Now That Parking Is Played Out, Will the Council Tackle Traffic Violence?

From what we’ve seen, the scrum at yesterday’s City Council parking presser did a commendable job calling out Christine Quinn, James Vacca, and David Greenfield for their latest ploy to curry favor with motorists.

Basically, Quinn and company want muni-meters programmed to turn off when they run out of paper and during free parking hours, but when asked to quantify the extent of the problem, all they could offer was anecdotes and hearsay.

This is what passes for City Council transportation policy these days: Take a niggling motorist annoyance and play it up as a matter of major, if not historic, importance. But maybe the city press corps has seen this show one too many times. Here’s Dana Rubinstein at CapNY:

These are only the latest in a series of bills the speaker has championed that would lessen the parking meter burden on drivers.

Whether that burden is actually a very large one, or merely one that is extremely irritating to a vocal constituency of outer-borough drivers whose votes Quinn believes will be important in this year’s mayoral election, seems to be an open question.

Ticking off the list of parking bills passed by the council in recent years, many of which had the effect of making it easier for drivers to skirt the law, the NYT’s Matt Flegenheimer wrote: “In a fraught election season, there are quite likely few stances as uncontroversial as a populist knock against the city’s parking rules.”

This latest bill is the brainchild of David Greenfield. Asked about his obsession with parking legislation, Greenfield said: “I get people who criticize me on Twitter and say, ‘Why are you all about the cars?’ Because I drive a car. And my constituents drive cars.”

Quinn said her constituents aren’t especially worried about curbside parking, but said she considers it “one of the top issues” citywide.

There’s another issue that needs this kind of sustained attention from Speaker Quinn and the council. Since January 2012, 15 pedestrians and cyclists have been killed by drivers in the districts represented by Quinn, Greenfield, and Vacca, according to crash data compiled by Streetsblog. The majority of those deaths — nine — happened in Quinn’s district, and five were in Greenfield’s district. There were 274 traffic deaths in NYC in 2012, most caused by speeding drivers. A rash of curb-jumping crashes has resulted numerous deaths, scores of injuries, and zero known penalties against the motorists responsible.

When will Quinn, Vacca, and Greenfield get serious about putting an end to motorist-induced carnage on NYC streets?
  • Andrew

    I think Greenfield is absolutely correct that Muni-Meters shouldn’t charge if they’re unable to dispense receipts, and while the case is weaker for turning off the meters when parking is free, it arguably makes sense as well.

    And if Greenfield and friends had ever expressed any true interest in tackling any of the more serious transportation issues that plague our city – such as the transit funding crisis or the vehicular homicide crisis – then I’d support them in this venture as well.

    But they haven’t, and if this is their idea of a high priority issue, they have no business serving as our elected officials.

  • Anonymous

    Completely agreed. The meters do seem to require fixing. But really, you are running for mayor of NYC and THAT is your biggest transportation priority?

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