Councilman Koppell Wants “Sadik-Kahn” Fired Over Turn Signal

Council Member G Oliver KoppellMore termed-out wackiness from City Hall. Last week, Bronx City Council Member G. Oliver Koppell issued a press release calling for the "resignation or removal" of DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. The reason? Koppell wants a left turn signal at 254th Street and Riverdale Avenue, and DOT doesn’t think the intersection needs one.

Koppell says there have been "many accidents" at the intersection due to traffic volume and the difficulty of making left hand turns, and that "Deputy Inspector Pilecki from the Bronx DOT" agrees that a turn signal is needed. But a city source tells Streetsblog that DOT has inspected the intersection many times, at Koppell’s request, and disagrees with the councilman’s assessment. (For what it’s worth, CrashStat shows fewer than five bike-ped-involved collisions there between 1995 and 2005.) Deputy Inspector Pilecki is actually with the NYPD, which our source says has stationed officers at the interchange only at the behest of the councilman.

From Koppell’s press release [PDF]:

"Commissioner Sadik-Kahn [sic] has shown arrogance and a total disregard for our community’s needs and safety," Koppell said. "Her lack of sensitivity and understanding necessitates that she resign or be dismissed."

The statement says that Koppell, who is a former Assembly member and New York State attorney general, has been asking for the signal "for the past four years." We contacted Koppell’s office to see if he ever demanded that former Commissioner Iris Weinshall lose her job during the first three years of his quest — and if, as we hear, the intersection is along the route between the councilman’s home and office. We are awaiting a call back.

  • ddartley

    Cute. Reminds me of the letter I sent to President Bush soon after he took office and promptly reversed some promise he had made to set some carbon cap or other. Well before 9/11, before Iraq, and all the catastrophes he caused, when he went back on that pledge, I wrote to him a letter that contained the phrase “you should resign for this.” HA HA HA!

    Okay, seriously, though, I don’t think Sadik-Khan has yet publicly apologized for speeding on the Throughway. She should. Any DOT Commissioner, especially one beloved of the livable streets movement, should be held to the highest standards of safe road use. Speeding KILLS people. It is THE way cars kill people. I got people you could ask. Make a statement condemning speeding, will you, please?

  • Spud Spudly

    The level of idiocy at the staff level of the typical City Council member is really appalling (no comment necessary about the members themselves). Did some intern write that press release? How on earth can you misspell the name of the person who is the focus of what you’re trying to say?!?!? And to think that the Deputy Inspector is from the DOT? Jeez, really pathetic. Eleanor Edelstein should be ashamed of herself.

    Note that the date on the release is April 30. I guess nobody ran the story.

  • Riverdalian

    I grew up a block from this intersection, riding my bike through it contantly. Left hand turns there are certainly dangerous, and I’ve probably witnessed at least a half dozen automobile crashes there personally.

    In my amateur opinion, a left hand turn signal would be of great help, as drivers are too often too reckless.

    Nonetheless, that is absolutely no reason to call for the resignation of perhaps the greatest DOT Commissioner this city has ever seen.

  • Marty Barfowitz

    left turn signals often make conditions much worse for pedestrians. has koppell ever tried to walk across this intersection? i imagine not.

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