While the city is recovering from disaster and New Yorkers are trying to get back to work, members of the city’s political press once again showed their true colors: For some, the top concern is being able to gas up their single-occupancy vehicles and drive around Manhattan unimpeded.
At an 11:30 press conference with Mayor Bloomberg and other elected officials, WCBS-TV’s Marcia Kramer — friend of bike lane haters everywhere — prefaced her question by stating that traffic has been “chaotic at best” and asked Mayor Bloomberg about the efficiency of HOV-3 checkpoints. “They use scarce resources of gas,” she started to say, before the mayor cut her off.
“Marcia, I don’t know how to break this to you: we’re all in this together,” he said, adding that personal inconvenience for drivers was very low on the city’s list of priorities. Kramer followed up, asking if the HOV-3 restrictions would be in effect tomorrow. “Yes,” the mayor said. “We’ve already announced that.”
Later in the press conference, another reporter asked the mayor when gas stations, many of which have run out of fuel, would reopen. Because, as we all know, the mayor of New York controls the gasoline supply chain.
Other highlights from the press conference:
- Bloomberg praised the MTA for suspending fare collection on buses and trains. “It was the right decision,” he said. “I wish they’d do it all along. Unfortunately they can’t do that until Shelly Silver comes up with other ways of funding them,” he said jokingly, acknowledging that the Speaker was, in fact, standing next to him at the press conference.
- Bloomberg said that he is not completely confident that the East River tunnels would be ready for subway service by Monday morning. The MTA has not yet provided an update on restoration of subway service beyond its current levels.
- The mayor also made note of yesterday’s gridlock. “There’s no question that travel into our city yesterday was very difficult,” he said. “Roads were so clogged that we had concerns about emergency vehicles.”
- While Bloomberg said he hopes the HOV-3 restrictions can be lifted after Friday, he also cited their benefits and urged everyone not to drive at all. “While it helped alleviate some of the severe congestion we saw yesterday, traffic today remained very heavy. We encourage people to take mass transit whenever possible,” he said. “Some have asked for special treatment, but the bottom line is that we are just not equipped to grant exemptions.”
- He also asked New Yorkers not to drive. “I strongly encourage everyone not to take their cars into Manhattan,” Bloomberg said. “If you have other options — including walking — please take it. It would probably be faster than taking your car.”