Death, taxes — and traffic?


If Benjamin Franklin had been living in 21st-century New York City when he wrote his famous line about death and taxes, his adage might have turned out to be somewhat less pithy. 

“Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes... and traffic problems”? 

Awkward as that line is, compared to the original idiom, it reflects yet another sad certainty of today’s urban life. 

Consider this. Some of the most vociferous disputes, appeals and outbursts in Riverdale last year had to do with traffic issues, and there were plenty of those. A woman was injured in a car accident on Riverdale Avenue last February and spent the next months campaigning for traffic safety. A fatal crash on Broadway killed another woman in November, near an area where the city had installed, but failed to switch on, traffic lights. Local politicians rallied in October outside the Robert J. Christen School (P.S. 81) for traffic-safety measures—and saw their meeting disrupted briefly by a near-crash. The North Riverdale Merchant Association received a grant for a study on beautifying the neighborhood—and after listing a few projects involving trees, benches and unpaved paths, devoted the bulk of its proposal to a discussion of road lanes. 

The new year rolled in—and one of the first developments it brought was a traffic mishap. A car smashed through the storefront window of a pizzeria in Riverdale and rolled into the restaurant. No injuries were reported.

In essence, 2017 picked up where 2016 left off. Holidays come and go, but traffic problems stay. 

Almost on New Year’s Eve, on Dec. 30, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz denounced to a Press reporter what he described as Transportation Department’s failing to respond to complaints about traffic issues. 

Contacted for comment, Transportation Department officials did not respond.