2006_10_friendst.jpgEarlier this week, Transportation Alternatives released a study that finds relationships between people's behavior and the neighborhoods they live in. For instance, someone who lives on a high traffic street is less likely to go outside and enjoy the neighborhood or let the children play while someone on a quieter street would get to do those things. Plus:

The study finds that New Yorkers on high traffic streets harbor more negative perceptions of their block, are more frequently disturbed during sleep, meals, and conversations, and, in two of the four study areas, possess significantly fewer relationships with their neighbors compared to residents on low and medium traffic streets. Based on these findings, it is no surprise that 49% of all respondents stated that reducing the number of cars traversing their street would "totally improve" their quality of life. Of those respondents residing on heavy traffic streets, that figure jumps to 62%.

The residents surveyed live in Astoria, Brooklyn Heights, Chinatown, and High Bridge (and spoke to people on streets of varying traffic in each neighborhood).

Transportation Alternatives naturally has suggestions for how to improve quality of life under the umbrella of reducing traffic: Improve mass transit and bike paths; lower speed limits and add more speed bumps; and use congestion pricing. The NY Times' Clyde Haberman devoted a column to the study today and noted the number of automobile-related scandals that have plagued local politicians.

Gothamist does believe the streets affect our behavior (there's nothing like yelling at a driver for turning on red) but the quality of the sidewalks are another layer (our morning walk to the subway is along one very quiet street that seems to be where all the dogs like to poop and their owners like to leave it).

Photograph of West 41th Street by edEx on Flickr