On Wednesday Mayor Bill de Blasio worked to turn attention away from his troubled relationship with the NYPD and toward one of his successful initiatives, highlighting significant improvements to an historically dangerous intersection with a visit to the redesigned and rebuilt intersection of East Tremont Avenue and Silver Street in the Bronx neighborhood of Westchester Square. The redesign and rebuild is part of his administration’s Vision Zero initiative.
Joined by DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, Public Advocate Tish James, Assembly Member Luis Sepulveda, Council Member Jimmy Vacca and NYPD Assistant Chief for Transportation Thomas Chan de Blasio then held a lengthy press conference nearby.
On Topic Q&A:
The on topic Q&A included redesign plans for other streets, especially Queens Boulevard, why the administration attributes the reduction in pedestrian fatalities to Vision Zero and not to regular year-to-year variances, how the administration actually knows that driving speeds are reduced, why so few street redesign projects have been done on Staten Island, data for any changes in safety at this E.Tremont/Silver Street intersection, why Commissioner Bratton did not attend, why there are few speeding and failure to yield tickets issued in this (45th) precinct, the negative effect of speed bumps on emergency response vehicles, plans for marking and painting of roads, whether the mayor will seek additional red light camera authorizations from the state legislature, the paucity of criminal prosecutions against drivers who kill pedestrians and an estimate of money received from speed camera tickets.
Off Topic Q&A:
The off topic portion of the press conference substantially focused on de Blasio’s continuing friction with the NYPD and the PBA. Question topics included the recent rollout of the City’s municipal ID program, an internal PBA meeting reported to have degenerated into yelling and shoving over PBA President Pat Lynch’s demands for an apology from the mayor and whether that provided “consolation” to the mayor, whether he takes comfort from the low number of PBA members reported to have signed “stay away from my funeral” statements, Bratton’s comment that the “well was poisoned” by de Blasio’s bring of former Sharpton aide Rachel Noerdlinger, a potential Teamsters strike at Hunts Point market, Governor Cuomo’s consideration of legislation allowing public access to grand jury minutes, the mayor’s objections to a City Council proposed bill outlawing police use of chokeholds, a reported Cuomo/Lynch meeting and what role the governor should fill in the Lynch/de Blasio dispute, whether the mayor is willing to acknowledge “missteps”, the reports of Legionnaire’s Disease in Co-op City, de Blasio’s reaction to a possible 2016 Mitt Romney candidacy and when he last spoke with the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Today Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference in Maspeth to highlight the City’s efforts at pothole repair. The city’s roads have been battered by a high number of winter storms and temperature fluctuations, producing a bumper pothole crop. The mayor’s press conference, held at 69th Lane and 60th Avenue in Maspeth, featured the mayor and Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg joining a Department of Transportation road crew in filling a pothole.
On-topic questions for the mayor included the cost of the pothole repair program, the furlough of seasonal DoT workers, the average time between pothole complaints and repair, the outlook for the rest of the winter, the number of potholes repaired, how potholes are identified for repair, the DoT’s road resurfacing plans in the near-future, how many crews are working, why this particular pothole was chosen for the press conference location, whether the mayor is enjoying “this aspect” of his job and an assessment by the road crew of how the mayor performed. Off-topic questions included the mayor’s proposed budget and the potential cost of open labor contracts, a timeline for settling the open labor contracts, the Build it Back program, the administration’s “comprehensive review” of the city’s Sandy recovery efforts, release of Bishop Findlayter’s arrest report, the mayor’s September promise to visit a carriage horse stable before acting on his pledge to ban carriage horses and the administration’s community development block grant application. Here is the mayor’s full press Q&A:
The mayor was asked three separate questions concerning the city’s ongoing efforts at recovery from Hurricane Sandy. The first focused on the Build it Back program, which is widely criticized for a slow, even glacial, pace of funding repairs. The second (from yours truly) asked about the “comprehensive review” briefly mentioned by the mayor in his State of the City address on February 10th. The third asked about the city’s community development block grant application, due to be submitted to the federal government by March 18th. Here is how the mayor responded:
Update – Pothole Repair:
Mayor de Blasio and DoT Commissioner Trottenberg filled a real live pothole; here’s how it went.
Today Mayor Bill de Blasio faced extensive, skeptical questions from the press on two topics: His decision to keep city schools open today despite a major winter storm and his late night call Monday to the NYPD concerning the arrest of locally prominent bishop and friend of de Blasio.
Toward the end of a lengthy series of questions on his decision to open city schools today, de Blasio offered this broad reasoning:
Update – Al v. Bill:
Mayor de Blasio addressed critical twitter comments on his school opening decision from well-known weatherman Al Roker. The question was posed by Newsday’s Matthew Chayes.
Update #2 – Parking Meters:
Mayor de Blasio addressed a lingering New York City snow mystery – why do parking meters remain in effect during major storms, even as alternate side of the street parking regulations are suspended. The mayor made that announcement today, as he has at every snow press conference. The question came from Dana Arschin of News 12.
Update #3 – Full Snow Q&A:
The mayor faced a barrage of skeptical press questions on his decision to open city schools today. Here is the full portion of his press Q&A devoted to snow-related questions.
Update #4 – NYPD, Findlayter & de Blasio:
Finally, here is the “off-topic” portion of the press conference, which focused solely on de Blasio’s Monday night phone call to the NYPD after he learned that a local clergyman, Bishop Orlando Findlayter, had been arrested.
Today Mayor Bill de Blasio met with families of several victims of fatal pedestrian traffic accidents and announced an interagency working group intended to implement his “Vision Zero” plan. de Blasio first visited the intersection of 61st Street and Northern Boulevard, site of a December traffic accident which killed 8 year old Noshat Nahian as he walked to school. de Blasio then held a press conference at Nahian’s school, P.S. 152, less than a block from the accident site.
Topics during the Q&A included details around the Vision Zero plan, funding for the September 11th memorial, the settlement of longstanding lawsuits arising out of the 2004 Republican National Convention, NYPD disclosures pursuant the Freedom of Information Law and Super Bowl security planning. Here is de Blasio’s full press Q&A.