New Council Mem Ydanis Rodriguez: Traffic Enforcement Is “Harassment”

About a week before the Tri-State Transportation Campaign issued a report revealing that eight pedestrians were killed on the streets of Washington Heights and Inwood between 2006 and 2008, newly-elected Upper Manhattan City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez attended a protest calling for justice. NYPD, it seems, is regularly ticketing drivers for blocking intersections on traffic-choked W. 181st Street, and Rodriguez wants it to stop.

community_tickets_WEB.jpgOn a sidewalk strained to capacity, Ydanis Rodriguez stands with drivers. Photo: MT

The December 28 rally, the Manhattan Times reports, was organized by Fundación Minerva Mirabal, and was heavily attended — to the extent that it was attended at all — by representatives of livery cab companies, whose ubiquitous black Town Cars are the uptown counterpart of the yellow cab. The Times explains the problem as Rodriguez and his co-complainants see it:

As vehicles stack up at lights, drivers, hoping the line will inch up before the light turns red, inevitably get stuck in the intersection and are ticketed.

"If you drive 125th Street there’s a team of one to two traffic agents moving traffic," Rodriguez said. Ticketing drivers instead of helping move traffic on the street amounts to harassment, he said.

Rodriguez has put calls into the head of traffic enforcement to hopefully find a solution to the problem.

One solution that must not have occurred to the council member is for drivers to obey the law. Clogged intersections are a major contributor to the gridlock that so offends Rodriguez, and crosswalk violations pose a significant safety risk to people on foot. For these reasons, city traffic law is fairly unambiguous when it comes to proper motorist protocol:

No operator shall enter an intersection and its crosswalks unless there is sufficient unobstructed space beyond the intersection and its crosswalks in the lane in which he/she is traveling to accommodate the vehicle, notwithstanding any traffic control signal indication to proceed.

But Rodriguez would apparently rather shift enforcement resources to "helping move traffic," which to us sounds like code for ushering drivers through intersections teeming with pedestrians. This in a district where roughly 80 percent of households don’t own a car. It must also be noted that, during his campaign, Rodriguez bragged of helping quash the effort to toll northern Manhattan’s "free" bridges, ensuring 181st Street’s status as a traffic magnet for the foreseeable future (while endangering his constituents’ access to adequate transit service).

A Rodriguez staffer indicated to Streetsblog that we’d get clarification on where Rodriguez stands when it comes to balancing motorist convenience and pedestrian safety, but his office ultimately did not respond to our questions. DOT’s planned revamp of 181, meanwhile, has been delayed by at least a year, according to the Times.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Is Ydanis Rodriguez the Right Transpo Chair for Vision Zero?

|
Politicker is reporting that Upper Manhattan Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez has the inside track on securing the transportation committee chairmanship, which multiple sources have corroborated with Streetsblog. While the final decision won’t be announced until next week, sources say that council leadership will finalize the choice sooner than that, perhaps as early as today. The […]

No Mention of Cab Safety Tech as TLC Commish Outlines Vision Zero Budget

|
Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero Action Plan contains a number of initiatives to improve cab driver safety, including “black box” technology to monitor cabbie behavior. TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi told the City Council in early May that the agency has issued RFIs for a telematics pilot program, but she didn’t mention the program during testimony at Thursday’s council […]

Cy Vance: Senior’s Crosswalk Death Remains Unsolved After Seven Months

|
No charges were filed by NYPD or Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance against the driver who fatally struck 82-year-old Sui Leung in a Manhattan crosswalk last fall. Though Council Member Margaret Chin said the NYPD crash report indicated Leung was walking with the right of way, Vance’s office says the investigation has yet to conclude seven months after the […]

Meet Your New Transportation and Land Use Committee Chairs

|
It’s official: Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez is chair of the transportation committee, and Council Member David Greenfield will head up the powerful land use committee. While Rodriguez’s appointment has been greeted mostly with optimism by street safety advocates, Greenfield’s ascendance raises flags about whether the city will be able to get much-needed parking reforms through […]

Ydanis Rodriguez Bill Would Let NYC’s Press Corps Park for Free

|
In order to protect a #Transparent government we need to ensure media has the tools it needs to do their duty pic.twitter.com/IfuG6HpcLX — Ydanis Rodriguez (@ydanis) April 28, 2015 City Council Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez thinks the city’s press corps needs a special break: He’s proposing legislation that would exempt drivers with press plates […]