Poll: NYC Blames Bloomberg for Failure to Deal With Traffic

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A Broken Street: Broadway north of Houston St. on an August Friday. New Yorkers want the Mayor to fix it.

The so-called "greatest city in the world" doesn't even have decently-paved streets, let alone cutting edge transportation features like bus rapid transit, neighborhood traffic calming plans or bicycle-friendly avenues. It may be time to consider planning and transportation policy as Board of Education-type problems, where a top-to-bottom overhaul of city agencies is needed.

-- Jon Orcutt, executive director, Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

An important new survey says that New Yorkers believe that traffic congestion is a major problem plaguing New York City and that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is dong an inadequate job in addressing it.

According to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign's telephone survey of 800 New Yorkers:

59% of New Yorkers say the mayor is doing only a "fair" to "poor" job of reducing traffic jams and delays on city streets, highways and bridges. On only one other issue, increasing the stock of affordable housing, does the Mayor receive a higher net negative rating (60%). Mayor Bloomberg receives the highest net positive marks for keeping parks clean and safe (63%) and reducing crime (57%).

These findings come from a random telephone survey of 800 New York City residents in the five boroughs conducted May 19 through June 4, 2006, by Michaels Opinion Research. "The daily grind of gridlock and its impact rarely makes headlines, but the survey results show that New Yorkers have strong opinions about the problem and expect more action from Mayor Bloomberg to solve it," said Maureen Michaels, president of Michaels Opinion Research.

Discontent with the Mayor's performance on traffic congestion cuts across most segments of the city's population, but residents of Staten Island appear especially angry about traffic jams and delays 82% give an overall negative rating to the mayor, despite his announcement of a new transportation plan for the borough this spring.

  • While 62% of motor vehicle owners give the Mayor a negative rating on reducing traffic jams and delays throughout the city, non-vehicle owners are not satisfied with his performance either (56% negative), nor are those who drive to work (70% negative).
  • Dissatisfaction with the Mayor's performance on traffic issues also cuts across age and income groups, though a solid third of middle and upper income residents give intensely negative ratings (33%-36% rate the job he is doing on traffic issues as "poor").
  • And among the working population, 59% of those who work below 60th Street in Manhattan and 67% of those working outside Manhattan say the Mayor has done, at best, a fair-to-poor job reducing traffic on city streets, highways and bridges.

"Let's face it, the Bloomberg administration has accomplished next to nothing on traffic problems since taking office. A few potentially promising initiatives, like speeding buses through traffic and enforcing truck routes, seem stuck as endless studies," said Kate Slevin, associate director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, sponsor of the survey project.

Download the full report, here.

Video still by Clarence Eckerson