Top Traffic Cops Promise Pedestrians-First Enforcement at West Side Forum

Michael Pilecki (center) promised to strengthen traffic enforcement and focus on pedestrian safety at a community board meeting last night. Photo: ##http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/12/24/2010-12-24_finest_hour_for_embattled_cops.html##Adams/Daily News.##

Top NYPD brass expressed surprise at West Side residents’ unhappiness with the department’s traffic enforcement policies and vowed to do better at a meeting of Manhattan CB 4’s transportation committee last night. They also announced a new citywide “pedestrians first” policy for the department.

Four officers attended the CB 4 meeting, according to committee co-chair Christine Berthet, including Michael Pilecki and Scott Hanover, the commanding officer and executive officer of the NYPD’s traffic enforcement division. “It was fabulous,” said Berthet. “They took copious notes on everything.”

Berthet said that committee members had a wide array of complaints with NYPD’s current traffic enforcement practices in the area and pushed for more aggressive enforcement focused on pedestrian safety. “They were surprised how strong the message was from the community,” said Berthet. “We want fewer agents [who can only issue tickets for very limited violations like parking] and more tickets, summonses and towaways.”

Certain NYPD practices earned specific criticism from the West Siders. Police wave cars through red lights even when there isn’t any threat of gridlock, they said, or wave turning vehicles right into crossing pedestrians. “They said they had heard that, but needed to reinforce that message,” reported Berthet.

The officers also agreed to enforce anti-idling laws against buses and vans as well as automobiles.

To ensure that the police follow through on their commitments, said Berthet, she’ll hold another meeting of the transportation committee in three months to gather community feedback. “If there was no visible change,” she said, “we’ll re-invite them.”

Pilecki and Hanover also told the community board that the police had made a new citywide commitment to “pedestrians first” enforcement. “This is their new priority,” said Berthet. The campaign will include retraining traffic officers and stressing the “pedestrians first” mantra inside the department with visual reminders like stickers. A Streetsblog request to the NYPD press office for more information on the “pedestrians first” commitment was not returned.

  • dporpentine

    “Pedestrians first”: I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • Mark Walker

    This is a good first step. Of course it will require followup and a sustained effort to be successful. I look forward to learning more about it.

  • Mark Walker

    This is a good first step. Of course it will require followup and a sustained effort to be successful. I look forward to learning more about it.

  • I like hearing this news… but also want to see it in action. There’s thousands of dangerous infractions with cars creeping into crosswalks and running lights every day. I’d love to read about NYPD spending the summer making an example out of these drivers.

  • I like hearing this news… but also want to see it in action. There’s thousands of dangerous infractions with cars creeping into crosswalks and running lights every day. I’d love to read about NYPD spending the summer making an example out of these drivers.

  • Driver

    There’s also thousands of daily infractions of pedestrians walking in the path of oncoming traffic without the right of way.  Yes, drivers need to be cracked down on, but might as well make it a two way street. 

  • Jeff

    I don’t quite understand what kind of risk a pedestrian walking into the path of oncoming traffic without the right of way poses.  Are we worried about people wearing jackets with brass buttons rubbing against shiny paint jobs?

  • Driver

    The risk is the life of the pedestrian. The concern is people losing their lives, yet people risk their own lives everyday playing chicken with oncoming traffic.  Drivers should be responsible, and so should pedestrians.  I don’t mean legally responsible, I mean common sense responsible.  But you can’t enforce common sense.

  •  Anyone have an email address where we can confirm our support? its great to hear things like this and i’d like to thank whoever is responsible.

  • “Pedestrians First” is another euphemism like “Operation Safe Cycle”. Meaning peds crossing against light in central park will start receiving tickets, and cops will park on sidewalks to ticket folks who jump into the street to get around…and probably start enforcing some sort of minimum speed for walkers.

  • Anonymous

     I’m still waiting for courtesy, professionalism, or respect.  I’ll take what I can get.

  • Joe R.

    I hate to say it, but you’re probably right.  The cops will start giving jaywalking and red light tickets to pedestrians “for their own safety”, even though both things have nothing at all to do with safety.  More and more NYC is starting to look like Seattle. 

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