NYPD Transpo Big: Pedestrian Safety Ranks Behind Motorist Happiness

joe_ellis.jpgNYPD’s Joseph Ellis. Photo: NYC.gov

If there is any doubt about NYPD’s callous attitude toward the safety of millions of New York City pedestrians, consider the recent testimony of Joseph Ellis, traffic manager for the Traffic Intelligence Unit.

At last week’s pedestrian safety summit at Elmhurst Hospital Center — where auto-inflicted injuries lead all causes of trauma admissions — Ellis made the department’s priorities clear. TSTC’s Mobilizing the Region reports:

NYPD’s representatives at the summit did nothing to dispel the conventional wisdom that the agency cares more about moving cars than protecting pedestrians. Joseph Ellis of the NYPD’s Transportation Bureau warned against "slowing down vehicular traffic to speed up pedestrian traffic – you can’t just do that. The motorists are unhappy."

According to a city bio, Ellis’s job entails overseeing traffic for film and television shoots:

If necessary, he will arrange a tech scout to visit the site, make further suggestions and execute a plan involving the least disruption to vehicular and pedestrian traffic – and he always reviews the camera angle to ensure that traffic agents are placed outside the sight lines.

It would seem that safety is not job one for the TIU. (Witness last year’s "Sorcerer’s Apprentice" crash that injured two in Midtown.) Still, if you’re wondering how an official in Ellis’s position could make such a statement, particularly at a time when pedestrian fatalities remain static even as overall traffic deaths fall, so are we. Streetsblog has a request in with NYPD to see if Ellis will talk about improving safety on city streets.

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