The Ferry Crash: The Proper Tribute To A Tragedy

1 2

We suggest that this D.O.T. be completely re-organized and re-prioritized according to NYC’s pressing security and safety needs.  Additionally we are recommending two separate agencies be formed:  One To maintain our city's bridges. The other to operate the city's ferry fleet.

Our thinking is that those seeking to maintain the structural integrity of all NYC bridges, including the east river bridges should not have to compete for resources with those seeking to fill potholes. Additionally, the creation of an agency responsible for operating the city’s ferry fleet with a mandate for promoting increased ferry traffic in our harbor and rivers as a way to relieve auto congestion is long overdue. Manhattan is after all an island, and our waterways are a vastly underutilized transportation corridor. A new agency needs to be formed to promote maritime travel. This new agency will also have a well-rehearsed emergency evacuation in place.

In what is currently the DOT we are suggesting a completely different organization--one that is geared towards human being and not automobiles. As this agency is responsible for maintaining all signals, practically, what this means is that all traffic lights in NYC will now be timed with a priority given to the safety of people crossing instead of the convenience of cars going through them. Re-timing signals based on human needs instead of auto convenience will be the most positive change in how this city feels in recent memory. Immediately the city will become a safer ­and we would suggest a friendlier­  place. Over a period of a decade, we estimate that this will save thousands of lives and prevent even more injuries.

The reason this will save so many lives is because there is a public health threat facing the residents of NYC that is so large it is almost impossible to see. We are of course talking about the patterned regularity with which people are mowed down by automobile drivers.  Every 27 or so minutes a pedestrian is slammed to the ground so hard they can’t get up. This is the result of current DOT’s policies that over a period years have allowed cars to totally take over our urban environment.

The newly organized DOT will work to reverse the years of windshield perspective transportation policy. With an emphasis on human needs and a reprioritization of streets use.

1. Emergency Vehicles
2. Mass Transit (busses)
3. Personal transit (Bicycles, Segways, rollerblades etc)
4. Commercial (includes medallion taxis)
5. Private automobiles (further prioritized according to efficiency)

This prioritization would dovetail with a lane on arterial streets reserved for the use of vehicles responding to emergencies. This can leave emergency vehicles the necessary corridors they need within the grid to get to emergencies quickly. As this lane can then be utilized by cyclists, rollerbladers, and Segways during non-emergency use and provide the necessary space for people to safely travel who choose a non polluting way to move around it will also serve to rebalance some of our public space known as streets.

Albert Einstein who studied the traffic of electrons said “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction”. What happened on that ship was a violent tragedy.  It ruined lives, it destroyed families, and, what’s worse, it was completely avoidable. The only fitting tribute for those who perished is for the capable Bloomberg administration to summon the courage and move in the opposite direction.