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TA-Affiliated Group Wants All Cars Off The Road– Unless for Essential Use

(Gautam Krishnan, Unsplash)

April 4, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

A traffic safety advocacy group with ties to Transportation Alternatives has called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to ban all cars from being on the road unless they are for essential use during the pandemic.

Families for Safe Streets Calls, an advocacy group that receives guidance and support from Transportation Alternatives, said it is making the appeal in order to reduce the extra burden that car crashes are having on emergency services throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

The group said that some drivers are speeding–with less congested roads–leading to unnecessary crashes. Traffic has dropped sharply since March 22, when Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the closure of non-essential businesses statewide and a ban on gatherings.

The traffic advocacy group argues that these crashes are avoidable and are putting extra pressure on an already overwhelmed hospital system.

“A ban on non-essential driving will reduce the number of crashes that take place, free up hospital beds, reduce 911 call loads, and expedite ambulances,” said Hsi-Pei Liao, founder of Families for Safe Streets Calls

“Without this step, reckless drivers will continue to place undue burden on a healthcare system which is already operating at capacity,” he said.

Using the tagline “lower the baseline,” Families for Safe Streets Calls want to reduce the number of hospital visits that are not related to the pandemic.

The group points to two crashes that took place last week that could have been avoided.

On Monday, a 59-year-old woman was left in critical condition after being struck by a driver in a hit and run crash in Kew Gardens.

Then on Thursday, a 45-year-old man died after the car that he was driving struck two vehicles on Jamaica Avenue near the Van Wyck Expressway. The drivers of the other vehicles were left in serious but stable conditions.

A 59-year-old woman was left in critical condition Monday after being struck by a driver in a hit and run crash near 120-08 Queens Boulevard. (Google)

“Traffic crashes are preventable. But when our streets are nearly empty like they have been for the last few weeks, some drivers take the opportunity to speed,” Liao said.

“Speeding is the leading cause of crashes, and our healthcare system cannot handle any additional strain right now,” he said.

Liao said that the city should focus on lowering the amount of non-coronavirus related hospitalizations with the same vigor as it has been using to “flatten the curve.”

“In order to make sure our hospitals can direct whatever resources they can muster toward the pandemic, we must do everything we can to eliminate preventable emergencies,” he said.

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Queens Streets for LOL

Cue the anti-bike and anti-street safety crusaders who still(!) think their opinion is worth more than other people’s lives. Even a life threatening pandemic can’t put the brakes on their disdain for those fighting the epidemic of traffic fatalities. Oh the immorality! LOL

Sara Ross

I drive to go food shopping and run errands, locally and about 15 minutes from home. When I do walk locally to get medicine or whatever I need, it’s nice not to have to jump out of the way when a bicyclist is going against my walk light or when I’m driving and want to make a turn with a bicyclist wearing headphones or talking on the phone on the side of the car that I’m turning. This is not, never has been and God willing never will be primarily a 2 wheeled city until the 2 wheelers pay for a drivers license, insurance, inspections, registration, tolls, meters, parking garages, etc. Until then, go away.


Well why dont we Stop all bike riding , all walking, jogging (which i see more than ever now) stop anything that you might get hurt doing.

Gardens Watcher

We all are going to be living, and dying, with this virus until a vaccine is widely available (at least a year). They may come up with a drug that treats symptoms, but not soon enough and that won’t save us anytime soon.

Gardens Watcher

Mark, you nailed it. TA is shameless.

The Mayor just dropped the “safe streets” pilot program, since people were not using the 4 blocked streets for recreation & he couldn’t justify the added police presence. Duh.

People need to stay inside, now so more than ever. Why he wants to encourage people to head outside is frankly reckless and irresponsible.


I haven’t been on any highways since the lock down. But have driven the streets in my neighborhood. Extending grocery shopping into a “stay out of the house for a while longer” by driving around the nabe checking on what’s open and closed. The streets are nearly empty. I’m in the Williamsburg Greenpoint area. I am able to see the BQE near me and that is being very lightly traveled as well. It is insane to attempt to ban all travel that’s non-essential. And why is it that I should be fearful to drive to, let’s say Astoria to an essential business there to buy what I cannot here in my neighborhood? It’s one thing to enforce people to take precautions with masks gloves, staying 6 feet apart. No groups, etc. Quite another to prohibit them from driving where they please as long as it’s essential travel.

irish red

Since so many drivers are already on the road because unlike our dogs, they are bored and cannot learn to sit and stay, I think all that will happen will be that when stopped, these drivers will claim they are enroute to buy groceries–and continue their joyride.


This is a ridiculous proposal. I say this as an avid cyclist and a family man.
You cannot tell people not to go grocery shopping without cars, or doing the things that are essential for living in quarantine for 6 of the days in a week.
To whomever thinks this is a communist way of living, let’s not overdramatize. In fact, if this were done right, and we had a concerted effort at both federal and local government levels, we would have clamped down on everything very early on. Trump definitely to blame, but so is deBlasio who told everyone to go out and still go to restaurants early on. Utter rubbish. As you can see, this is not a partisan talking. I’m left-leaning, but not blind. I see too many people commenting from both a far-left and a right point of view, when everyone just needs to look at the facts and come face to face with them.

We should have done a Wuhan-style lock down, with heads-up from both feds and local govt. ESPECIALLY here in NY. There should have been an effort to allow people to gather supplies in measured ways, using birthdays, or zip-code, or some other fashion. And then everyone should have been locked down for 2 weeks, ZERO going out on the streets.

But we didn’t. And now the needle just goes higher and higher. With the poor hospital staff overworked, and exhausted, and dying. Who will save us when they are too sick to attend the sick? And when police and EMS are in dire straits?


This guy isnt going to get this. People need to grocery shop and the amount of car accidents are already significantly lower. This is disguising a form of martial law with this insencere and disinformed talks about safety.


Ridiculous. People have to drive to get medication and groceries. TA is trying to exploit the pandemic to advance their agenda!


What a sad state we are in now.
This doesn’t work in stages, should have done this 1 month ago. If they banned everything and everyone from going out for 2 weeks, we would Not be in this condition now.

Cat is out of the bag, and spread the fleas all around town, it’s TOO LATE.


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