Managing and improving Times Square

- The Crossroads of the World can sometimes seem more like the crossroads of chaos, with seemingly never-ending construction, constant congestion, and a growing cast of costumed and "un-costumed" characters.

There continue to be complaints about the aggressiveness of the characters, who solicit tips in exchange for pictures. In the last month two have been arrested: Batman for allegedly swiping cash from a tourist, Spider-Man for aggressive panhandling.

Meanwhile, construction on the plazas has dragged on for years.

The Broadway League, the theater industry's trade association, claims problems associated with Times Square's pedestrian plazas are actually deterring suburbanites from coming into the city to see shows and driving ticket sales down.

Last year, Mayor Bill de Blasio convened a Times Square task force to address concerns. Councilman Corey Johnson was a part of it.

"I think there are many things causing these issues to bubble to the surface, the costumed characters have been a front and center issue but they are not alone," Johnson said.

This week Johnson and other council members introduced legislation that would give the Department of Transportation the authority to regulate the pedestrian plazas.

Additional changes already in effect: the establishment of a dedicated Times Square NYPD unit and efforts to spread the word to tourists that tipping characters is optional.

Other proposed improvements are farther off, like remodeling the NYPD substation and completing an area-wide transportation study.

But officials promise a better times square is on the horizon. Still, some tourists and even New Yorkers say they wouldn't change a thing because there's no other place like it.

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