As Streetsblog reported earlier today, there’s another politican roaming the halls downtown who is oblivious to the facts. This week, it’s New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez. Just two weeks into his term representing his uptown district where 80% of his constituents don’t own a car, he has taken a decidedly pro-car stance by protesting the NYPD’s ticketing of cars who “block the box” on 181st Street:
“If you drive 125th Street there’s a team of one to two traffic agents moving traffic,” Rodriguez said. Ticketing drivers instead of helping move traffic on the street amounts to harassment, he said.
Rodriguez has put calls into the head of traffic enforcement to hopefully find a solution to the problem.
It’s obvious that the problem is not the enforcement of the law; it’s the fact that so many people are breaking the law. Rather than blame those who block the box, Rodriguez would prefer to blame the NYPD – another easy target and a favorite punching bag of politicians in minority neighborhoods.
Does Rodriguez even know that these drivers are breaking the law? Judging from the newspaper’s account of his position, it’s easy to see why his comprehension of why the “blocking the box” law even exists.
As vehicles stack up at lights, drivers, hoping the line will inch up before the light turns red, inevitably get stuck in the intersection and are ticketed.
We hope that this isn’t Rodriguez’s explanation for why these drivers shouldn’t be ticketed, and it’s simply a lack of understanding of the law on the part of Manhattan Times’ writer Daniel Bader. After all, drivers are breaking the law if they enter the intersection without adequate space to clear the intersection.
Of course, in a month where we’ve seen politicians mislead, deflect blame, and outright lie to justify positions that inconvenience and endanger those without cars, it’s not surprising that Rodriguez caught the bug that makes him just another run-of-the-mill politician.