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Car Culture

Motoring News Roundup, July 12, 2006


The 70th anniversary of the opening of the Triborough Bridge was celebrated this morning with a vintage car parade. As NY1 notes:

There was controversy surrounding the opening of the Triborough 70 years ago. Some feared that it would lead to more cars and traffic congestion in the city as well as the suburbs. Well, that did happen, but drivers nowadays say they can't imagine not having the Triborough.

In South Bronx Rising, a book about the decline and subsequent and continuing rebirth of the Bronx, Jill Jonnes includes the opening of the Triborough as one of the factors that contributed to the borough's decline:

The Triborough connection with Manhattan and Queens meant that the old neighborhoods of the South Bronx, whose streets and avenues fed into the new bridge, were suddenly flooded with automobiles coming on and off it. It was difficult to mourn the ten blocks of old-law tenements on 134th and 135th streets razed to make way for the approaches and supports, for these had been the earliest tenements, cramped, airless, and often still lacking private toilets, heat, or hot water. But the bumper-to-bumper traffic, spewing fumes and honking impatiently as it wound its way onto the bridge, did nothing to make the adjacent neighborhood more pleasant for residents. And it created new problems of its own that would encourage other measures yet to come.

Happy birthday, Triborough. Um ... yay?

And today at City Hall, Mayor Bloomberg signed into law Int. No. 350-A, city council legislation that moves the last remaining piece of parking enforcement responsibility from the DOT to the NYPD. As the mayor explained:

"Currently, New York City Traffic Rules and the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law are enforced through the NYPD's Parking Enforcement District and its patrol officers as well as the DOT's Parking Control Unit (PCU). The PCU enforces on-street violations and off-street violations found in municipal parking facilities. The NYPD issues summonses for traffic infractions and enforces on-street parking regulations. Introductory Number 350-A will transfer the remaining parking enforcement functions from DOT to the NYPD, resulting in a centralized parking enforcement entity overseen by the NYPD."

Former Mayor Giuliani's famous get-tough policy on crime involved folding the Transit Police into the NYPD. Will today's action reduce the number of errant parkers?

Photograph by aaroncorey on flickr.

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