Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Transportation Money and Mayoral Doubletalk

Mayor Bloomberg, posing as a faux environmentalist, held a press conference yesterday to announce plans to spend $71 million to mitigate City traffic woes. As the Daily News reports, the Mayor cited the effort to improve traffic as an aid to asthma sufferers.

What the Mayor left out, however, was that his championing of box stores and his purposeful ignoring of their attendant contribution to the City’s traffic congestion is a much greater threat to the quality of the City’s air than he is willing to admit. Real courage would involve standing up to his developer friends and supporting a box store moratorium. It would also involve supporting the skepticism of his own planning commissioners who are concerned that the proposed Gateway Mall will impossibly gridlock the Major Deegan and force traffic through local streets.

Neighborhood Shopping Ignored

Of course, the City’s hundreds of commercial shopping areas promote walk-to-shop options while also providing the City with considerable tax revenue and employment opportunities. A genuine concern with traffic, then, would include a comprehensive program to promote neighborhood stores. We’re waiting for this light bulb to go on in the Mayoral head.

Amboy Road

One of the most interesting side pieces to the traffic story is one of the areas that the City is planning to “study.” That area, one would guess chose for reasons of both traffic and politics, is Amboy Road between Arden and Clarke Avenues on Staten Island. It is also an area near the proposed Wal-Mart in Richmond Valley.

We’re guessing that this already overburdened local road will be literally crushed if it has to accommodate the over 100,000 additional vehicle trips generated by the retail giant. We’re also guessing that the City’s “study” will not be analyzing this new threat to Amboy Road’s passability.