About Pedestrian Fatalities in NYC

The New York Times publishes some brilliant multimedia articles on their website. Recently, they had this article about the possibility of a car-free Manhattan. It combines prose with scroll-based animations and illustrations of what the city could look like if city planners didn’t automatically give priority to vehicular traffic.

One fact jumped out at me from the very beginning of the article. Apparently (I didn’t check the statistics but I believe it) about 10 pedestrians are killed in traffic accidents every month in New York City. That number does not surprise me. People in this city will walk out into or stand in the street in defiance of oncoming traffic. Some have their faces glued to their phones, not bothering to look up to see if it’s safe to cross an intersection. Maybe I should be surprised the number of pedestrian deaths isn’t higher.

During the pandemic, the article says NYC recorded two months without a pedestrian fatality. It could be because people were not going out as much. But there was also a major decrease in automobile traffic. Two months when no one walking was killed by a car. I wish it could be longer.

The drop in traffic also led to some more witless behavior on the part of pedestrians. I’ve seen walkers and joggers going right down the middle of major avenues. Those folks are going to be in trouble when the traffic resumes. And there may be even more post-pandemic traffic as travelers, afraid of COVID-19, avoid public transportation.