Is NYC’s “Sustainable Streets” Plan a Communist Plot?


This week’s Observer is running a profile of DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. It focuses on the speed with which many of DOT’s Sustainable Streets projects are moving ahead and seems to suggest either:

a) Improving conditions for New York City’s pedestrians, cyclists and bus riders is a Communist plot. Or,
b) The change that Sadik-Khan is bringing to New York City’s streets is akin to the Russian Revolution.

You be the judge:

On the ideological scale of transportation planning, her policies
err far closer to Trotsky than Reagan. She is decidedly pro-bike and
pro-pedestrian, and thus inherently anti-automobile, earning her
constant praise from the normally critical transit advocates.

This raises some obvious questions. If Sadik-Khan is Leon Trotsky does that mean suburban Westchester Assemblyman and congestion pricing foe Richard Brodsky is Josef Stalin? Will Sadik-Khan be exiled to an upstate gulag when Bloomberg is term-limited out of office?

All fun and games aside, as we gird ourselves for the Tony Avellafication of the 2009 mayoral race, the last two paragraphs of the article are worth discussing:

With many of Ms. Sadik-Khan’s key
initiatives, there is a potential lack of permanency. The same features
that allow the DOT’s projects to get in the ground swiftly could also
seal their fate in a future administration: The city has claimed lanes
of Broadway as open space with some epoxy, sand, paint, plants and
tables, yet a future administration could just as easily pack up those
tables and put lane markers right back down on the roadway.

This prospect seemed almost
incomprehensible to Ms. Sadik-Khan, who seemed to think that public
resistance to it would prove too great, the ease of removal
notwithstanding. “People are very protective about their public space,”
she said. “I think it would be very hard to take these spaces back to
the state that they were in before.”


A Transit Miracle on 34th Street

NYC DOT is proposing to turn Manhattan’s 34th Street into a river-to-river "transitway." In what she half-jokingly called "probably the first-ever co-presentation" between their two agencies, Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan stood with New York City Transit President Howard Roberts earlier this week to unveil the city’s current Bus Rapid Transit program in its […]

Bloomberg, Sadik-Khan and Friends Unveil “Summer Streets”

David Byrne, Janette Sadik-Khan, Paul Steely White, Lance Armstrong, and Scott Stringer look on mirthfully as Mayor Bloomberg announces "Summer Streets." New York’s Ciclovía-style car-free event will go by the name "Summer Streets," Mayor Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Sadik-Khan announced at a press event this afternoon. Streetfilms’ Clarence Eckerson was on hand to capture footage, […]

LaHood, Sadik-Khan Show Off LOOK! Safety Education Campaign

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood joined NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan at the corner of 42nd Street and Second Avenue this morning for the official launch of the city’s new LOOK! campaign, aimed at distracted drivers and pedestrians. Although NYC traffic fatalities are down 40 percent over the past decade, last year, 57 percent of fatalities […]

The New York Times JSK Profile: Politicos vs. Progressive Transportation

Has the Times ever published a profile so singularly devoted to one city commissioner’s relationships with other public figures as this Michael Grynbaum story? It’s not so much a profile of transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan as a 2,500-word description of her place in New York’s political firmament. The question that drives the piece forward is […]

Undecided Council Members Speak Up at Pricing Hearing

Janette Sadik-Khan and Rohit Aggarwala (left table) fielded questions this morning from City Council members, including Lew Fidler and Larry Seabrook. At the first part of today’s congestion pricing hearings, Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Rohit Aggarwala, director of the Office for Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, fielded questions from the City Council’s nine-member State and […]