I’m assuming everyone has had more than enough of the gloom and doom for one day and some of you might be looking for some good news. This may not be anything particularly miraculous, but at least it’s on the positive side. New York City has set a record in terms of pedestrians being killed by motor vehicles during the pandemic. Since one week before the city shut down on March 22nd, not a single pedestrian has been struck and killed by an automobile in the five boroughs. And that’s the longest stretch without such a death since the city began keeping records. (NY Post)
New York City has not recorded a single pedestrian death since before the state implemented strict coronavirus restrictions that kept residents largely at home, according to a report.
Tuesday marked 58 days since a pedestrian was killed in the Big Apple — the longest stretch since 1983 when the city starting keeping track, Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg revealed at a City Council committee hearing, ABC 7 reported.
New York on March 22 — 51 days ago — shut down all nonessential businesses and required all nonessential government and private-sector employees to work from home.
The reason for their good fortune is obvious. The streets are virtually empty. Go take a look at this webcam covering 5th Avenue. When I checked it this morning, shortly before noon on a Wednesday, there were almost no cars on the streets and only a handful of pedestrians on the sidewalks.
I have to travel to the Big Apple a couple of times per year for business reasons (unfortunately) and I can tell you that this is a simply eerie sight. On a normal day, the cars are bumper to bumper and the traffic at the rush hours and lunchtime is frequently so bad that you can get to your destination faster by walking. But even then, the sidewalks are packed nearly as badly as the streets.
There has been an unanticipated downside to this good news, however. The Transportation Commissioner also told reporters that the empty streets have proved too tempting for some of the people who are still on the road. Speeding violations have more than doubled compared to the same period last year and the NYPD has had to divert resources to traffic patrols as a result. Before the virus came to town, it was almost impossible to get a speeding ticket because the traffic never allowed you to make it out of second gear.
If this turned out to be the new normal, I certainly wouldn’t complain. But then again, that doesn’t seem possible. If people can’t start moving again, commerce will grind to a halt and New York City’s basic reason for existing would evaporate. Wait a minute… what am I saying? Are we really sure that would be a bad thing? No, no… what was I thinking? Of course we wouldn’t want that to happen. Right?