Lockdown’s silver lining? NYC marks record-breaking 58 straight days without pedestrian deaths
New York City’s stay at home order has been criticized as unsustainable, but the policy has one apparent benefit: it has helped reduce the number of pedestrian deaths to zero for nearly 60 days in a row.
Like many other cities across the world, the Big Apple chose to close non-essential businesses and prohibit most outdoor activity in a bid to reduce the spread of coronavirus, which has struck New York particularly hard. While there is still debate about the effectiveness and sustainability of such measures, keeping people indoors has resulted in 58 consecutive days since a pedestrian was fatally struck by an automobile anywhere in the five boroughs.
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The streak is apparently a record since the city began keeping a tally of pedestrian deaths in 1983, according to a local ABC affiliate.
New York City instituted its lockdown on March 22 – meaning the city has seen 51 days of radically reduced foot and automobile traffic. However, while traffic levels have fallen markedly, the open roads have apparently galvanized a handful of daredevil drivers.
“Unfortunately some drivers are taking advantage of our empty streets to speed recklessly, and we know we can never let up our vigilance,” NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said, while speaking before the City Council Transportation Committee.
In fact, the city has issued double the number of tickets for reckless driving since the start of the health crisis. Authorities are installing scores of new speed cameras each month, as part of a plan to create the largest speed camera system in the world.
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In the future, the city may see far more pedestrians, and far fewer cars. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York would convert 100 miles of streets into pedestrian-only thoroughfares.
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