We wish you a very healthy and happy 2021. 2020 highlighted our vulnerabilities and the extraordinary resilience of New Yorkers.
In this grim context the changes brought about by the confinement were extraordinary : the Open Streets program initiated by Council Speaker Johnson opened 90 miles of streets to pedestrians and bicycles without the fear of being run over. The Open restaurants program that allowed 10,000 restaurants to use parking space to run their business and avoid bankruptcy delighted all passersby. People realized that New york without cars was so much more livable, with less pollution, less noise, and less … cars .There is no going back to the old model.
Our district was particularly well served by these improvement: 10 Open streets and too many open restaurants to count. Restaurant row on W 46th Street, was entirely closed to traffic. Chekpeds played a critical role in identifying, educating and monitoring the open streets in our district.
Pedestrians got a wonderful reprieve when 30 old phone booths installations were removed as result of a negotiation between DoiTT and our Council Member. More space on sidewalks, better line of sight, all positive.
And after a controversial guerrilla initiative, we are woking with DOT to design a pilot to install trash corrals to remove trash from sidewalks and store it in parking spaces .
Unfortunately the news was not all good: I wish we could vaccinate our streets in the same way we are starting to do against COVID. In the last three years crashes claimed the lives of 711 people. In 2020, we demonstrated one more time that air quality is atrocious in our community. With COVID this issue’s relevance was underscored by the role of contributing factors in the acuity of the illness. During the summer, Citywide the protest marches were punctuated with police violence that has seriously undermined the trust in NYPD. Our analysis showed that Vision Zero is not color blind and that pedestrians – the majority of which are non white – are badly discriminated against by the administration.
This sets the stage for Decision 2021. This year we will have the opportunity to elect a large number of officials and ensure Safety and Pedestrians are top priority .