Commentary

ABOUT VISION ZERO

John Mudd — Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg went out with mixed reviews, his replacement, by progressive Mayor Bill de Blasio. In my opinion Bloomberg overstayed his welcome, having changed party affiliates to win a third term. He lived grandly in his Bloomberg-ian stratosphere, overlooking his minions. (Well, he certainly didn’t live in my neighborhood and he didn’t pal around in Harlem, the Bronx, or on Avenue D on the Lower East Side where I struggled desperately to save my little, healthy pan-Asian restaurant). Even so, I enjoyed his “greening” of the city, and my hopes were high that he would remove all the fossil fuel burning cars from New York City—we need clean air to breathe. Call me radical but: Give us more electric buses, trams, trolleys, and go-carts! Extend the High Line and deliver food by rail! Heck, add a rail system on the East Side, call it High Line 2, and drop organic meats and vegetables at the docks all along the shore! Put me on the city’s planning commission. Not hiring? Too “ahead of your time,” I bet. But hey, good riddance to colossal Big Gulps! I think they should go all out and outlaw all poisonous corn-juice sodas. Throw the corporations who are responsible for the pushing poisonous products in the slammer for murder; too many of us are slowly dying from what they market. At least tax it to death. What, outlawing the oversized soda failed? Applaud him for trying.

If you think Bloomberg was the wave of the future, our new Mayor, Bill de Blasio is going to break through ideological barriers for a more progressive, caring city! And I am here to support him wholeheartedly. There are always push-back against even a hint of change, but I am very happy to join your crew…I am sure you could use an extra hand to beat down the rebel rousers.

Now how about this progressive new policy, Vision Zero? I’m having trouble visualizing it. If I understand the program, it’s a crackdown on the Jaywalkers, the red-light running fools, and the box-blockers. We’re doing this to save lives… And bikers will require licenses? Will they need to pass a written and driving test? We do want City Cyclists, yes? The licensing is not in the plan? Oh, that was someone’s wish list? Good, I’m a biker and we do want to promote biking, after all, you have those Citi Bikes strewn all over the place. Don’t get me wrong, I love them, but I would love them more without the Citibank logo. The bike lanes are a great move and the personal “stop” and “go” lights make me feel special. However, the painted path marks are fading and the road is shit. What nincompoop designed the bike lane from 33rd to 36th Street? Make that numbskull ride a bike along those blocks. What about the anxious walkers who filter into the cyclist pathways? Yes, I have something to say to those pedestrians, “Get the @%$& out of the bike path you dopes, we’re riding here!” The wrong-way riders need to go, along with those idiot riders using cell phones while biking. Keep the cars from jamming biking paths. Potholes! We are littered with potholes! This past winter as did the winter before beat the hell out of the city’s streets. If you get caught riding in dim light you’ll be doing summersaults all the way home.

Not to be negative, but what I’m seeing in my crystal ball (and I do hope it has a crack in it) is the petering out of an attempt to change a cultural right. While walking home from a Vision Zero meeting, I observed, like a good, law-abiding citizen, the pedestrian traffic light twice in my 13-block walk. To ask us pedestrians and bikers to adhere to traffic lights will be as easy as reconfiguring the human genome. I’ll be damned if you take away my freedom to die or to kill others. FREEDOM! (Sorry, Mel Gibson’s Braveheart was screaming in my head.) We need to follow structure or anarchy will prevail.

Are you going to inundate us with subway advertising, safety posters at every crosswalk, and whatever else, to remind us not to take that fatal step? While you’re brainwashing me with your advertising to change my stripes and be the law-abiding citizen you want me to be, are you going to keep the box clear and arrest that knucklehead who just ran a red light and almost hit me? It was my turn! I had the walk sign. Like thoroughbred racehorses ready to jump the gate when we see the “walk” sign, we’re in the mix, we have no mercy for the car, truck, bus, or trailer—he’ll sit there until we get the “do-not walk” sign and the lane is clear. Dont block the box, not much of a choice now, you idiot! You should think before dashing from the other side to jam up the crosswalk.

I know you’re forever settling in as New York City’s mayor, and you have priorities, but would you like to see mine? Well, I’m sure you thought about these things and plenty more. Believe you me, I could go on for days…

My first concern is this gentrification nonsense: We need to build more affordable housing for people to live and work, not work to live. The term gentrification should not be the annihilation of an income bracket. Hotels are growing like weeds and snuffing out garden grown shit. I know New York is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and people from all over need to see us, but the city should also be a place for people to live in.

I have issues with capitalists involved in the education of our youth. Can we find a better pathway from education to career? Better yet, why don’t we find the truth in education and cut out the white washing? Can I tell you how angry I am that basic truths were missing from my education? Our future decisions are based on the information we learn as children in school. Charter schools in particular can be a dangerous breed. We need to teach our kids the truth even when it goes against our polished image.

Most importantly, regarding food! We need organic, non-GMO, farm-to-city fresh food to eat! Throw McDonald’s in jail! How are you going to promote a better food source in schools and to our public?

Next, how are we furthering the greening, recycling, composting, and energy conservation of our city? Are we planning to transition from unnatural to natural resources? Oh yes, I forgot, we’re getting rid of all cars, correct?

Although I could write for days, I’ll finish off with my small business concerns: I have none. My four-year business struggle ended with debt, sickness, depression, and suicidal thoughts. However, I am sure there are people with concerns. Many are being crushed under the cost of doing business here in New York. How will you nurture small businesses?