Summer 1999, p.3

Now, Let's Put It To Work

Dear Mr. Mayor:

Thank you for strongly supporting state legislation that would give the city of New York the authority to design streets for speeds as low as 15mph through the use of traffic calming. Your support has given this important legislation a good chance of passing this session. When it does pass, you need to put the new powers it gives you to work right away. Without delay, your Department of Transportation should develop a citywide traffic calming plan and begin work on pilot programs immediately. Communities like Bay Ridge, Downtown Brooklyn, Greenwich Village, Hunts Point, SoHo, Sunset Park and University Heights and Highbridge are ready for major traffic calming now. They are excited that you will now have the legal authority to radically redesign their neighborhood streets to protect them from heavy traffic, especially trucks.

A little chat with your transportation commissioner, Wilbur Chapman is also in order. No doubt, he will be eager to put the City's new found powers to work. In turn, it would be a good idea for the commissioner to summon his staff, especially top traffic engineers, and remind them that the mayor wants to see some results from his legislative labors. Traffic engineers who have been straitjacketed by state laws mandating speed limits of 25 must be impatient to jump right into their new traffic calming work.

We appreciate the chance to share in this exciting opportunity to improve New York City's quality of life and win better conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Sincerely,

Transportation Alternatives on behalf of the 40 civic groups who worked for the passage of this legislation and the millions more who will benefit from the widespread use of traffic calming in New York City.


Will the mayor and DOT use the slow speed legislation that the mayor has so outspokenly supported in recent news media interviews? Or, will the traffic engineers at DOT continue to obstruct traffic calming, pedestrian and cycling improvements with tales of traffic woes and bizarre interpretations of the Clean Air Act? It is a challenge that new T.A. Pedestrian Advocate, Neil Scott will cut his teeth on. Joining him on the T.A. staff is Bicycle Advocate John Lindsay, who will cover for Bicycle Program Coordinator during her long-planned cycling sabbatical down the Pacific Coast. As for me? I love summer in the city. I'm the guy you see zipping through Midtown traffic with the little grin and dry brow.

John Kaehny
Executive Director

Read the latest news on this subject.

P.S.: Congratulations to two wonderful T.A. supporters, Alan Mukamal and Elizabeth Ernish, on their recent marriage. The two met while Elizabeth, as Transportation Alternatives Campaign Coordinator, was working with the Brookyn Committee, of which Alan was co-chair. We wish them much happiness in their new Carroll Gardens home.
Congrats also to T.A. webmaster and graphics man Ken Zirkel and his wife on their new baby girl.