What City Do Christine Quinn and James Vacca Represent?

In February, no fewer than nine people were killed by drivers while walking in NYC, according to data compiled by Streetsblog. The victims included five seniors and a 6-year-old child. Two victims were on the sidewalk when they were killed. Another was struck by an NYPD officer in a crash that police refuse to explain to the victim’s family.

A crash in Brooklyn killed a young couple and their newborn baby. The hit-and-run suspect eventually turned himself in, but because of state laws that reward drivers involved in serious crashes for leaving the scene, justice is far from assured.

According to NYPD, with 20 fatalities, January was the deadliest month for city pedestrians and cyclists in at least 13 months. Three seniors and two children were killed by motorists. In relative terms the 1,297 pedestrians and cyclists who were injured in January did not constitute a particularly high number.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has not said a word about any of these deaths or injuries. Nor has James Vacca, who chairs the council transportation committee. Quinn and Vacca did, however, issue a joint statement Wednesday, following this week’s transportation committee meeting. Here it is:

In November, the Department of Transportation proposed increases that tripled the rate paid by permit holders at municipal parking garages and fields. This is an unconscionable increase on working people, which we already stopped once this year. As we’ve already made clear when we agreed to allow DOT to raise rates by no more than 20 percent, we are not prepared to re-visit the question of increases again in the 2014 budget. DOT should withdraw this proposal in the Executive Budget and find other sources of savings rather than raising revenue on the backs of hard-working commuters.

It has been 13 months since the council held a hearing on pedestrian and cyclist safety and the failure of NYPD to properly investigate traffic crashes. Since then, some 17,000 pedestrians and cyclists have been injured by drivers, and approximately 174 have died in traffic. About 1 percent of those crashes were investigated by police.

Their unwillingness to address NYPD crash investigation reforms notwithstanding, how could Quinn and Vacca choose to focus on such a trifling non-issue in light of the horrible headlines of the past week?

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