It has been hard to find any kind of silver linings since the coronavirus pandemic has essentially put life on hold for much of the nation and the world, but New York City officials have announced a surprising -- and welcome – one.
New York City Department of Transportation Polly Trottenberg revealed in testimony before the City Council Transportation Committee on Tuesday that it has now been 58 consecutive days since a pedestrian has been fatally struck and killed in the city.
This marks the longest stretch since the city began tracking pedestrian fatalities in 1983, according to ABC News’ New York City station WABC.
It has been 51 days since New York City shut down all nonessential businesses and mandated that all nonessential government and private-sector workers work from home on March 22.
As a result, the city’s typically congested streets have largely been emptied and traffic has been reduced to unprecedented levels.
Trottenberg, however, urged the public to remain vigilant even with fewer cars on the streets.
"Unfortunately some drivers are taking advantage of our empty streets to speed recklessly, and we know we can never let up our vigilance," Trottenberg said.
Trottenberg said that New York City’s Department of Transportation has issued double the number of these violations as compared to the usual numbers before the pandemic broke out in the region. She also confirmed that the NYPD has stepped up targeted speed enforcement around the city as well.
"We are continuing to install 60 new speed cameras each month, and plan to meet our goal of standing up the largest speed camera program in the world," Trottenberg said.
Officials say they will continue to concentrate on growing Citi Bike with a focus on the impacts of COVID-19 and that New York City is looking into opening up the city’s streets to pedestrians and cyclists after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York would liberate 100 miles of streets from vehicle traffic, including 40 by the end of this month.