STEAM PIPE EXPLOSION & FUTURE OF SCHOOL SPEED CAMS

July 20, 2018 at 5:15 am

A steam pipe exploded in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, raising many questions about the city’s underground infrastructure. What really lies beneath our streets? How do we rebuild? And is asbestos now in our air? We have the details. Local leaders and street safety advocates are calling on New York State lawmakers to take action to protect our children, one speed camera at a time.

Aired on July 19, 2018.

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>>> GOOD EVENING, I'M RAPHAEL P.
RAMON.
WE BEGIN TONIGHT WITH THE
EXPLOSION IN MANHATTAN'S FLAT
IRON DISTRICT SENDING A THICK
CLOUD OF WHITE SMOKE INTO THE
AIR AND DISRUPTING TRAVEL.
THE BLAST ON 21st STREET AND
FIFTH AVENUE LEFT A SIZABLE
CRATER IN THE MIDDLE OF THE
STREET, LITTERING THE
SURROUNDING AREA WITH MUD AND
DEBRIS.
FIVE MINOR INJURIES WERE
REPORTED, AND MORE THAN TWO
DOZEN BUILDINGS WERE EVACUATED
WITH CONCERNS MOUNTING OVER
POTENTIAL ASBESTOS EXPOSURE, THE
FIRE COMMISSIONER CONFIRMED
NEARBY DECONTAMINATION ZONES
HAVE BEEN SET UP.
>> APPROXIMATELY 100 OF OUR
MEMBERS, FIRE DEPARTMENT
MEMBERS, WILL REQUIRE
DECONTAMINATION.
OTHER MEMBERS WHO HAVE OPERATED
HERE MAY ALSO REQUIRE IT AS WELL
AS SOME CIVILIANS.
THERE ARE TWO DECONSTATIONS SET
UP NORTH AND SOUTH OF THE HOT
ZONE, ONE AT 22nd STREET AND ONE
AT 19th STREET.
AND ANYONE WHO FEELS THEY WERE
AFFECTED BY THIS, AND POSSIBLY
CONTAMINATED, CAN REPORT THERE
FOR EVALUATION AT THIS TIME.
>> THE PIPE SYSTEM IS OPERATED
BY EDISON, AND AN INVESTIGATION
I UNDER WAY TO DETERMINE THE
CAUSE OF THE BLAST.
MORE THAN 100 MILES OF STEAM
PIPING LIE BENEATH OUR CITY AND
THE EXPLOSION ONCE AGAIN PLACES
THE SPOTLIGHT ON THE CITY'S
AGING INFRASTRUCTURE.
NOW LET'S TURN TO SOMEONE WITH
FIRSTHAND EXPERIENCE DEALING
WITH THIS KIND OF SCENARIO.
WE HAVE THE CITY'S
TRANSPORTATION COMMISSIONER FROM
1990 WHEN A STEAM PIPE RUPTURED
ON THE EAST SIDE.
HE'S ALSO HERE TO TALK ABOUT A
PRESSING SAFETY ISSUE HE
RECENTLY WROTE ABOUT IN A "NEW
YORK TIMES" OP-ED.
WELCOME TO THE SHOW ONCE AGAIN.
LET'S START WITH THE PIPE.
WHAT DID YOU AND THE CITY, HOW
DID YOU AND THE CITY RESPOND
WHEN THAT RUPTURE OCCURRED IN
1990?
AND WHAT DOES TODAY'S PIPE
RUPTURE SAY ABOUT THE STATE OF
OUR INFRASTRUCTURE?
>> THIS WAS A SERIOUS EXPLOSION
TODAY.
I WAS DELIGHTED HOW WELL THE
CITY RESPONDED TO CORDON OFF THE
AREA AND PROTECT EVERYBODY AS A
RESULT OF THIS EXPLOSION.
ACTUALLY, WE HAVEN'T HAD A MAJOR
EXPLOSION LIKE THIS PROBABLY IN
30 YEARS.
BACK IN 1990 WE WERE PRESSING
CONED TO UPGRADE ITS STEAM
SYSTEM.
IT'S A TERRIFIC STEAM SYSTEM
THAT RECYCLES STEAM, USES IT FOR
HEAT AND FOR DRIVING COMPRESSORS
FOR AIR-CONDITIONING.
IT'S A WONDERFUL SOURCE OF
ENERGY, AND THEY SHOULD BE
RECOGNIZED FOR THE GOOD SYSTEM
THEY HAVE.
BUT IN THOSE DAYS IT WAS MELTING
THE SIDEWALK, MELTING THE
STREETS.
SO WE SAID YOU HAVE TO UPGRADE.
AND THEY DID.
THEY DID A TERRIFIC JOB.
AS A RESULT, FOR 30 YEARS, WE
HAVEN'T HAD A MAJOR PROBLEM.
THE QUESTION IS, IS THIS A ONE
OFF, OR IS THIS AN INDICATION
THAT THAT WORK 30 YEARS AGO IS
COMING TO ITS END AND THEY HAVE
TO DO MORE WORK?
>> WHAT'S YOUR SENSE?
THESE PIPES ARE WHAT, 86 YEARS
OLD?
IMMEDIATELY I MADE A CONNECTION
WITH THE INFRASTRUCTURE OF THE
SUBWAY.
ARE WE HEADING TO ANOTHER
INFRASTRUCTURE CRISIS?
>> I THINK THEY DID A REALLY
GOOD JOB OF UPGRADING 30 YEARS
AGO.
AND MY GUESS IS, I'M HOPING THIS
IS A ONE OFF.
THE INVESTIGATION WILL INDICATE
THAT.
>> ALL RIGHT.
NOW LET'S TURN TO THE PIECE THAT
YOU WROTE FOR THE "NEW YORK
TIMES" IN AN OP-ED ABOUT SCHOOL
SAFETY.
WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?
WHAT IS THE ISSUE?
>> AS WE WROTE ABOUT, JEANNETTE,
THE FORMER COMMISSIONER AND I
WROTE THIS ARTICLE FOR THE "NEW
YORK TIMES" THAT CLEARLY THE
PROBLEM IS THAT THE
REPUBLICAN-LED STATE SENATE HAS
FAILED TO RENEW THE SPEED CAMERA
PROGRAM THAT WE HAVE, WHICH HAS
RESULTED IN A TREMENDOUS
IMPROVEMENT IN TRAFFIC SAFETY
AROUND OUR SCHOOLS.
WE HAVE 140 CAMERAS SURROUNDING
A LOT OF SCHOOLS.
AS A RESULT OF THAT, THERE'S
BEEN A 63% REDUCTION IN TRAFFIC.
>> SPEED.
>> SPEEDING.
THERE'S BEEN, OVER THE COURSE OF
SEVERAL YEARS, A NUMBER OF
DEATHS AND SERIOUS INJURIES TO
CHILDREN HAVE COME WAY DOWN.
WE'RE AT RECORD LOWS NOW.
BY NOT RENEWING THIS, WE'RE
GOING TO GO BACK TO A SERIOUS
PROBLEM.
>> WHAT DO YOU MEAN NOT RENEWING
IT?
WHO'S NOT RENEWING IT?
>> WELL, THE LEGISLATION,
UNFORTUNATELY THE LEGISLATION
DOESN'T GIVE THE CITY UNLIMITED
AUTHORIZATION.
IT LIMITS IT TO 140 CAMERAS, AND
ONLY FOR A CERTAIN NUMBER OF
YEARS.
AND THAT REAUTHORIZATION CAME UP
THIS YEAR.
AND AS THEY HAVE DONE IN THE
PAST, THE STATE LEGISLATURE HAS
FAILED TO PROTECT NEW YORK CITY.
>> WELL, THE ASSEMBLY PASSED IT.
WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT IS THE
PROGRAM.
THE MAYOR WANTED TO EXPAND IT TO
DOUBLE THE CAMERAS, RIGHT?
>> HE WANTED TO ADD 150 MORE
CAMERAS, RIGHT.
>> IS ASSEMBLY PASSED IT.
>> THE ASSEMBLY PASSED IT, BUT
THE REPUBLICAN-LED SENATE
FAILED.
>> DIDN'T EVEN ACT ON IT.
>> THE SITUATION IS NOW THAT IF
THE SENATE DOESN'T GO BACK TO
ALBANY TO VOTE ON IT NEXT WEEK,
THE CAMERAS GO DARK, THE PROGRAM
THAT'S BEEN SO SUCCESSFUL, AS
YOU SAY, WILL CLOSE DOWN.
>> AND IT'S A TERRIBLE SIGNAL
THAT WE SEND TO EVERYBODY.
BY THE WAY, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT
CHILDREN'S LIVES.
IN THIS COUNTRY WE PROBABLY LOSE
MORE CHILDREN TO TRAFFIC
ACCIDENTS THAN WE LOSE TO GUN
VIOLENCE.
THIS IS A VERY SERIOUS PROBLEM.
AND IF -- AND THE MAYOR SHOULD
BE CREDITED WITH THIS TERRIFIC
PROGRAM, VISION ZERO, WHICH HAS
BROUGHT TRAFFIC FATALITIES DOWN,
AND TRAFFIC INJURIES, TO A
RECORD LOW AMOUNT.
WHEN I WAS COMMISSIONER, WE
TURNED THE CORNER BACK 30 YEARS
AGO, IT WAS AROUND 600 OR 700
FATALITIES A YEAR, AND NOW WE'RE
DOWN TO 200 FATALITIES A YEAR.
IN A COUNTRY WHERE THE
FATALITIES ARE GOING UP.
40,000 LIVES A YEAR.
IF EVERY MAYOR IN THE COUNTRY
DID WHAT MAYOR DEBLAUZ OWE AND
THE COMMISSIONER ARE DOING HERE
IN THE CITY, WE'D SAVE 25,000
LIVES A YEAR.
>> AND THESE CAMERAS ALONE, THEY
PROTECT CHILDREN BY AND LARGE,
CORRECT?
>> BECAUSE THEY'RE AROUND THE
SCHOOLS.
I BELIEVE THEY SHOULD BE
EVERYWHERE.
NOT JUST CHILDREN.
BUT THERE'S THREE WAYS OF
IMPROVING SAFETY.
ONE IS EDUCATION, AND THE
MAYOR'S VISION ZERO PROGRAM HAS
DONE A TERRIFIC JOB OF GETTING
THE MESSAGE OUT THAT YOUR
CHOICES MATTER.
SECOND IS ENGINEERING.
THE ENGINEERS HAVE DONE A
TERRIFIC JOB ON SOME OF THE
WORST HIGHWAYS.
QUEEN'S BOULEVARD.
WHEN I WAS COMMISSIONER WE'D
LOSE 10 OR 15 PEOPLE A YEAR.
ZERO DEATHS THIS YEAR.
ONE ON THE GRAND CONCOURSE.
THIS IS A TREMENDOUS PROGRAM.
THE THIRD THING IS ENFORCEMENT.
THE POLICE HAVE DONE A GREAT
JOB.
>> AND THESE SPEED CAMERAS, WHEN
THE COPS AREN'T AROUND, THEY ACT
AS COPS, BASICALLY.
THEY TAKE A PICTURE OF PEOPLE
SPEEDING AND THEY'RE GUARANTEED
TO GET A TICKET.
THAT'S WHY WE REDUCE THE
SPEEDING BY 63%.
>> THE PEOPLE WHO GET THE
TICKETS, 80% OF THE PEOPLE WHO
GET THE TICKETS DON'T GET
ANOTHER TICKET.
THEY LEARN.
THERE IS A PURPOSE TO
DETERRENTS.
THAT IF YOU LEARN FROM IT, THAT
YOU'LL CHANGE YOUR BEHAVIOR.
AND EVERYBODY --
>> LUCIUS, WE GOT IT, IT WORKS.
BY WHY THEN DID THE STATE
SENATE, LED BY REPUBLICANS,
REFUSE TO ACT ON IT AND LIKELY
MAKE THE PROGRAM END COMPLETELY
IN LESS THAN A WEEK?
WHAT WAS THEIR ARGUMENT?
>> IF I COULD EXPLAIN THE STATE
SENATE AND HOW MANY TIMES
THEY'VE HURT THE CITY WITH NOT
PASSING LEGISLATION, I COULD
MAKE A LOT OF MONEY.
>> THEY MUST HAVE SAID THE
REASON WHY --
>> I BELIEVE IN THIS CASE THEY
BELIEVE THAT THESE CAMERAS, OR
THEIR CONSTITUENTS BELIEVE THESE
CAMERAS ARE MONEY GENERATORS.
THEY ARE NOT.
THEY ARE TO CHANGE PEOPLE'S
BEHAVIOR IN A POSITIVE WAY.
BY THE WAY, NOT ONLY ARE
CHILDREN'S LIVES SAVED, BUT THE
MOTORIST WHO KILLS A CHILD, HIS
LIFE IS RUINED.
SO EVERYBODY IS BETTER OFF AS A
RESULT OF HAVING THESE.
I BELIEVE THEY SHOULD BE
EVERYWHERE.
I BELIEVE THAT THE GOVERNOR
SHOULD BRING BACK THE
LEGISLATURE, MAKE THEM
REAUTHORIZE THIS, GIVE THE CITY
ANOTHER 150 CAMERAS SO WE CAN
ALL BE A LOT SAFER.
>> TALK ABOUT THAT IN A SECOND.
VERY QUICKLY, ANSWER THIS, WHY
IS ALBANY RESPONSIBLE FOR THESE
LIGHTS IN NEW YORK CITY?
WHY DO LEGISLATORS WHO LIVE
HUNDREDS OF MILES AWAY FROM THE
CITY HAVE ANY SAY IN THIS?
>> WELL, THE CITY IS A CONSTRUCT
OF THE STATE.
THE STATE IS ALL POWERFUL, IN
OVERSEEING THESE KINDS OF
THINGS.
AND IT'S UNFORTUNATE THAT ALBANY
JUST DOESN'T LISTEN.
OUR COUNCIL PEOPLE ARE ALL
BEHIND THIS.
I MEAN, IT RAISES THE QUESTION
AS TO WHY ARE WE BE-HOLDEN TO
ALBANY?
MAYBE WE SHOULDN'T BE.
>> I JUST READ THAT THREE
REPUBLICANS SAID -- DECLARED
REPUBLICANS SAID THEY WOULD VOTE
FOR THIS.
SO THERE'S A MAJORITY IF THEY GO
BACK TO ALBANY AND VOTE.
THE GOVERNOR HAS THE
CONSTITUTIONAL POWER TO CALL
THESE GUYS, OR THESE MEN AND
WOMEN IN THE SENATE TO ALBANY TO
VOTE ON THIS.
HE SUPPORTS THIS PROGRAM.
WHY HASN'T HE CALLED THEM BACK?
>> HE SHOULD CALL THEM BACK.
THIS IS REALLY A NO BRAINER.
THERE'S NO REASON NOT TO PUT
THIS IN PLACE, AND DO MORE TO
HELP THE CITY AND OUR CHILDREN
ARE THE MOST PRECIOUS.
>> WHAT'S THE ARGUMENT HE'S
GIVING FOR WHY HE'S NOT CALLING
THEM BACK WHEN HE'S SO
SUPPORTIVE OF THIS?
>> I THINK HE HAS A LOT ON HIS
PLATE.
I THINK HE BETTER PAY ATTENTION
TO THIS ONE BECAUSE NEW YORKERS
ARE UPSET THAT WE DON'T HAVE THE
AUTHORITY TO CONTROL OUR OWN
LIVES AND PROTECT OUR OWN
CHILDREN.
>> HE COULD HAVE ALSO HAD,
DURING THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION,
HE COULD HAVE USED HIS POWER TO
PRESSURE THEM TO VOTE FOR IT,
RIGHT?
>> WELL, YOU'LL HAVE TO TALK TO
THE GOVERNOR ON THAT ONE.
>> OKAY.
>> IT'S AN ELECTION YEAR, AND I
HOPE THAT THE GOVERNOR DOES THE
RIGHT THING HERE, AND THAT
THE -- ALBANY DOES THE RIGHT
THING HERE.
BECAUSE PARENTS ALL THROUGH THE
CITY AND TEACHERS ARE ALL
RECOGNIZING THAT WE NEED TO HAVE
THIS.
I MEAN, DO WE NEED TO HAVE
ACTIVE DRIVER DRILLS IN THE
SCHOOLS TO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN?
NO.
THIS IS THE RIGHT WAY TO DO IT.
>> LESS THAN 30 SECONDS, LUCIUS,
THAT'S WHAT YOU HOPE WILL
HAPPEN, BUT WHAT DO YOU THINK
WILL HAPPEN?
>> THEY HAVE TO DO IT.
IF THEY DON'T DO IT NOW, IT WILL
COME BACK TO HAUNT THEM AND THEY
WILL PUT IT BACK IN PLACE.
CAMERAS ARE USED ALL OVER THE
COUNTRY EVGTIVELY, AND THEY'RE
PROVEN EFFECTIVE.
WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO DROP --
THE NUMBER OF FATALITIES HAS
DROPPED THE LAST 20 YEARS.
KEEP IT GOING AND KEEP THE
PRESSURE ON.
>> THERE ARE KIDS IN SCHOOLS
RIGHT NOW.
IT WILL AFFECT THEM DIRECTLY.
LUCIUS, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR
JOINING US.
>> MY PLEASURE.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

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