“New Yorkers want what they want, when they want it, but that doesn’t excuse the disregard of safety—this is not the Wild West.”
Bronx Councilman James Vacca was sitting behind the long desk inside the 14th floor hearing room at 250 Broadway as a hearing of the Transportation Committee, which he oversees, was just getting started. He had taken the reins, or rather the handlebars, as he so often does when the committee turns its focus on the state of cycling in the city, a subject that gives Mr. Vacca, along with a few million New Yorkers, a great deal of consternation.
Today, the committee was tackling commercial cyclists and deliverymen—figuratively, though they probably would not mind actually tackling a few scofflaw two wheelers if given the chance.
The hearing room was full and the overflow room was overflowing at the New York City Council’s offices at 250 Broadway this afternoon. Maybe it was the fact that this was the first elevator safety hearing since two New Yorkers lost their lives in elevators in the past year. Maybe it was the fact that this was the first oversight hearing on elevator safety since 2003.
This in a city where most people live and work in high-rise, all serviced by some 60,000 elevators.
The main issue of the afternoon was two new elevator safety bills proposed by the council: one that would require existing elevators to be furnished with more safety devices and another that would require elevator workers to be licensed.
“We require licensing of our plumbers. We require licensing of our electricians. And the lack of elevator licensing is a major loophole,” said councilmember James Vacca, a sponsor of the licensing bill. “It is also a threat to the safety of millions of New Yorkers.”
Here at the City Council budget hearing on public safety, Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta testified a few minutes ago that his department will begin closing “several fire companies” between the hours of 6 p.m. to 9 a.m.–a savings about $8.4 million.
Scoppetta later said the department will eliminate five fire companies, but the department Read More
Just as Christine Quinn began addressing City Council members in a closed-door meeting at City Hall about the appropriation-process reforms she proposed, another member released a statement criticizing those changes as ceding too much power to the mayor.
This is from Jimmy Vacca of the Bronx, and follows last week’s sharp rebuke from Read More