There are no silver linings to COVID-19 or to stay-at-home orders that swell jobless ranks and smother commerce; there are only small blessings.
If you live on N. Church Street in Moorestown, your small blessing has been less cars and trucks clogging the street beneath your window.
N. Church Street is a narrow, heavily traveled thoroughfare through a residential neighborhood of older homes built very close to the street. The posted speed limit is 35 mph.
Under normal conditions, weekday rush hour begins developing about 6 a.m. and heavy traffic flows up and down the street like a dirty, noisy river for the rest of the day. Moments of traffic-free silence, even in the deepest depths of the night, are rare.
The stay-at-home order issued in March by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy to staunch the spread of COVID-19 quickly changed that. The river of traffic shrunk to a trickle and residents benefited from cleaner air and extended periods of blessed peace and quiet.
Here’s a very unscientific comparison of N. Church Street traffic before and after the stay-at-home order: This audio was recorded early one morning about a year ago, and this audio was recorded a few days ago. You can see the difference in the waveforms and hear the difference in the audio.