Posts by Lisa Belkin
A slate of new traffic laws signed into law by the New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio yesterday represents the most sweeping change in memory to the streets of the city, pedestrian advocates say.
“It was a momentous day. The word 'historic' applies,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, which has long been advocating for all of the new measures, which include a reduced speed limit city wide, more serious penalties for failing to yield to a pedestrian, and a stricter policy toward taxi drivers who kill or injure pedestrians. “It’s a raft of legislation, the sum total of which is a change in the culture in New York.
The legislation is in keeping with the mayor’s support of Vision Zero – a Swedish combination of law and street design aimed at sharply reducing traffic deaths. Those who had been championing that cause well before this mayor was elected said they were still somewhat stunned that their message had been so clearly heard.
The 25-year-old gunman entered the crowded classroom early that morning, armed with a rifle and a hunting knife. Before the 60 students could really register what was happening, he’d ordered the men to leave, then opened fire on the women, shouting, “You’re all a bunch of feminists, and I hate feminists!” By the time he turned the gun on himself, he’d left 14 dead and 10 more injured.
This wasn’t the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2014, but rather the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal 25 years earlier. The shooter wasn’t Elliot Rodger, who felt spurned romantically by women, but Marc Lepine, who had been rejected from the engineering school and believed women had taken his rightful place. “I have decided to send the feminists, who have always ruined my life, to their Maker,” Lepine’s suicide note read.
Taxi drivers who kill or seriously injure pedestrians will have their licenses suspended immediately and revoked permanently if they are found to have broken any traffic laws, according to a bill passed on Thursday by the New York City Council. Called Cooper’s Law for 9-year-old Cooper Stock, who was killed by a taxi while crossing the corner of 97th Street and West End Avenue in January, it is one of several pieces of legislation the council approved that support Mayor de Blasio’s goal of eliminating pedestrian traffic deaths by 2024. Other changes passed on Thursday include increasing the penalty when a car “fails to yield” to a pedestrian who has the right of way, and banning such things as “wheelies” and “invitations to race” on motorcycles. The mayor has said he intends to adopt the Swedish philosophy and policies known as Vision Zero, which has sharply reduced pedestrian deaths in Sweden since 1997. Cooper’s Law was proposed by Helen Rosenthal, who represents the Upper West Side on the council, at the urging of Dana Lerner, Cooper’s mother. The driver who killed Cooper faced a $300 fine and three points on his personal license, but no penalty from the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission, a fact that Lerner calls “unacceptable.” Under the new law, a driver would not be permitted to drive customers until an investigation had cleared him of breaking traffic laws. And unlike current law, under which a driver must have two violations to be charged with a crime, simple “failure to yield” will be enough for a permanent revocation of a hack license. “That’s a good beginning,” Lerner told Yahoo News after the bill passed by a vote of 46 to 1 with two abstentions. “But it’s just a beginning. So many other changes are needed. This needs to apply to all drivers, not just taxis. Also, somebody has to be the watchdog to make sure that these things are indeed monitored and enforced.” Koffi Komlani, the man who hit and killed Cooper, has not worked as a driver since the accident, according to the TLC. He was informed by that agency that his license will not be renewed when it expires next week.
- Lisa Belkin at Yahoo News3 mths ago
The cab driver who struck and killed 9-year-old Cooper Stock on the Upper West Side of Manhattan earlier this year will lose his professional license, New York's Taxi and Limousine Commission said. Koffi Komlani’s license "will expire as of July 5 and … we have notified him of our intention to decline its renewal,” TLC spokesman Allan Fromberg said in an email to Yahoo News on Friday.
Related: Did Cooper Stock really have to die?
- Lisa Belkin at Yahoo News3 mths ago
No charges will be filed against the cab driver who hit and killed 9-year-old Cooper Stock, whose death has become a rallying point for traffic reform in New York City.
The boy's parents, Dr. Richard Stock and Dana Lerner, say they were told this news during a meeting at the Manhattan District Attorney’s office Wednesday morning, Dana Lerner said.
The circumstances of Cooper’s death – and those of other pedestrians who might have lived had traffic laws and street plans been different – was the subject of a report thismorning by Yahoo News: Did Cooper Stock really have to die?