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.
Xin Kang Wang, 74, died on Sunday, 10 days after a taxi passenger doored him on 20th Street. The driver had pulled into the bike lane ahead of Wang immediately beforehand, police said. Wang was heading east on 20th Street between Broadway and Park Avenue when the passenger exited the vehicle and hit him with the door.
The Manhattan Community Board 7 transportation committee has passed a resolution calling on DOT to make Columbus Circle safe for biking and walking. The traffic circle at the southwest corner of Central Park is a critical point for people biking between the Upper West Side and Midtown, but it's a major void in the bike network.
While bus ridership is down citywide -- and especially in Manhattan -- there are some routes that are bucking the trend. One that's gaining riders is the M86, which got a package of upgrades from DOT and the MTA in 2015. The improvements included off-board fare collection and queue jumps -- short bus lane segments that enable buses to cut ahead of other traffic at signals.