I'm not normally a massive one for TED talks but this really was very good.
The fact they've done so much so fast really is testament to the strength of leadership they have over there. I mean, compare First Ave at 13:02 to 13:22. Having been to Times Square both before and after the pedestrianisation, I can confirm personally that the place is improved by an order of magnitude.
Meanwhile, over here, our leaders abdicate responsibility. And don't think we can't do this because of Health & Safety or planning laws or public inquiries or whatnot. You could get a design drawn up, a lining contractor out and an experimental TRO done to back it up in a matter of days if you wanted to. And as Janette Sadik-Khan rightly points out, if you do it with temporary materials and paint, it can be put back if it doesn't work or upgraded to a full scheme if successful.
Get on it UK highway authorities and city councils. What's your excuse?