March/April 1998, p.2

Provocateur: To The Barricades!

Read the latest news about this issue.

The barricading of twenty crosswalks in Midtown and the mayor's subsequent call for a jaywalking crackdown prompted a wider discussion of the role of the car in the city. Here is what various pols, pundits and press people said.

Cars Are Desirable
Cars are a desirable form of transportation and you want to make New York City an attractive place. There are transportation advocates that hate cars, that are anti-car. There are these people that any change happens, and they immediately become hysterical.
- Rudolph Giuliani, Daily News, 12/26/97

Natives in Hogpens
The natives were already trying to break out of the hogpens…they have given the city a nightmare and diverted hundreds of cops. For what? To encourage more cars into an already car-choked city? Nothing about these barriers make sense, especially as the city's transit system is at the dawn of a historic era of weekly and monthly passes. Whatever happened to the idea that this city belongs to those who live here and who daily walk its streets?
- Dennis Dugan, columnist, Newsday, 12/30/97

Car Enthusiast
His enthusiasm for cars has been demonstrated in many ways, from his championing of auto-dependent super-stores to his pooh-poohing of new mass transit discount passes that might lure motorists into the subways.
- Clyde Haberman, columnist, NY Times, 12/30/98

Not Lawbreakers
Yo, Mayor Rudy: if you think "hubris" is some trendy Middle Eastern dish, consider the mess you've made of the pedestrian barricades... Mr. Mayor, pedestrians are not lawbreakers. Don't cramp our style with the single-minded intensity you turned on the squeegee men.
-Steve Cuozzo, editor, NY Post, 12/31/97

When an ambulance is delayed in traffic, people die. For that, I will inconvenience pedestrians.
- Rudolph Giuliani, NY Post, 1/9/98

Empathizing With Cars
You'd think Giuliani would have some sympathy for this pedestrian predicament. After all, we walkers aren't polluting or jamming our horns. Rare is the biped with an all-night car alarm. Yet, somehow our mayor left his heart in Detroit. First the barricades. Now this. Blame it on his shiny hood: he empathizes with cars.…It's hard enough for us pedestrians to get around without laws criminalizing our attempts to cross in safety.
- Lenore Skenazy, columnist, Daily News, 1/13/98

This is insane. He has taken away my street.
- Melvyn Kaufman, owner of Sage Realty on why he is suing
the Mayor over the barricades. Daily News 1/13/97

Utter Disregard
Part of what has happened with the pedestrian barriers is some people showing utter disregard for the rights and safety of other people.
- Rudolph Giuliani, Daily News,

Jester's Costume
If he goes ahead with the plan, he might as well deliver his address in a jester's costume, complete with belled cap and elf shoes. Yes, jaywalking is against the law. So is double parking. And running a red light. And failing to yield to pedestrians. And speeding. And otherwise driving recklessly. Where's the crackdown on all that?
- Editorial, Daily News, 1/13/98