Commuting in New York is A Real Life Video Game

It’s amazing how a time lapse of one intersection can give so much insight into a problem that many New Yorkers ignore or don’t even realize exist. Created for a Master Design thesis, this video is part of a larger campaign called ‘3-Way Street‘ that aims to show our interconnected role in improving the safety and usability of New York’s streets.

I lived in New York for six years and biked, walked, cabbed, and rode the subway to every corner of the city. As a pedestrian, I’ve been hit by both a car and bike at two different intersections. I was hurt, but nothing major. It never felt like a big deal. It was just something that just happened. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and some one couldn’t stop fast enough.

I’ve admittedly J-walked and stood in the street waiting to cross when there was a break in traffic. At the time, it never felt like I was putting myself in danger. To me, it was a way of city survival. When you walk 10-20 blocks to work in NYC and have to stop at every intersection because the lights are long and cars turn right in front of you, it takes forever to get where you are going. So as a pedestrian, you adapt and become as aggressive as the cars (or bikes) around you.

Over time, I developed a video game-like  field of vision that allowed me to process all of the obstacles in my path and adapt accordingly. Everyday was like playing a game of 3D Frogger where you pause in the middle of the street to avoid trucks, sidestep to allow a bike to pass, and walk around a herd of people waiting to cross so you can get where you are going before the clock runs out and you are late.

I can’t imagine New York as a place where pedestrian, cars, and cyclists can all get along and share the road. But I like the idea, and fully support it.

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