During my ten years living in Flushing, NY, I have seen it all. Pedestrians flying four feet off the ground, hit by a truck? Seen it. People getting into arguments because they’ve bumped into one another? Seen that too. Flushing is overcrowded with people that do not care about their environment and the people around them, as long as they catch their connecting bus ride, they’re all good.
According to the 2013 census, 68,902 people live in Flushing. Its not always the more the merrier. The city is over crowded due to Flushing’s many bus stops, and buses are almost always late, but that’s a different issue. Late buses result in people stacking up, and blocking the sidewalks for pedestrians. Another problem with pedestrians in Flushing is they do not follow the street signs. People cross in groups against red lights, this is not only dangerous but it also causes heavy traffic during rush hour times.
“I avoid driving there because there’s too much traffic, I only drive in Flushing when I’m driving my daughters to school. Other than that I try to drive around it,” says Andy E., a father of two who drives his children to Flushing High School everyday. “The traffic is so bad I have to add additional time in my commute everyday, and the streets are full of people strolling like they’re in a park,” says Peng Da Zhou, who catches the 7 train in Flushing everyday. Ironically, I asked a pedestrian crossing on a green light, about his thoughts on the people crossing on red signals: “I cross during green lights because most of the time the traffic isn’t moving anyways,” he said.
Flushing shouldn’t be avoided just because of its traffic and pedestrian problems, we should attempt to make it livable again. I recommend more police to be deployed in Flushing, to hand out expensive tickets to violators of traffic signals. As for the bus stops, I suggest that the MTA spreads their bus stops around Flushing. Sure, having all the bus stops next to each other makes it convenient to catch a connecting bus for daily commuters, but it also makes it inconvenient for others who are trying to get around, or who are even trying to catch a connecting bus. Your next bus might be one block away, but if the sidewalk is too congested, you still won’t make it.
Flushing is such a beautiful city, filled with many restaurants, shopping, and delicious street food, but with its traffic and overcrowded streets we cannot appreciate it. Flushing shouldn’t be seen as the airport for buses, instead it should be seen for its family friendly parks and rich Asian culture that needs to be explored. Doing something about the now-obscene and often dangerous congestion would be a first step in this direction.