Mayoral Candidates Take a Stand on NYPD’s Treatment of… Transit Crime

Quick, what aspect of police work and law enforcement were mayoral contenders addressing when they said the following at Friday’s candidate forum?

  • Bill de Blasio: “It’s hard to report crimes and get the kind of response that you deserve…The police need more training to treat these crimes with urgency…Police need better training and we need to strengthen the laws.”
  • Christine Quinn: “If we see any situation where police or DA’s are not taking those crimes seriously, we need to take action no matter what elected position we are in.”

Were they talking about traffic violence and NYPD’s lackluster crash investigations? Nope, they were responding to questions about assault against bus operators and harassment and crime against bus and subway passengers.

Safety on the transit system is important, but so is safety on the streets. And so far the candidates haven’t approached the NYPD’s failures on traffic violence with the same fervor they displayed Friday evening for tackling transit crime.

Tom Allon called for “GropeStat” to pinpoint problem harassment locations. “If there’s somebody who’s a serial offender, the DA’s office should take away his MetroCard. Ban him from the subway, ban him from the bus forever,” he said.

Streetsblog followed up with Allon after the forum to ask if this banned-for-life standard should apply to deadly drivers. “There should be a zero-tolerance policy. We have to crack down on people who are a menace to other people,” he said. “It’s one of those crimes that doesn’t get enough attention.”

Also at Friday’s forum, Allon — who called gas surcharges a “sin tax” — took a perplexing view of bicycling, saying that the Bloomberg administration has installed bike lanes “in a hodgepodge way.” He said the city needs a “coordinated and intelligent strategy for bike lanes” that places them in residential areas and not on commercial streets, “so we don’t impede traffic.”

“We’ve got this bike-share program coming up, which will obviously be a boon to the city,” Allon added. But he quickly found the dark cloud to this silver lining. “I’m concerned about 15,000 bikes being on the streets in the next years,” he said.

The other candidates who mentioned bicycling and walking were Adolfo Carrión, who said NYC needs “to create a bike-friendly city and bike friendly workplaces,” and Albanese, who offered a strong endorsement of bike lanes. The other candidates remained silent on the issue at Friday’s forum.

  • Anonymous

    Allon is shaping up to be the mayoral candidate most likely to make me beat my head against my desk. I mean, he talks great about “a zero-tolerance policy” toward drivers who kill (thank you for asking that, Stephen!) but then he reiterates this completely baseless business about bike lanes being installed in a haphazard way. And the idea that we should sell the naming rights to subway stations (mentioned in the previous posting about this forum) is just mind-blowingly awful.

  • Joe R.

    Regarding Allon’s comment about the bike lanes, is he in the least bit aware that often the only thru streets in the outer boroughs also happen to be commercial streets? For example, if I want to ride my place in Flushing out past city limits, I have exactly one viable option -Union Turnpike. If I want ride into Manhattan, it’s Queens Blvd to the Queensboro Bridge. Not a whole lot of residential streets are contiguous for more than a mile or two, if that. And in Manhattan, ALL of the avenues are commercial. Allon might as well have said bikes should just ride in parks.

  • So true, @dporpentine:disqus . A “coordinated and intelligent strategy for bike lanes” is what we have had, though it has been too watered down by painted lanes when physically separated lanes would do the job better. I defy anyone to draft a plan that would be more coordinated and “intelligent” than what has actually been done. The problem is most of these jokers have no idea what has actually been done.

    His fretting about bicycle lanes impeding traffic confirms his underlying cluelessness. We should really start some “politician escort” (please don’t misunderstand) rides at 7pm on Fridays to show these guys what really impedes traffic, and how many motorists react — primarily by occupying every inch of asphalt, including bike lanes and crosswalks, to no positive effect.

    Also. “I’m concerned about 15,000 bikes being on the streets in the next years” in New York — this is another way of saying you are just straight up innumerate.

  • Bolwerk

    If you ask me, the stupidest thing about bike lanes is still that they’re on the street in the first place.  I think they make way more sense on (much wider) sidewalks. 

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