The pedestrian-only avenue is a quarter-mile corridor of privately owned public spaces, such as open-access lobbies and canopied space, which are open except at night. There are stop signs and stop ahead signs at 6 crossings between 51st and 56th streets. The mid-block crossing at 57th street is equipped with a traffic light. At the crosswalk areas, there are sidewalk pedestrian ramps with textured surface and flexible delineators to prevent vehicles parking in the areas. Each intersection along the thoroughfare has street sign that reads "6½ AV" and the name of the cross street to officially mark the street name. The mid-block stop signs are unusual for Manhattan, and the avenue name involving fractions is a new idea for the numbered street system of New York City.
In 2011, the Friends of Privately Owned Public Spaces proposed a creation of a six-block pathway from 51st to 57th streets that would be mid-block of Sixth and Seventh avenues to ease pedestrian traffic. The proposal called for connecting public spaces in the area that were not known to most pedestrians into a pedestrian corridor and called it Holly Whyte Way. The idea was presented to the board and the board in turn sent a formal request to New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) in May 2011. The group also organized an event in October 2011 to boost awareness of the shortcut while the study was on going.
Some drivers have complained after the installation of the new stop signs with concerns about traffic jams. Many drivers have also driven past the stop signs and the crosswalks without stopping, which could be a safety issue for pedestrians.
- "NYC DOT Announces Completion Of “6 ½ Avenue,” Connecting Midtown Public Spaces With New, Safer Pedestrian Crossings" (press release) New York City Department of Transportation (September 6, 2012)
- "Meet Me on 6½th Avenue: DOT Planning Public Promenade Through Middle of Midtown Towers", New York Observer (March 26, 2012). Accessed: July 30, 2012
- "New York City Mulls ’6 1/2 Avenue’ Proposal, Linking Pedestrian Walkways In Midtown", CBS New York (March 30, 2012). Accessed: July 31, 2012
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- City to Create New Mid-Block Crossing on West 57th Street, DNAInfo.com (November 11, 2011). Accessed: July 30, 2012
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- Secret Midtown Passageways Seek More Exposure, DNAInfo.com April 27, 2011 - accessed July 30, 2012
- "Holly Whyte Way Arcade Parade", Time Out New York. Accessed: July 30, 2012
- "New Crosswalks Connect to Form '6 1/2 Avenue' in Midtown", DNAInfo.com (July 12, 2012)
- "New 'avenue' a stopping mall", New York Post (July 16, 2012). Accessed: July 30, 2012
- "Stop Signs Along Midtown's 6 1/2 Avenue Catching Drivers By Surprise", CBS New York (July 19, 2012). Accessed: July 30, 2012
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