On NY1 Tonight: The New John Liu vs. The New Broadway

Lately, you may have found yourself doing double takes at the words coming out of Council Member John Liu‘s mouth. The transportation committee chair, running for comptroller in a crowded field that includes two other candidates from Queens, has turned into a go-to source for quotes that disparage safety improvements for pedestrians and cyclists. (Liu prefers to make his point indirectly, couching his criticism in attacks on "process".)

During the MTA funding debate, Liu was also a vocal opponent of bridge tolls, a stark about-face given his early support for congestion pricing. Tonight you can see the new John Liu in action, when he makes an appearance on NY1’s Road to City Hall at 7 p.m. The topic: Broadway’s new pedestrian spaces, a transformation Liu pounced on as soon as the plan was announced.

If you’re going to tonight’s BRT workshop in the Bronx instead, you can catch the NY1 show again at 10:00 p.m.

  • I appreciate that Liu is giving those of us that live outside his district a chance to vote against him and his backwards politics.

  • His listserv proudly distributes this excerpt from the News:

    “The agency took away two lanes of Broadway traffic last summer between Times and Herald squares, setting out benches for midtown passersby while infuriating some drivers.

    The idea didn’t sit well with City Councilman John Liu (D-Queens), chairman of the Council’s Transportation Committee, who said the DOT should ask people what they think of the idea before simply imposing it.

    ‘There is already a fair amount of dissatisfaction with the changes on Broadway, where large amounts of space have been expropriated,’ Liu said.”

    Expropriated? Cute perspective–and short sense of history, bro.

    Also, as far as “asking people what they think…before simply imposing it,” well, that sounds democratic, right? But maybe the change was a response to what people were asking for.

    I’d take the bet that of all the people who contacted the City demanding more space, pedestrians outnumbered motorists. If I’m right, then these changes are not as undemocratic as Liu paints them.

  • Glenn

    Funny, I don’t remember voting for more cars and trucks polluting my air, but there they are everyday, imposing their will on my neighborhood without even asking me first.

    Ballot question: Would you like to see more traffic on your block or neighborhood?

    Those neighborhoods or blocks that vote “yes” get more parking and wider blocks (along with some truck routes) and less sidewalk space. Those that vote “no” would get less parking, wider sidewalks and narrower streetspace for cars & no trucks.

    That would be democracy in action!

  • Shemp

    Complaining about process is the last refuge of a (local) scoundrel.

  • Marty Barfowitz

    I’ll be voting for David Yassky for comptroller:


  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    When it comes time to move to car free “outer borough” neighborhoods the place to start should be Flushing, Queens. It is almost ideal as a matter of fact. Terminus to the “magnificent” 7. Important Queens stop for the LIRR. Huge bus terminus. Completely packed neighborhood. Liu will be out of office by then. Imagine the beauty of a pedestrianized Main Street. The real estate and economic value it would add would be enormous. Meet me for Dim Sum, we’ll walk from the 7.

  • Anyone remember the photo of Liu riding his ‘bent on the sidewalk? I think it was early Streetsblog material, those were two actions were all I needed not to trust that guy.

  • Makaveli, you’re quite right about Main St. near the end of the 7 line. The sidewalks are tiny and teeming with pedestrians, while a cars trudge through miserably. The place could be a boomtown if they’d just put those cars out of their misery at that spot.

  • Speaking of “Green Light for Midtown”, I’m getting worried about Herald Square. So far it’s been the red-headed-Wednesday’s-stepchild of this program. Lots of walking room for sure, but sparse crowds, little seating or amusements to attract them, and almost no promotion or publicity from the media. The DOT is dropping the ball on the other half of “Green Light” and it better not wait until Holiday shopping season to draw crowds.

  • I think the Herald Square project makes more sense in context with the Times Square project, especially since the two of them have worked together to reduce Broadway car traffic between, above, and below the two areas. Works for me!


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