Wednesday, April 3, 2013

How Many People Have to Die Before We Make the Streets Safer?

Posted By on Wed, Apr 3, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Page 2 of 2

86th Street pedestrian island plan
  • A vision of the future for 86th Street
Accidents happen, but there are steps the city can take to reduce them. And though even a comprehensive package of reforms won't stop all accidents from happening, even some of those mentioned above, any reasonable steps we can take to reduce the number of people getting killed by drivers is a step we have a moral imperative to take. Police precincts, for example, could do their goddamn jobs and issue speeding tickets. Or, barring that, take for example the proposal for speed cameras, which died in Albany last week when three state lawmakers blocked it. "The next time [a child is killed by a speeding car], Mr. Bloomberg [said] “why don’t you pick up the phone and call your state senator and ask why they allowed that child to be killed?” He meant Dean Skelos, Simcha Felder and Bay Ridge's Marty Golden, and he's right—speed cameras slow traffic and slowed traffic saves lives, and those who impede their implementation have a moral responsibility for the lives lost. (There's a rally on Friday afternoon in front of Marty Golden's office.)

The changes proposed to Fourth Avenue are similarly reasonable, but they have been met by unreasonable critics. “It’s going to back up everything,” one critic told Brooklyn Daily. Well oh dear imagine that—imagine taking slightly longer to get somewhere and more people living full lives because of it!

And then there's Alan Bortnick, still a member of Community Board 10 despite his clear unhingedness. "Bortnick argued the proposal was the culmination of an anti-auto conspiracy on the part of Department of Transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan," Brooklyn Daily reported. "He claimed that the [public outlining of the proposal] was a sham, and that the city had drawn up the plans months in advance. 'Sadik-Khan is really Sadist-Khan, and she never met a car she liked,' said Bortnick. 'They’re duping the public.'"

Does he mean to suggest the dead pedestrians piling up around the city are an illusion? If so, perhaps he could take a trip to a morgue to see the dead bodies for himself. Because they're very real, unacceptable, and preventable.

Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart

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About The Author

Henry Stewart

Henry Stewart

Henry Stewart is the Culture Editor at The L Magazine and Brooklyn Magazine. He has always lived in Brooklyn.

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