Midtown Manhattan avenues have a problem: The sidewalks aren't wide enough for all the people walking on them. People have to walk in the roadbed to get where they're going. On avenues with protected bike lanes, this means people on foot spill over into bikeways, rendering them all but impassable for cyclists. Now there's a single Midtown block with a protected bike lane that also has a wider sidewalk.
Midtown sidewalks are notoriously too skinny to handle the huge numbers of people on foot near Penn Station. The pedestrian crush around the nation's busiest transit hub routinely flows beyond the boundaries of the curb, and people are forced to walk in car lanes. It's uncomfortable, stressful, and dangerous. But people on foot will soon have some breathing room.
Given the high-profile location, the number of victims, and recent instances of people using vehicles to kill for ideology, it's understandable that yesterday's crash drew so much attention. But it's important to recognize that as terrible as the Times Square carnage was for a single incident, the same human toll occurs on a daily basis on NYC streets -- it's just dispersed across the city.