Skip to Content
Streetsblog California home
Streetsblog California home
Log In
Streetsblog NY

NY Mayor Has Yet to Say Traffic Is More Dangerous Than Painted Breasts

Mayor de Blasio had a chance today to quell the uproar over his suggestion that the city may rip out the Times Square pedestrian plazas. Instead he equivocated and didn't take the idea off the table:

Here's what Bill de Blasio told NY1 today about the Times Square pedestrian plazas pic.twitter.com/kKQpF4OJlC

— Mike Grynbaum (@grynbaum) August 21, 2015

This issue is now much bigger than the plazas themselves (and the plazas themselves are a big deal -- the city's most recognizable public space, used by hundreds of thousands of people each day).

De Blasio has made street safety and the elimination of traffic deaths a signature policy goal. Until this episode with the plazas, the main question about City Hall's commitment to those goals was whether the mayor and his deputies were moving fast enough. Advocates could contest whether de Blasio, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, and others were doing everything politically feasible to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries. But at least things were moving in the right direction.

Now the whole enterprise is feeling disingenuous.

We know that making Broadway car-free through Times Square has, among other benefits, cut pedestrian injuries by 40 percent even as the number of people using the space has soared. Reversing that progress, in whole or in part, runs completely counter to the principles of Vision Zero that the administration purportedly espouses.

A day after the idea of ripping up the plazas surfaced in what could charitably be ascribed to off-the-cuff remarks, de Blasio could have reasserted the primacy of pedestrian safety as a core value. He didn't. If the mayor thinks people might be better off exposed to moving traffic than painted breasts, how seriously should anyone take his commitment to Vision Zero?

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog California

Automated Enforcement Coming Soon to a Bus Lane Near You

Metro is already installing on-bus cameras. Soon comes testing, outreach, then warning tickets.

April 19, 2024

Friday’s Headlines

SF plans street redesign at crash site; Santa Cruz commission still supports plan to have both trail and rail; State budget includes subsidies for fossil fuel industry; Unhoused camping; More

April 19, 2024

Legislators Tackle AV, School Zone Safety

Are AVs freight trucks ready to be deployed on California roads with no one in them?

April 17, 2024

Metro Looks to Approve Torrance C Line Extension Alignment

Selecting the relatively low-cost hybrid alternative should help the oft-delayed South Bay C Line extension move a step closer to reality

April 17, 2024
See all posts