New Transportation Commissioner: "We Want an Urban Success Story"

Friday, February 21, 2014

"This is going to involve culture change and personal responsibility for all of us” says Polly Trottenberg, new NYC Department of Transportation Commissioner. She talks to Brian Lehrer about the "Vision Zero" efforts to curb traffic deaths, how ticketing will be "a new priority" for the NYPD, and how her agency is responding to the snow. As of Thursday morning, they've filled 117,000 potholes.

Responding to the CBS story that Mayor de Blasio's motorcade was seen speeding and running stop signs, Trottenberg did not comment, but said public officials and regular New Yorkers alike "are going to have to take a look" at how they drive. Trottenberg also offered no specifics about where and how the CitiBike bike share program may expand, but confirmed it is a priority, and that she will hold meetings with the City Council to explore the next phase.


Polly Trottenberg

Comments [18]

Mr. Lehrer,

I think you may be on to something by recognizing that the automobile death rate is equaling the annual murder rate. (You gun control nuts have been pretending that there is an equivalence with cars, in terms of insurance and registration regimes, for so long that I'm surprised you hadn't realized sooner that this is a necessary step to lessen the real cost that is paid for "unrestricted" ownership, by the mentally ill and chronically careless, and use of transportation vehicles in this city.)

The Mayor, though he has been left out of the decision on some matters
[ ; ]
should seek to allow individual and corporate ownership of such vehicles by requiring the issuance of a "Certificate Of Need" for each new vehicle purchase (akin to the NYPD licensing for handguns and the "CON"s needed for new hospitals and advanced medical technology (such as MRI scanners).

The idea, like the "PPAACA" will need refinement and further "tweaking" (or is that "twerking"?).

Rest assured that, at every stage of development and implementation, if you like getting to where you're going - you will continue to be able to get there. Period.

(I don't think that anyone who is familiar with the growth rate for the number of legal handguns or hospital constructions in this city will deny the efficacy of the "CON" regulatory device.)

We may live to celebrate a city more supportive of human life and especially benevolent to our "most vulnerable".

Feb. 21 2014 12:11 PM
mgduke from nyc

As a senior citizen using citibike several times a day for transportation and for exercise, I encourage the commissioner to next expand the program to 110th street, which would benefit not only those neighborhoods but all NYers by providing bike access to Central Park and to the museums.

Feb. 21 2014 11:34 AM
Peter from Manhattan

Question for Polly Trottenberg, does New York City need permission from Albany to change the speed sequence of the "green wave?" If Albany drags its feet on lowering the city’s speed limit, perhaps the DOT can simply change the rate at which traffic lights change in relation to the “green wave” so that motorists can’t go faster than 25 miles per hour without hitting a red light.

Feb. 21 2014 11:21 AM
oscar from ny

..this is so ridiculous, this is another scam to make money from pedestrians and vehicles any freaking excuse now to give tickets be careful j walking, I read the new mayor is a hypocrite because his vehicle was running thru all types of stop signs, these bullies bouncer or secret service and cops are out of control idk who told them that they're above the law..don't these know that the city maintains most of these ppl who mostly are lazy and racist..the devil is so busy now all the way from the Ukraine to the city here to the dead mentality of these confused messengers of the wanna do something good try fixing the train schedules.. Try putting on more buses ..have more 24 hours store open, change that horrible here taxis it looks like the excorcist vomit.. Arrest all these yellow cab drivers for being racist.. Haven't they seem themselves?..

Feb. 21 2014 11:18 AM
Ian from Brooklyn

Nice dodge on the question about DeBlassio's motorcade roaring down the street, breaking laws. The NYPD are some of the biggest lawbreakers on the streets, I've watched as dozens of police have causally run red lights. No emergency lights involved, no rush apparent. Two officers jaywalked in front of my car two days ago, forcing me to break hard on an icy street. This has to be a culture change in NYC, starting from the top.

Feb. 21 2014 11:12 AM
Amy from Manhattan

It's not just traffic deaths. I was run over almost a year ago, & I'm still having problems, both physical & in dealing w/the medical & legal systems (mostly the bureaucracies!) How many pedestrians are hit every year and don't die but have injuries that can affect them for the rest of their lives?

Feb. 21 2014 11:10 AM
marjorie hirsch

The Commissioner ought to look at traffic patterns as related to the traffic lights. I've spent a lot of time in Paris which I believe has fewer accidents, and the symmetry between the lights, crossings, vehicular movements seems to result in greater safety for pedestrians. In spite of roaring motorcycles, I always feel safer when crossing than here in New York. We have a lot to learn from other cultures -- especially in relation to city life.

Feb. 21 2014 11:10 AM
Rich from Fresh Meadows

Love the show and commissioner Trottenburg sounds great. Please ask her what is her vision of scooters and motorcycles in the city as transportation. Huge space, fuel and parking savings, but they are not part of the past commissioner's plan.

Feb. 21 2014 11:09 AM

I live in Brooklyn.
Red light running seems to be the official Brooklyn sport.
Car service drivers are often the perpetrators, but Park slope moms driving Volvo wagons, or men in Hasidic garb are equally guilty. Everybody plays the game.


All the emphasis is on writing traffic tickets, especially in Park Slope.
Can we please get some enforcement??

Feb. 21 2014 11:09 AM
Miriam Winocour from Morningside Heights

In your discussion about potholes, you did not seem to touch on the fact that the plows were plowing in streets that no longer needed to be plowed. I live on West 110th near Broadway and all night long I heard the loud scraping of the plows on the streets that no longer needed plowing. It's as if they were doing it on purpose to create potholes and there was no thought involved in whether or not that street needed plowing. If they would have worked on the intersections, especially on the wider streets (crosstown, etc) and made it more pedestrian friendly, they would have been doing a good job. No one got out of any of the vehicles to work on the intersections. They just kept going around and around using up precious fuel and polluting our environment in the city wasting resources. I could say so much more but I'll leave it here.

Feb. 21 2014 11:09 AM
Matt from UWS

Feb. 21 2014 11:08 AM
Marilyn Skiles

Could you please discuss what if anything will be done, as part of Vision Zero, to change the behavior of pedestrians in Manhattan? I am both a driver and a pedestrian in the city and I am always amazed at the way that people walk against the light, just assuming that cars will see them in time. At times mothers will push baby carriages out in front of them, which is insane. It seems to me that this is as important as lowering the speed limit.

Feb. 21 2014 11:08 AM
mgduke from nyc

Glad to hear Ms Trottenberg's enthusiasm for Vision Zero, but for her to claim that NYPD hasn’t been ‘winking’ at speeding is incredible, unless you want to suggest that they had both eyes closed all the time.

The extent to which NYPD has refused to ticket speeders is shown by the fact that in their first month of operation the 20 speed detection cameras netted nearly 4000 speeders.

What is going to be done to get NYPD to enforce traffic laws?

Feb. 21 2014 11:07 AM
john from office

Wow a qualified white, heterosexual woman appointed to a position by DeBlasio! A FIRST!!!! and we don't have to call her Doctor this and Doctor that!

Feb. 21 2014 11:06 AM
matt from UWS

BRIAN -- PLEASE ASK THE COMMISSIONER about WCBS' report last night on the Mayor's motorcade speeding, not stopping for stop signs, etc.

Feb. 21 2014 11:02 AM
Fishmael from NYC


Could you ask about CitiBike extension to upper Manhattan? The Westside Greenway is an already well-developed, bike friendly conduit - why not at least station some CitiBike stations along that route, or any other existing, well-developed bike paths?


Feb. 21 2014 11:02 AM
Barbara from Jackson Heights

Why do the NYC roadways disintegrate so quickly causing potholes in cold weather? New England states and cities seem to have this problem more under control. The Koskiosko Bridge on the BQE is one big crater and still not fixed -- been this way for a week.

Feb. 21 2014 11:01 AM
Cynthia Herzegovitch from Work - East Harlem

PLEASE - PLEASE give attention to the overpass on the Bronx River going over the 6 train (South Bound - going to the Sheridan exit) and North Bound. Are we waiting for some one fall through. They did try once but they have all popped out and are also over 6-8 inches deep.

They put up the higher barriers after the tragedy that happen, in record time (good job) but allowed for no drainage so I am sure that has exacerbated the problem to no end.


Feb. 21 2014 11:01 AM

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