Cy Vance Wasn’t the Only Winner in the Race for Manhattan DA

Street safety wasn't mentioned in today's Daily News piece about Cy Vance, but Manhattan's next district attorney made clear that he intends to pursue, as the News put it, a "fresh agenda." And after Transportation Alternatives literally brought Vance and his opponents to the table to discuss the plague of traffic crime, livable streets advocates have cause to expect major changes come January.

vancememorial.jpgCy Vance, at left, with Richard Aborn at a Chelsea pedestrian memorial march in June. Photo: Brad Aaron

At TA's candidate forum, and again at a Hell's Kitchen pedestrian memorial march, Vance heard personally the heart-rending stories of victims of vehicular violence. In response, he issued a detailed plan to ramp up the vehicular crimes bureau, improve crash site investigation techniques and lobby lawmakers for legislation to clamp down on dangerous driving -- including graduated penalties for repeat offenders, so that today's speeding red light-runner isn't tomorrow's hit-and-run killer.

Vance has promised to work with NYPD to target high-casualty areas and, for drivers whose actions result in death, to forgo the arbitrary "Rule of Two" in seeking punishment more suited to the crime.

"After years of watching dangerous drivers who kill put back behind the wheel, we are confident the next DA is going to utilize the robust and varied resources of the office to implement comprehensive pedestrian safety initiatives," TA Executive Director Paul Steely White said Wednesday. Time will tell how quickly, and to what extent, these initiatives come to fruition -- and continued vigilance will no doubt be required. But after this campaign street safety will surely be a hot topic in many contests to come. For that, livable streets advos can give themselves credit.