Thursday, February 14, 2013

Emperor Bloomberg

So Mayor Mike Bloomberg, after buying a third term in office, is now a lame duck. As a result, he's pulling out all the legislation he didn't dare put forward when he had to worry about re-election. Don't get me wrong...overall I think Emperor Mike, as some New Yorkers call him, has done a pretty good job in what has been termed the second hardest job in the country. I accept the idea that his motives are noble in trying to push through some of these ridiculous laws to solve real problems, namely traffic congestion in the city and the health of its citizens, but his methods are wrong. I give him high marks for even trying to tackle these issues, but in the end, he gets a grade of D for execution.

Let's look at NYC traffic. Is it a nightmare? No question about it. Does taking away traffic lanes to accommodate a few bikers (who flaunt traffic regulations) solve the problem? No, it exacerbates it. Traffic Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan must have pictures of Mr. Bloomberg in a lace bustier and fishnet stockings to get away with what she's done to this city. Nine out of ten New Yorkers oppose these dumb-ass bike lanes, yet they continue to proliferate. Do I criticize without offering solutions? No, and here they are: 1) Make public transit what it should be in the world's greatest city so more people will leave their cars at home. 2) Go to permanent odd/even license plate access to enter the city...inconvenient but traffic is instantly halved. 3) Rigorously enforce existing laws against double parked cars that choke our streets. 4) Set up taxi stands on corners to get cruising cabs off the streets.

The Mayor's latest brainstorm (yes, Janet surely has the negatives of those pictures) is to equip 20% of all new parking spaces created in the city with chargers for battery powered cars. Sounds wonderful for the environment but there are flaws. First of all very few electric cars exist compared to gas-powered ones. Do you know how hard it is already to find affordable parking in New York? Will these spaces remain empty while the rest of us circle the block, wasting gas and increasing air pollution, looking for a "non-electric:" space? Will gas-powered cars be fined for parking in these spots as we know that in desperation they will? If so, then it's really about revenue enhancement, not environmental protection.

Then we have the big health initiative...no more 16 oz. sodas, fatso. Again, the Mayor is attempting to take on a real problem here, obesity, which contributes to many dangerous health conditions and causes medical care costs to skyrocket. Heard a story about a woman who died overweight and riddled with disease after a lifetime of consuming 8-10 liters (that's liters!) of Coke a day. Her family is now suing Coca Cola for making an addictive drink. Good luck with that. Again, good intent but a faulty solution. My point is that people addicted to these drinks are not going to stop consuming them. They will just buy two smaller drinks. No health improvement and now, more cans/cups to recycle. Who knows, maybe this too is about increased city revenue through sales taxes.

The Mayor has done some good things like closing Times Square to traffic so money spending tourists can take pictures to their heart's content. Also, his recent proposal to ban Styrofoam cups and containers makes good sense to me. But the bike lanes and soda restrictions...swing and a miss.


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2 comments:

Joseph Del Broccolo said...

Hizzoner deserves credit for being the ONLY public official who has tried to do something about the issues you mention, and even if they are off-base, they merit consideration so we can begin to find some kind of solutions.

The Whiner said...

I hate those damn bike lanes. Every time I go to NYU all I can think is why would anyine take away a traffic lane in this city?