THE TRAFFIC IN FIFTH AVENUE
The New York Times
January 7, 1900
It is to be hoped that Mr. Guggenheimer will not allow to languish the excellent resolution which he introduced into the Municipal Assembly for regulating the traffic of Fifth Avenue. There is really only one side to the question raised by the proposal. If the public opinion of the city could be fairly brought to bear upon the question, it would be settled at once. As things now are, there may be some municipal legislators from the outlying boroughs who imagine that there is some political capital to be made by playing the demagogue on the question and pretending that a reservation of one avenue out of a dozen for the benefit of the great majority of those who use it is "class legislation." In fact, as we have shown, it is "class legislation" to allow a minority of truck and wagon drivers to obstruct Fifth Avenue, when they themselves could move much faster and carry on their own business much better by taking an avenue less crowded than that to the congestion of which they so greatly and inexcusably contribute.
This is the view that has been taken by some of the most important of the brewers whose wagons have been among the most serious obstruction. They have voluntarily ordered their drivers to keep off Fifth Avenue during the crowded hours. If this good example were followed by all the owners of delivery wagons, the question would settle itself. An appeal to such owners would probably be successful.
There is another matter to which the attention of owners of delivery wagons may properly be called. That is the fact that many of them habitually threaten the public safety, if they do not violate a specific ordinance, by putting their vehicles in charge of incompetent and reckless drivers, often small boys. Nothing is more common than to see a horse and wagon standing loose before a door, without even a hitching weight attached to the horse, while the driver is delivering goods inside. A fatal accident occurred not long ago through one of the runaways which such a practice invites. It is not too much to say that the delivery wagon is one of the chief terrors of all our streets, as well as one of the chief obstructions of Fifth Avenue. It is high time that it should be subjected to much stricter regulation.
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