The blizzard of January 1996 accomplished in one day what Transportation Alternatives has been urging for years: it created a city free of cars. On the Monday after the storm, people abandoned their cars, taxis, trucks and buses and either rode the subways or walked to work. At noon, Midtown was a pedestrian's paradise. Office workers walked down the middle of Fifth Avenue and through Times Square, free of the tyranny of traffic, People talked and laughed and shouted in the streets, liberated from the usual honking and screeching of tires and the noxious engine fumes. Some walked alone in thought, a foot and a half above the buried centerline. From a block away, you could hear boots crunching in the freshly fallen snow. For one day, Mother Nature showed New Yorkers how serene Manhattan could be, if only the city were more hospitable to people on foot.