Is NYC’s “Sustainable Streets” Plan a Communist Plot?


This week’s Observer is running a profile of DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. It focuses on the speed with which many of DOT’s Sustainable Streets projects are moving ahead and seems to suggest either:

a) Improving conditions for New York City’s pedestrians, cyclists and bus riders is a Communist plot. Or,
b) The change that Sadik-Khan is bringing to New York City’s streets is akin to the Russian Revolution.

You be the judge:

On the ideological scale of transportation planning, her policies
err far closer to Trotsky than Reagan. She is decidedly pro-bike and
pro-pedestrian, and thus inherently anti-automobile, earning her
constant praise from the normally critical transit advocates.

This raises some obvious questions. If Sadik-Khan is Leon Trotsky does that mean suburban Westchester Assemblyman and congestion pricing foe Richard Brodsky is Josef Stalin? Will Sadik-Khan be exiled to an upstate gulag when Bloomberg is term-limited out of office?

All fun and games aside, as we gird ourselves for the Tony Avellafication of the 2009 mayoral race, the last two paragraphs of the article are worth discussing:

With many of Ms. Sadik-Khan’s key
initiatives, there is a potential lack of permanency. The same features
that allow the DOT’s projects to get in the ground swiftly could also
seal their fate in a future administration: The city has claimed lanes
of Broadway as open space with some epoxy, sand, paint, plants and
tables, yet a future administration could just as easily pack up those
tables and put lane markers right back down on the roadway.

This prospect seemed almost
incomprehensible to Ms. Sadik-Khan, who seemed to think that public
resistance to it would prove too great, the ease of removal
notwithstanding. “People are very protective about their public space,”
she said. “I think it would be very hard to take these spaces back to
the state that they were in before.”


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