Page last updated at 22:17 GMT, Monday, 25 May 2009 23:17 UK

New York squares cut out the cars

Times Square, New York, 25 May, 2009
People relax in the normally traffic-choked Times Square

New York's famous Times Square has become more pedestrian-friendly, with city officials banning cars from stretches of Broadway.

Vehicles are not allowed between 42nd and 47th streets at Times Square and 33rd and 35th Streets at Herald Square.

Officials say the move will reduce pollution and pedestrian accidents and ease traffic flow in the area known locally as "crossroads of the world".

Pedestrian plazas are giving shoppers and tourists a place to relax.

Barriers along parts of Broadway were put in place late on Sunday, and on Monday parts of Times Square were like a street festival.

Street performers strutted their stuff, and beach chairs were set up so people could enjoy the good weather.

The area has been notorious for its traffic jams, and the Transportation Commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, said there would be close monitoring of the situation until people became used to it.

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