New York City 2030. London Today.

ken_livingstone.jpgOn Thursday, as New York City’s highest ranking transportation officials argued before City Council that the city’s increasing traffic congestion and automobile dependence is "an indication of the vitality and the growth of the city of New York," London’s Mayor Ken Livingstone was in Davos, Switzerland announcing that he aims "to make London the world’s leading center for research and financial development on climate change." Livingstone said:

Cities produce 75 per cent of global carbon emissions and it is therefore in cities that the battle against climate change will have to be won… Climate change is a tremendous challenge to humanity. But for London it is also a tremendous opportunity. The world is shifting to a new technical and financial system in which we do not produce and waste energy, in the form of carbon, but must conserve it. London has the potential to be at the centre of this shift.

Mayor Bloomberg and Senator Charles Schumer (who happens to be married to New York City’s highest ranking transportation official) are also focused on financial systems. They continue to use their clout to press the case that New York City is "losing its leading competitive position" to London and other world cities due to onerous corporate financial regulations. Financial journalist James Surowiecki, in this week’s New Yorker, writes that it is difficult to find evidence to back up these claims.

Meanwhile, the evidence that climate change is human-induced and happening much faster than previously thought, is increasingly abundant. But for Bloomberg, Schumer and Weinshall, climate change either is not on the radar at all, or it’s an issue to be dealt with far off in the future. So, as Mayor Livingstone positions his city to be a 21st century global leader, New York City’s leaders, remarkably, fiddle with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and keep the traffic moving.

  • jk

    You wrote that Bloomberg et al “Keep the traffic moving.” The really sorry thing is they don’t.

    Despite all that tweaking and tuning of traffic signals, new turning bays, optimized (for motor vehicles) bridge and tunnel access ramps — and all that sacrifice of neighborhoods and degredation of the walking city — traffic is only getting worse.

  • The Mayor, and particularly the current DOT leadership, fail to understand that, while we have the most walkable and transit riding city in the US, their favoritism toward the automobile is making the life of pedestrians and transit riders increasingly unpleasant and dangerous. Congestion pricing is the obvious solution to the fact that more and more motorists are forcing their way into our limited streetspace. The Mayor is ‘way off mark to equate auto congestion with prosperity. Peole do not shop from their cars in Manhattan. We are not a drive-in shopping mall. See the vision42 proposal at http://www.vision42.org.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

London Calling. Are New York’s Leaders Really Listening?

|
London officials closed the northern side of Trafalgar Square to traffic creating a vibrant new public space. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Senator Chuck Schumer argue that New York City risks losing its place of global pre-eminence in a Wall Street Journal editorial yesterday. The editorial is a response to growing conventional wisdom that says London […]

Mayor Livingstone: $50 to Drive an SUV into Central London

|
London Mayor Ken Livingstone said yesterday that he wants to introduce an emissions-based congestion charging fee in an attempt to reduce his city’s carbon dioxide output and to encourage cleaner transportation. The mayor’s proposal is to charge the heaviest polluting vehicles emitting 225 grams of CO2 per kilometer, a £25 fee to drive into London’s Central Business District. At today’s […]

An English Plan in New York

|
The once traffic-filled street between Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery is now a thriving plaza. Climate change is a greater threat to London than terrorism, one of the city’s top planners said yesterday. Debbie McMullen (right), a one-time New Yorker who heads implementation of the "London Plan," made this matter-of-fact announcement at a Tuesday […]

Livingstone: Businesses Led on Congestion Charge

|
  Fearing that London’s ever-worsening traffic congestion would drive industry to other European cities, business leaders first broached the topic of congestion charging for the British capital, according to plan architect Mayor Ken Livingstone. At a C40 Climate Summit panel entitled "Beating Congestion & Surviving Your Next Election," Livingstone said Tuesday that the business group […]

John Liu Says He Supports Congestion Pricing

|
Some actual news came out of this morning’s congestion pricing forum with London Deputy Mayor Nicky Gavron, the one event that Streetsblog’s reporting team decided to skip this week. Queens City Council Member John Liu publicly stated that he supports congestion pricing. New York Times reporter Sewell Chan reports for the EmpireZone blog: Mr. Liu, […]