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Parking, air quality in city have improved since coronavirus slowdown

Look on the bright side: There’s no traffic, plenty of parking and the air is cleaner.

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It’s hardly consolation in the midst of the deadly coronavirus pandemic spreading throughout the Big Apple — but at least there’s a sliver of a silver lining.

“Everything is twice as fast,” one construction worker told The Post while laying down blacktop on Douglaston Parkway in Queens on Tuesday. “Yeah, we’re finishing in half the time. No traffic.”

And no traffic means no traffic jams.

Average car speeds during the morning rush hour were up 31 percent in the five boroughs as of Wednesday, two days after Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered city schools closed, according to INRIX, a private Washington State traffic analysis company.

“The potential for continued improvement is closing as most road networks are now operating in an almost wholly congestion-free environment,” INRIX analyst Trevor Reed said in a statement Tuesday.

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“If current trends persist, it is probably major congestion will cease to exist in the country’s most congested cities within a week,” Reed said.

With fewer cars, there are more parking spaces open and fewer parking tickets being written.

The parking-finding app SpotHero, which connects users with available spots, said requests for the spaces were down nearly 13 percent last week.

As of Sunday, the number of parking violations written up by the NYPD were also down, dipping by more 54 percent from the same period last year — 4,914 citations last year compared to 2,252 this year, according to statistics released by the department.

Tickets for moving violations were also down, dropping more than 35 percent in the five boroughs.

That’s good news for the environment, although officials caution it’ll take more time to assess.

“In the New York City area, your main pollutants in the air are caused by vehicle traffic,” said Jack Boston, a senior meteorologist with Accu-Weather. “Certainly, there has been a great reduction in the number of folks that are having to travel to work as they’re doing their social distancing thing.”

A man wearing a protective mask walks alone across a nearly empty Park Avenue near Grand Central Terminal in midtown Manhattan during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York

A man wearing a protective mask walks alone across a nearly empty Park Avenue near Grand Central Terminal

Mike Segar/REUTERS



A very quiet Vernon Boulevard during the coronavirus outbreak in Long Island City.

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Tashi Tsenkyap, 25, juggles a soccer ball in Gantry Plaza State Park in LIC.

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Traffic on the Long Island Expressway

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Prospect Park on Sunday

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Climatologists rate air quality on a 0-500 scale determined by the amount of pollen, dust and gases like carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere — with a reading under 50 considered “good.”

The reading in the New York metro area Tuesday was comfortably under 50, with a low of 25 in the Big Apple — although environmental officials in New York and New Jersey were unable to provide prior readings to assess the change in the atmosphere since the coronavirus lockdown.

Boston said the New York metro area’s reading surpassed 50 as recently as March 10, and last went over 101 — deemed “unhealthy for sensitive groups” — in July.

“Largely, the lack of vehicles on the road and the lack of people using public transportation as well, such as buses and trains, are definitely going to have a positive effect on the amount of pollution in the atmosphere,” he said.

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