Straight ahead, to a pedestrian New York

To great ills, great remedies. In March 2020, when Covid-19 and lockdowns were words we knew very little about, New York City banned cars from certain streets. Avenues usually blocked by traffic jams were revealed in a new light to the delight of the inhabitants. Today, Mayor Eric Adams would like that for the long haul. He plans to dedicate 25% of the urban space to pedestrians, cyclists, public transport.

A more pedestrian-centric city

The mayor of New York has a clear vision for the city that never sleeps. He would like fewer cars, so that the urban space is more pleasant for the majority. Namely pedestrians and cyclists. In his 25×25 project, he would like to “give the city back to the people” and transform 25% of New York’s urban space into pedestrian streets, bike paths, green spaces and bus lanes by 2025.

Eric Adams believes that most streets in New York are dominated by cars, and that’s not to anyone’s benefit. Neither the residents nor the drivers. Indeed, in a city like New York, it’s hard not to get stuck in traffic. In general, in the heart of the big apple, in the center of Manhattan, we drive at 8 kilometers per hour. Ah yes… Private vehicles are responsible for most of New York’s carbon emissions, air pollution and “urban filth”.

For their part, pedestrians and cyclists suffer from this mass of vehicles and have to move through a city parasitized by a lot of cars. We could also talk about the number of injuries, and deaths, because of the vehicles in New York. For all these reasons, the mayor wants to change things. According to him, by allocating more space for pedestrians and cyclists, the city would be cleaner and more pleasant for the inhabitants.

It should be noted, too, that most people living in New York do not have a car and rather use public transport, their bicycle or their feet. So giving them more space makes sense. The 25×25 project should see the creation of 800 kilometers of bus lanes and an additional 800 kilometers for protected cycle paths. Ultimately, New Yorkers would be entitled to the equivalent of 13 Central Parks removed from cars and motorists.

As is already the case in Paris, this project focuses on the needs of people and would leave out cars. Many other cities around the world want to be more suitable for people without vehicles. Some even offer bonuses to residents who prefer bicycles to cars. But this is likely to make those who have, precisely, a vehicle grumble. It remains to be seen what this will bring… We imagine that if everything is well laid out, everyone could find something for themselves.

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