The number of people on the sidewalk is climbing, according to city surveys reported by the Times. Compared to 2007, the number of pedestrians on the sidewalk climbed ten percent last year. (Numbers rose steadily since ’07, except 2008-2009, possibly because of the recession.) The city keeps track of pedestrians at 50 intersections in all five boroughs in May and September. One of the largest increases was on W. 14th Street, between Hudson Street and Eighth Avenue, where foot traffic rose by 58 percent from the year before. “The volume was 11,166 in September, according to preliminary figures,” the Times reports, “compared with 8,911 in May and 7,0555 the previous September.” To put that in perspective, Times Square gets about 350,000 people a day; Main Street in Flushing had just under 100,000.
Such numbers are good for business, says transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, as well as for the health of the city—physically, emotionally, and democratically. “These include millionaires who like to walk and people without the wherewithal to get around any other way,” she told the Times. “People like to be around people… with 8.4 million people, you don’t live here unless you like people.”
The study’s busiest strip in Brooklyn is in Downtown Brooklyn—Fulton Street, between Lawrence and Bridge streets. It had about 9,500 visitors in May 2011, though a steep decline from its high of more than 15,700 three years ago.