Council Committee Gives Short Shrift to Deterring Traffic Violence

vallone.jpgPublic Safety Chair Peter Vallone, Jr.

It sounds as if yesterday’s City Council Public Safety Committee hearing on Resolution 145, which calls on state lawmakers "to address the legal loopholes that allow dangerous and
deadly drivers to drive under the influence of drugs or to drive with a
suspended or revoked license," could have gone better.

According to Audrey Anderson, whose son Andre was killed by a motorist in 2005, the hearing was dominated by other resolutions, so that when it came time to hear testimony on traffic violence, council members were more interested in clearing the room.

"I couldn’t even finish my statement," Anderson said. "None of them [members of the committee] really questioned any of us."

Anderson said that as she spoke about incomplete investigations of traffic collisions resulting in injury or death to pedestrians, she was interrupted by committee chair Peter Vallone, who said the city doesn’t have enough police.

"He actually said this meeting was not about that," Anderson told Streetsblog. "I was stunned."

Yesterday’s hearing was held to gather testimony; there was no vote. If the council’s initial foray into tougher punishment for drivers who kill is any indication, Anderson, for one, isn’t hopeful much will come of it.

"It was grandstanding," she said. "There was nothing more to it than that."

If anyone else out there attended the hearing, please leave your impressions in the comments.

  • That sucks. I commented on it yesterday, but in light of the story above, one observation I didn’t mention then now seem relevant:

    I had to leave about 1 hour into it. At that point, only a panel of 4 speakers (prosecutors/advocates who spoke mostly about child endangerment) had had time to speak. There were a lot of people in the “audience” (right word?), and if only half of them were citizens planning on making remarks to the committee, then 1 hour into it was less than half way through the whole thing.

    And yet, despite how early I left (no “concerned citizens” had spoken yet), when I got outside the building, two Council Members who had just moments before been sitting on the dais were already outside the building with me, on their way elsewhere. Who knows, they may of course have been on their way to something equally worthy and important, and both of them have at least some very good livable streets merits in their record, but leaving when they did, they surely heard very little talk about road safety…

  • Jeffrey Hymen

    Reminds me of when the transportation committee held a public hearing after a Brooklyn woman was hit by a commuter van. Liu and Recchia and others rained fire in the press and at the hearing … but did any legislation come out of the exercise?

  • christine

    I testified as well and yes it felt like an afterthought.. Our painful stories followed absolutely horrific descriptions of abused children. By the time we testified, everyone was emotionnally spent.

    When I raised the issue of more enforcement , the chair INTERRUPTED my statement to defensively say that it would indeed require more police which we do not have enough of.

    WE all know it is not an issue of quantity but will. Right now being a pedestrian or a bicyclist, is like being black in Alabama in 1950. We are many more but the police is protecting the other guy. The cultural divide is deep and wide.

    Two days ago , a police car was double parked 30 ft away from a gridlocked intersection. Two officers were outside their car. I enjoined them to give gridlock tickets and they brushed me away , saying they were working on an investigation. They proceeded to remain seated in their car for 10 minutes, while an ambulance was wailing , blocked in the same gridlock. for all we know , one person will die because of the delay.

    So before we can have traffic justice in the courts, we need the police to catch the criminals … and they don’t.

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