There are 1.6 million people who live in Manhattan. Although the large majority of those people do not drive cars, there are 13,237 taxi cabs dedicated to transporting those people from place to place and 4,525 public buses. There are also 34,000 uniformed officers patrolling the streets in NYPD vehicles and 721 medical rescue vehicles adding loud sirens and horns to the already noisy situation. This reaches a total of 52,483 vehicles buzzing around the streets of Manhattan and polluting the air.
Now let’s add to this, the percentage of people whom have their own vehicles, the average tourists that drive through the city, the hundreds of moving vans and laundry vans and the construction trucks that cluster the streets each and every day. If we step back and take a look at the plethora of motor vehicles that inhabit the streets of Manhattan, it is an overwhelming and quite literally, suffocating experience. All of these vehicles are causing harm to our ecosystem and creating an unhealthy place for us to live and breathe.
While keeping an eye out for the amount of vehicles that enjoy idling on the side of the streets, I was shocked that I could barely walk a block without passing a motor vehicle that was parked and yes indeed still running. The encounter that stood out to me the most was when I saw two NYPD cars parked next to each other on the side of Ave B; engines running and the officers chatting to each other with their windows rolled down. I watched them sit and converse like that for twenty minutes before they drove off.
According to the George Pakenham links, it is in fact illegal to idle your vehicle in New York City for more than three minutes. There is clearly an environmental problem in this city that is just going to increase, unless we find a way to further the awareness towards unnecessary motor vehicle emission.