Thanks to COVID, most New Yorkers are no longer captive to a five-day-a-week commute. How does the next mayor lure people back without choking the city on traffic?
The pandemic altered Gothamites’ transportation habits on a scale not seen since the subway opened in 1904, or since the Triborough Bridge opened in 1936 and the city entered the automobile age.
Thirteen months into the disruption, subway ridership is just one-third of “normal”; commuter-rail ridership is down by three-fourths. People want to avoid enclosed transit spaces, but even car-based bridge and tunnel traffic is still down by 15 percent.
The only form of organized transit to return to pre-pandemic levels? Citibike. Last December, ridership was 13 percent above the pre-pandemic December. East River bicycle crossings increased by 21 percent last year.
Nicole Gelinas is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor at City Journal. Follow her on Twitter here. This column, the first in a series, was adapted from MI’s “NYC Reborn” initiative.
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