By David Meyer
City Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez shamelessly exploited a visit to the scene of a deadly Staten Island crash to tout unrelated local new bike lanes Monday and should apologize, a local pol says.
“Our DOT commissioner just showed up for a photo op at the site of last night’s horrific accident, which tragically claimed the lives of three teenagers, to announce that DOT will be installing bike lanes and turning lanes over a half a mile away,” City Councilman Joe Borelli (R-South Shore) fumed in a Facebook post.
Borelli blasted Rodriguez’s visit as nothing but “shameless exploitation” and accused him of staging “a photo up” over the controversial planned bike lanes on Hylan Boulevard between Satterlee Street and Page Avenue.
Borelli said the bike-lane proposal, which the city Department of Transportation unveiled in June, “was strongly opposed by the community board, elected officials, and residents in community surveys.”
He noted that there are already bike lanes at the intersection where teenage siblings Fernanda Gil and Jesie Gil and 15-year-old pal Ashley Rodriguez died when the car they were in collided with another vehicle Sunday night.
Staten Island fatal teen crash
The crime scene of three killed teens while riding in a 2018 Ford Mustang.
City Councilman Joe Borelli called out Ydanis Rodriguez for “shameless exploitation.”
The accident had nothing to do with bicycles.
“This is the most shameless exploitation I have ever seen by a city official to push through an unpopular agenda he had long sought to see through,” Borelli wrote.
“In other words, when he heard of this accident, he decided it was a good moment to push more miles of bike lanes. He should resign.”
Borelli later edited the post to exclude the call for Rodriguez’s resignation. He instead called on the DOT boss to issue an “apology at a minimum.”
“I spoke with the [administration] and want to be able to negotiate on the proposal in good faith, and separate from this tragedy,” he told The Post.
DOT’s proposal would also reduce the number of auto lanes in each direction from two to one, according to renderings posted on the city Web site — although that plan would currently start 1,000 feet south of the site of Sunday’s horror.
A spokesman, asked for a response by The Post to Borelli’s comments, only said the agency is considering extending the project to the crash site. It’s unclear whether that would have somehow helped prevent Sunday’s tragedy.
Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez attempted to push unrelated new bike lanes instead of focusing on the fatal Staten Island car crash, according to Borelli.
The accident has no correlation to the bike lane.
Gregory P. Mango
The three killed teens were riding in a 2018 Ford Mustang with an unidentified 16-year-old driver around 8:45 p.m. Sunday when their vehicle collided with a 2017 GMC Yukon.
Police said the Mustang was traveling at an “unsafe speed” and that the impact with the Yukon was so strong, the teens’ car split in two.
In his comments at the scene Monday, Rodriguez acknowledged widespread opposition to the bike-lane redesign — but insisted he was doing the right thing by reducing the number of lanes.
“We need to make decisions that sometimes are not popular, but those decisions save lives,” Rodriguez said.