NEW YORK CITY– Controversial plans to make every traffic light stay on green on March 17 have been unanimously approved by the city council and Mayor Bloomberg. “St. Patrick’s Day is a wonderful day in which we honor the numerous contributions that Irish-Americans have made to this city,” the mayor told reporters, “and in addition to our legendary parade up Fifth Avenue, we’ll be turning the festivities up a notch this year by seeing to it that all 11,871 traffic lights throughout the five boroughs will stay green from midnight of March 17th to midnight of March 18th.”
The mayor’s plan, which has been widely embraced by the city’s large Irish-American community, has been labeled “reckless and irresponsible” by others, like Rachel Waldron Cassidy, president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. “It’s bad enough that St. Patrick’s Day is a day in which an untold number of people will be driving under the influence of alcohol,” she said. “But now, in addition to being drunk, no one will know when to stop at an intersection? It’s absurd.” Kieron Slattery, president of the National Council On Irish-American Affairs, disagrees with Cassidy’s comments, saying, “There’s absolutely no evidence whatsoever that keeping the traffic lights green at all times will lead to an increase in motor vehicle accidents. Sure, maybe that would be the case out in the Midwest, where people drive very aggressively, but when New Yorkers are behind the wheel they have a reputation for being very patient and cooperative with their fellow drivers.”
Slattery isn’t the only one who approves of the plan. Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, a Tea Party activist, believes that traffic lights everywhere should remain green even after St. Patrick’s Day is over. “Telling people when they can and cannot proceed through an intersection is big government at it’s worst,” she said.
March 13, 2011