With most world cities (mostly in Europe) joining the car-free movement with intentions of reducing air pollution and improving safety among residents; New York City is gradually making considerable strides to join the train. Imagine what it would be like if a major road like 14th Street, with dual bus lanes, a two-way bike path, and a wide pedestrian thoroughfare and_ no cars!
It is too clear to see that traffic in New York has reached a crisis point. With about 6,000 miles of street in New York, the city’s traffic challenges have grown far worse than ever before. The city’s traffic is riddled with controversial congestion pricing measures, busway lawsuits, bike lane community meeting meltdowns, not to mention an uptick in fatalities this year.
Traffic, however, has always been an insurmountable obstacle in New York. Many vehicles clogged Fifth Avenue 100 years ago as it is today. Over the past centuries, many planners and politicians have made decisions that have rendered private vehicles untenable. Most distinguished of them been, Robert Moses, the most car-friendly politician in New York’s history. Albeit, none of them was able to achieve any success.
Although New York City’s car-free initiative is way behind those in European cities, they’re still far ahead of the curve in the US. The city has constantly been increasing the number of pedestrian areas, along with bike share, subway, and bus options. However, in an effort to curb traffic congestion, the city has placed a ban on vehicles on eight blocks of 14th Street. This will be effective from 6 in the morning to 10 after dusk. Also, passenger vehicles are now prohibited from accessing 14th Street between Third and Ninth avenues.
While announcing plans of creating permanent pedestrian-only zones in popular areas like Times Square, Herald Square, and Madison Square Park, and subsequent ban on cars from the internal streets of Central Park, the city Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the parks were not built for automobiles, rather it was built for the people.
No doubt, the probable impending ban on cars will greatly impact the car lease market quite negatively. When the car ban is fully implemented, it will leave many people with less desire to go for cars again. Why lease a car when you don’t have much space to legally enjoy the new ride? In essence, the demand for leased cars will drop; this will sequentially lead to a drop in the general MSRP of cars. People will have to look up to bikes and scooters as an alternative.
As most world cities are getting ready to make the car-free plunge, the question of how successful this whole scene will turn out to play is yet to be seen. Also, the scope of the car-free movement is yet to be determined. Questions of if the ban will trickle down to the whole nook and cranny of the city are yet to be answered. However, you need not be afraid to get a lease on that new ride you so much desire.