Friday, March 1, 2013

Businessman Who Protested 1st Ave Safety Fixes: It’s the 9-Year-Old’s Fault


Community Board 11 endorsed protected bike lanes and pedestrian refuges on First and Second Avenues from 96th to 125th Streets inSeptember 2011, but rescinded its support two months later, when restaurant owners Frank Brija and Erik Mayor, who are also on the board, organized against the project.
Brija and Mayor, owners of Patsy's Pizza and Milk Burger, respectively, said businesses were not contacted about the proposal for protected lanes and pedestrian islands, a claim refuted by DOT. They also said the safety measures would make traffic congestion worse and increase asthma rates.
The board ultimately endorsed the plan, which had broad community support, a second time, inMarch 2012. Construction was supposed to begin last spring, but was pushed back after the board waffled. While it's impossible to know how the First Avenue redesign would have affected this crash, a narrower roadway may have saved Amar's life by forcing Carroll to make a tighter, slower turn.
On Streetsblog and Twitter this morning, attorney and Transportation Alternatives volunteer Steve Vaccaro noted that, had the project proceeded as planned, the crash that killed Amar Diarrassouba might not have happened. In response, Mayor tweeted: "Steve you are pathetic to place blame on us. The child was being walked by his nine year old brother who did not pay attention."
Time to recognize that there are consequences to the actions of these anti traffic calming NIMBY activists.  I hope the NBBL people and their free-service PR and legal professional enablers are paying attention.

It looks like there is a lot of blame to go around here.  But whether they like it or not, or accept it or not, some of the blame lies with the people who delayed that street safety project.  I hope it leads to some introspection.

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