It's Time for Pedestrians to Take Back the Streets of New York (Video)

Video screen capture. Streetfilms

In 2009 transportation advocate Mark Gorton did a glorious rant about how crowded the sidewalks of New York City were, and how unfair it was that private cars got to take up so much of the space. Now, like any good superhero film, Clarence Eckerson Jr. of Streetfilms does a sequel.

Really, about the only difference between the two is that the cars are bigger now and Clarence sprung for Kodachrome. The crowds are about the same- ridiculous in both.


2009 Streetfilms/Screen capture

Even back then there were people talking on their phones when they cross the street.

Crowds in New York

Streetfilms/Video screen capture

Perhaps the biggest change is that now people are looking at their phones instead of holding them to their ears. In both videos the pedestrians are forced into the street, there are so many of them.

And here is yet another superhero sequel showing how everyone is forced to walk in the bike lane, which terrified me when I was last there, sometimes I couldn't bike at all. They really do need wider sidewalks instead of black cab parking.

Lexington before and after

© John Massengale

It should be remembered that these streets used to devote a lot more space to sidewalks and pedestrians than they do today. John Massengale looks at Lexington then and now, and the difference is incredible. More in How cars have squeezed pedestrians off the streets and made it almost impossible to walk.

264 fifth avenue then

MOMA video/Video screen capture

I did a screen capture of 5th Avenue and then Madison Avenue from the fabulous MOMA restoration of a trip to New York in 1911 and the sidewalks were twice as wide; the buildings had stoops and light wells. It's not like it was always a city of car sewers.

264 today

Google street view/via

Six lanes of cars and barely room for people today. Enough, Mark Gorton is right. It's time to get rid of all the parked black SUVs and all the illegally parked cars with fake placards and take back the streets.

See the others and the great MOMA video here.