NYC Pedestrian Traffic

This is a plea for a return to sanity in New York City traffic matters.

The newest traffic idea in NYC, called Vision Zero, requires ALL vehicles seeking to turn into a side street to be responsible to avoid hitting ALL pedestrians under all circumstances until pedestrians have finished crossing the side street, whether or not they had the benefit of favorable traffic signals.

That, perhaps well intended, provision has recently led to added massive new traffic jams in mid-town because pedestrians very largely ignore the traffic signals which start first with a signal of a green hand, then a flashing red hand and finally a steady red hand.

Clearly in this new situation, the deliberate ignoring of the steady red hand signal by pedestrians contributes a new additional complicating problem. I have seen avenue traffic stopped for three or four light changes, without moving, while cars had to wait for several lights to change for a vehicle already at the intersection waiting to make a turn for fear of touching anyone in the continuous stream of pedestrians deliberately ignoring the signal lights not to cross.

In “the good ole days” that was called jaywalking and tickets were frequently and freely given to pedestrian offenders and that did keep kept some order in the tug of war between cars and people.

Today with the combination of bikes, bike lanes, new pedestrian rules, parking problems and a maze of no right turns, left turns, etc., the city has become a static mess with a lot of unintended self-contradictory efforts to make one thing better while making everything else worse.

Current studies show this problem is having a significant adverse effect on the City’s economy and attractiveness as a place to do business and live.

To address this new problem the City now needs a representative group of creative, bold and interested citizens to review the overall situation and try to forge a public consensus on how create an “intersector” solution.

In addition to looking carefully and dispassionately at the overall current situation there are already some interesting ideas in use in other large cities around the world to look carefully at — for example congestion charges in London, which has numerous benefits, ranging from curbing emissions to relieving congestion and improving pedestrian safety.

New York is too big and too important to the whole world to let this situation fester forever!

It is time for citizens of New York to pick up where the City and special interests have failed us all for a long time and take the issue in hand for the GREATER GOOD of the whole city.


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