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Drivers: NYC Streets For Everyone But Us

Bloomberg Planning To Slow Down Big Apple For Pedestrians
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New York City Skyline (credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Coming soon to a New York City street near you: fewer parking spots, driving lanes that will be narrowed and a 20-mile per hour speed limit.

It’s all part of a push to keep pedestrians safer, but as CBS 2’s Kirstin Cole found out drivers are wondering if there is any room left for them.

Jose Guerra makes deliveries for a living and said it’s tougher every day.

“It’s less parking for everybody,” said Jose Guerra of Staten Island.

Street parking will continue to shrink as the City’s Department of Transportation implements many changes to traffic lanes, all in an effort to make pedestrians safer in New York.

“A minimum of 20 of these miles will have significant safety redesigns, including roadway narrowing, sidewalk extensions, sign and parking regulation changes,” Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said.

The latest changes since the redesign of Broadway through Times Square and beyond targets wide roads and large intersections, a new speed limit of 20 mph, tripling the number of slow school zones, and more …

“To improve visibility we’ll be restricting curb-side parking at those intersections and in at least one neighborhood we’ll also experiment with an area-wide speed limit of 20 mph,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

“It puts a limit on us, rushing the deliveries throughout the day,” said Alberto Morando of Edison, N.J.

“It makes it hard when you want to make a left turn or you are going straight with the taxis stopping to pick people up,” another person said.

Multiple reasons are listed for why pedestrians are killed, including wide multi-lane streets, drivers distracted on cell phones and texting and some divers not knowing the speed limit is 30 mph citywide.

“A pedestrian struck at 40 mph is four times more likely to die than one struck at 30 mph,” Sadik-Khan said.

In all, 27 percent of pedestrians are hit while crossing with the signal. So new crosswalk countdown clocks will roll out across the city – 1,500 are immediately planned for major, wide, multi-lane and two way roads. They’re meant to help all of us, especially the elderly.

“You know you really kind of have to run as fast as you can across the street,” said John Vitvovich of Flatiron.

Others told CBS 2 they are firmly in favor of the countdown clocks. But many others said it’s good move that’s leaving some drivers wondering if there’s room on the road for them.

New York still has the safest streets among other large cities in the U.S., with the numbers of pedestrian fatalities continuing to fall. And the city hopes to cut those numbers in half by the year 2030.

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