Traffic slowly returns to New York City's streets

For weeks after stay-at-home issues were ordered, the streets of New York City were nearly empty. But on Friday afternoon, Second Avenue was bustling with bikers, pedestrians. 

According to data from the New York City Department of Transportation, that traffic might be here to stay.

Traffic for the week of March 30 dropped to an average of 244,222 vehicles crossing the city’s four East River bridges every weekday, a 42 percent decline compared to the same time last year. 

Fast-forward to the first full week of May this year, and traffic increased to 340,620 vehicles, a decline of just 20 percent from last year.

“In all likelihood, A.) some people are driving who had always been driving but B.) there’s probably a fair number of people who are afraid to get into transit and have switched to driving,” said traffic expert Sam Schwartz of the New York Daily News. 

Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio implemented a Transportation Advisory Council to help restart city life and ease crowding in the wake of COVID-19, but according to Schwartz, even with the city’s guidance traffic will only get worse.

“More people are going to be in cars, more people are going to be on bikes, people are going to want to stay some distance apart on sidewalks. They’re all competing for the same finite amount of space,” Schwartz said. 


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