NYC: Sidewalk Gridlock
Many Manhattan residents and commuters have taken to walking in the busy streets amongst the crazy horn-honking, impatient drivers who have probably had to take more NY defensive driving courses and point reduction courses than any other city in the country. Walking in the road may seem like a dangerous and irresponsible thing to do, it is! However, the pedestrians are not walking in the road because they choose to – they have to!
Too Many Pedestrians for Too Little Sidewalk
It is not surprising that the sidewalks have become a gridlock with an estimated 8.5 million people living or working in the city. Now, add an additional 59.7 million tourists to the mix- all trying to walk down a five-foot-wide sidewalk (five feet is the minimum width, most sidewalks are a few feet wider).
Many New Yorkers have expressed their feelings about the problem, unfortunately, very few people have anything positive to say. The majority of residents feel that many of the other pedestrians are rude and obnoxious; they push, shove, and would literately walk on top of you if you fell down and were in their way.
Yes, New York City has always been known for it’s hustle and bustle and as a walking city. People have always complained that New Yorkers were rude in general. However, the sidewalk gridlock problem makes you wonder if this problem is the reason for the rude reputation. Of course people are going to get a bit huffy and possibly even rude when they are late for work nearly every day, and because they are constantly either standing still, dodging bikers, cars, and worst of all cabs.
How Hazardous is it to Walk in NYC?
Truth be told, walking in NYC is pretty hazardous. According to a report by transportation officials, so far this year there have been 55 pedestrian fatalities, and the year is only half over. Just think what the number would be including all of the injuries that occur that are not reported. People can be aggressive and are known that when they are in a hurry their minds believe that the “world revolves around them.” Which raises the question, “How many people are pushed into the road or shoved off the sidewalk, or pushed into a trash can and sprain or break bones?”
What the Local Pedestrians Think About Their Walking Companions
One of the top complaints from New Yorkers about the condition of their sidewalks is not about the injuries taking place on them, it’s about all of the odors that arise out of the congestion! The fragrance of other people, bad hygiene, smokers, perfumes, colognes and food items that are either unpleasant or too strong. Not only are the aromas of the different types of cuisine coming from street vendors annoying and considered a big problem, but the food carts are problematic as well. The massive restaurants-on-wheels block large portions of the sidewalks with their carts and also with their long lines of customers waiting to purchase the vendor’s items. The vendors and increased amount of pedestrians are not the only problem causing the sidewalk gridlock. Pedestrians also have to maneuver around newspaper stands and coin machines, scaffolding, trash cans, light posts, and numerous other objects that are a part of the sidewalks.
What’s Being Done Try and Solve the Sidewalk Gridlock
Transportation officials are trying to lessen the congestion, and they have their work cut out for them! At the top of 2016, NY administrators stated that 12,750 miles of sidewalks will be repaired. Some sidewalks are being enlarged and others will be “molded” into islands. Don’t get too excited just yet, officials say it could take up to ten years for the project to be completed.
One thing that is in the works that will not take too long: the city plans to install an additional 15 miles of protected bike lanes.
I guess NYC pedestrians and tourists can take solace in knowing that there is a plan in action to eliminate New York City’s sidewalk gridlock problem. In the meantime, drivers will have to continue to take their defensive driving course when they have a mishap with another vehicle or pedestrian.
Based on the NY Times article by Winnie Huj, New York’s Sidewalks Are So Packed, Pedestrians Are Taking to the Streets