats with local residents, I'm sure many would prefer a larger percentage of local residents. There is also the fear that if their "occupancy" so to speak of local residents dips, and there's a cycle where tourism also dips, it will take an effort and time to get more locals back in...which translates to lost revenue.


Soooooo, yea, there are many sides to a story such as this. SF is also touristy, and many days I feel a bit like I'm in a city that's a "victim of its own success" so to speak. I find myself having to tell myself that all of these tourists are good for business and what would SF be without them? But they do in a broad and noticeable sense cause inconveniences and hassles for locals and an economic dependency on outsiders.

And as any New Yorker can attest to, if your city is just filled with tourists, and not just in ONE area like Times Square, but throughout, you can count on even higher prices than the high prices naturally found in big cities. This can put economic pressure on residents. You have a snowball effect and before you know it your city is "the rich + tourists", and that's that.

Anyway, I digress, I thought it was a good article. I'm sure there are others like it and this is not the first. Someone probably even had this notion in 2005 when tourism was only a fraction of what it is today.
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  #43  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2015, 5:21 AM
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I'm surprised Chinatown hasn't been mentioned. That area is jammed with tourists (especially weekends) Now take the 140,000 plus that live in that small neighborhood, and its messy. Broadway is another one. 14th and below following the avenue towards canal is very packed. Usually you will notice the crowds become vast the minute you enter Canal coming from Church (assuming you walked from the WTC). The tourist distribution has nodes or stretches where they all concentrate. Broadway being one.

From a driving standpoint, canal is a nightmare especially when there are trucks involved.
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  #44  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2015, 5:34 AM
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^^^But the article focused on impacts to offices and local businesses, not businesses that have basically always thrived because of tourism and will thrive even more with more tourism.
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  #45  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2015, 12:20 AM
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Those photos of Times Square I think point to one thing. And that is that the entire Times Square area needs to be pedestrianized. Trying to keep traffic going through just creates issues.

Imagine how much easier it would be to handle the crowds if all of Times Square, and the surrounding streets were pedestrian only.
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  #46  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2015, 1:06 AM
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Originally Posted by miketoronto View Post
Those photos of Times Square I think point to one thing. And that is that the entire Times Square are needs to be pedestrianized. Trying to keep traffic going through just creates issues.

Imagine how much easier it would be to handle the crowds if all of Times Square, and the surrounding streets were pedestrian only.
The problem with this is that Broadway and 7th Avenue remain important thoroughfares to get from point A to point B (namely, from the Upper West Side to Lower Manhattan).

For this to work, Manhattan needs something that I actually think would be a great idea anyway - a limited access road tunnel bypassing Midtown. Have Broadway split into local and express lanes at Columbus Circle, with the express lanes entering a tunnel that emerges just south of Greeley Square. Going northbound, you have a tunnel entered on 6th Avenue just south of Greeley Square, then follows Broadway north and emerges at Columbus Circle. See Park Avenue between 33rd and 46th for an example of how this could work (without the flyover around Grand Central, of course).

The northbound and southbound lanes would need to be stacked vertically and cross to accomplish this, and it would need to be done in a way that doesn't screw up the public space at Columbus Circle (not to mention avoiding the subway), but then yes, you could totally pedestrianize Broadway from Columbus Circle to at least Herald Square. Hell, you could pedestrianize a big swath of Midtown and relieve lots of through traffic.

Too bad there is neither the will or the money to ever do something like this.
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  #47  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2015, 4:01 AM
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Originally Posted by kingsdl76 View Post
I wonder how these numbers compare to the Shibuya crossing in Tokyo. That crossing is supposedly the busiest in the world -- I wonder how Times Square compares.
On weekdays it's about 1.2 million. A little over 3 million people use Shibuya Station every weekday. 4th busiest station in the world.
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  #48  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2015, 4:56 AM
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We had a very nice cab driver one time. We had to get from Lexington and 34th to Times Square for a show. I wanted to walk, wife didn't. Driver took us a few blocks, hit traffic then told us "I can let you sit here with the meter running, or you can walk and get there faster". Gave him a nice tip, and got to walk most of the way.

What's not to like?
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  #49  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2015, 4:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris08876 View Post
Vegas on the weekends or Friday night in terms of foot traffic is very busy.
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Originally Posted by softee View Post
^^ 53,000,000 people per year (over 153,000 per day) pass through Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto. It's really taking off now as major international retailers are setting up shop in the area.
Having been to all 3 recently (Times Square, Las Vegas, Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto) I think I can speak to this. Obviously Times Square is the busiest and a sight to behold right at its epicentre, once you leave the square it drops off quick though. People hang out just in the square, pedestrians nearby are either walking to or leaving the square. Las Vegas Strip as a whole is extremely busy and interesting. Gets points for lenghthiness. Lacks a "in the middle of it all" spot. Yonge-Dundas is a hybrid of the two. People both hang out in the square, not near as busy Times Square, and the whole experience is felt up and down Yonge St similar to the Vegas strip albeit not as busy (or interesting) again. Jack of all trades master of none.

Short summary of my experience would be...

Times Square - at the heart of it the most overwhelming, wowing, whatever word you want to use. Quick drop off, more of a hang out than a walk.

Las Vegas Strip - extremely busy and interesting walk for quite a distance. Lacks a "in the middle of it all" spot.

Dundas Square, Yonge St. strip - nice combination of a long walkable strip and a square, middle of it all hang out. Square isn't nearly as good as Times, strip isn't nearly as good as Vegas.

Obviously Yonge/Dundas isn't as famous. For those who don't know what it even looks like...


dundas square by sole_ron, on Flickr


Dundas Square / Yonge Street by rthakrar, on Flickr


Yonge Street HDR by Jamie Hedworth, on Flickr

Last edited by TownGuy; Jan 31, 2015 at 4:30 PM.
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  #50  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2015, 4:46 PM
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No other place like Times Square. I remember going to NY for the first time as a kid in 1992. We stayed at The Rennaisance hotel Times Square. Back then, there were still 25 cent peep shows and hookers, it was cool then and is still an interesting place.

I always thought that Boston could transform Kenmore Sq. into their own "Times Sq Light". So much potential, subway stop, Fenway Park, wealthy BU kids, crossroads of major thoroughfares of Commonwealth and Beacon...oh well, just an idea.
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  #51  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2015, 5:57 PM
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DC's pedestrian nodes are too numerous and scattered around the city. plus, all the ads would be out of place and garish in such a stately downtown.
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  #52  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2015, 9:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TownGuy View Post
.

Las Vegas Strip - extremely busy and interesting walk for quite a distance. Lacks a "in the middle of it all" spot.
Its only increasing too. Actually, last couple of years have seen a spike in tourism.

Quote:
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A record 41.1 million visitors descended on Las Vegas last year.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority confirmed Friday what it had already been anticipating: 41.1 million visitors, up 3.7 percent from 39.7 million in 2013, stayed overnight at the destination in 2014. The total visitor volume is the most the destination has ever seen in one year.

Of those, 5.2 million visitors attended one or more of the 22,103 conventions held last year. Both figures are up compared with the year prior.

The agency says 3.1 million visitors came to Sin City in December, up 5.5 percent. Conventions held and meeting attendance dropped in December, as did the average daily rate and revenue per available room in downtown Las Vegas properties.
Some statistics for NYC:

Quote:
Total visitors to NYC 2000-2013*

Visitors (international and domestic) to New York City in 2013:
54.3 million
Visitors (international and domestic) to New York City in 2012:
52.7 million
Visitors (international and domestic) to New York City in 2011:
50.9 million
Visitors (international and domestic) to New York City in 2010:
48.8 million
Visitors (international and domestic) to New York City in 2009:
45.8 million
Visitors (international and domestic) to New York City in 2008:
47.1 million
Visitors (international and domestic) to New York City in 2007:
46 million
Visitors (international and domestic) to New York City in 2006:
43.8 million
Visitors (international and domestic) to New York City in 2005:
42.7 million
Visitors (international and domestic) to New York City in 2004:
39.9 million
Visitors (international and domestic) to New York City in 2003:
37.8 million
Visitors (international and domestic) to New York City in 2002:
35.3 million
Visitors (international and domestic) to New York City in 2001:
35.2 million
Visitors (international and domestic) to New York City in 2000:
36.2 million

New York City’s Top International Markets (2013 figures):

1. United Kingdom 1,108,000
2. Canada 1,100,000
3. Brazil 895,000
4. France 697,000
5. China (PRC) - excluding HK 646,000
6. Australia 619,000
7. Germany 608,000
8. Italy 464,000
9. Spain 383,000
10. Japan 337,000
=================================
http://www.nycgo.com/articles/nyc-statistics-page
http://www.tulsaworld.com/business/a...010e4fb11.html
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  #53  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2015, 9:41 PM
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The problem with this is that Broadway and 7th Avenue remain important thoroughfares to get from point A to point B (namely, from the Upper West Side to Lower Manhattan).

For this to work, Manhattan needs something that I actually think would be a great idea anyway - a limited access road tunnel bypassing Midtown. Have Broadway split into local and express lanes at Columbus Circle, with the express lanes entering a tunnel that emerges just south of Greeley Square. Going northbound, you have a tunnel entered on 6th Avenue just south of Greeley Square, then follows Broadway north and emerges at Columbus Circle. See Park Avenue between 33rd and 46th for an example of how this could work (without the flyover around Grand Central, of course).

The northbound and southbound lanes would need to be stacked vertically and cross to accomplish this, and it would need to be done in a way that doesn't screw up the public space at Columbus Circle (not to mention avoiding the subway), but then yes, you could totally pedestrianize Broadway from Columbus Circle to at least Herald Square. Hell, you could pedestrianize a big swath of Midtown and relieve lots of through traffic.

Too bad there is neither the will or the money to ever do something like this.
Broadway isn't really needed as a motor vehicle route between Columbus Circle and Union Sq. It's better to pedestrianize Broadway and let the avenues absorb the natural ebb and flow of traffic.

Manhattan is one of the few places in the world that could really, genuinely support pedestrian streets and have them be successful and not failed touristy gimmicks (*cough* Chestnut st in Philly *cough*)
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  #54  
Old Posted Jan 31, 2015, 11:32 PM
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That's funny, because when I lived on the Upper West Side and would go out downtown, I was in a lot of taxis down Broadway.

Of course I am approaching this from the perspective of a person who hates Times Square and doesn't give a shit about the tourist experience there. I just want to be able to get through it quickly, and not have the other routes between Midtown and the places where people live and play not made more congested by removing an avenue.
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  #55  
Old Posted Feb 1, 2015, 12:26 AM
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The biggest problem with making a stretch of "X" avenue only to pedestrians is that it clogs up the side streets. I could see this being done more in Lower Manhattan or the neighborhoods just to the North of it, but in Midtown, it would cause gridlock. What occurred in Times Square by making certain parts pedestrian only was studied well, but waters must be treaded carefully if considering parts of the Avenue of Americas or other parts of Broadway for example. Rerouting traffic could work, but it has to be studied in depth given the volume.
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  #56  
Old Posted Feb 1, 2015, 12:35 AM
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That's funny, because when I lived on the Upper West Side and would go out downtown, I was in a lot of taxis down Broadway.

Of course I am approaching this from the perspective of a person who hates Times Square and doesn't give a shit about the tourist experience there. I just want to be able to get through it quickly, and not have the other routes between Midtown and the places where people live and play not made more congested by removing an avenue.

That's what subways are for. I'm afraid I can't feel sorry for you losing road space to pedestrian space when you have multiple transit routes to choose from between Downtown and the UWS. Considering the subway coverage and population density, Manhattan should probably lose a few more streets.
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  #57  
Old Posted Feb 1, 2015, 12:39 AM
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^^^^

Its not that easy though. Not every service can take the subway. From a logistics standpoint, you have trucks and other vehicles which are part of the commerce machine that rely on certain roads. Time is money in this city. Once you factor in the time lost due to traffic or trivial delays, per day, it can add up to millions in lost revenue citywide.

Ask any NYC city official what is the biggest impact to revenue, and its time spent in traffic. Something that may increase it is not good. Thats why certain streets need to be studied if they are to be pedestrianized. Some will work, but others will actually be a burden. Midtown being particularly affected by any road closures or differentiating them for different uses.
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  #58  
Old Posted Feb 1, 2015, 12:57 AM
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/\ There's some flexability in this. Between 10pm and 6am the streets can be opened up to trucks and delivery vehicles. It all comes down to tipping the scales towards pedestrians during the daytime in Manhattan and some sections of Brooklyn.
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  #59  
Old Posted Feb 1, 2015, 4:28 AM
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Got nothing on Shibuya.

Video Link
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  #60  
Old Posted Feb 1, 2015, 4:48 AM
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For comparison:

Video Link


1) 0:08 From the Spanish steps (Best vantage point for crowds)
2) 0:36 Spanish steps at night

I wonder how Shibuya compares if we consider the surrounding square mile for both cities in terms of peak pedestrian density and vehicles?

And for fun, timelapse:

Shibuya

Video Link


Times Square (at 0:22 mark)

Video Link
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