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Don't Block the Box
by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani
Sunday, August 15, 1999

Everyone who lives in New York City, works in New York City, or visits New York City knows that traffic congestion is a serious problem.

In a way, we're the victim of our success. Our population has risen by about 100,000 people over the last ten years. Our economy is booming, and that means more businesses, more jobs - and consequently more workers travelling city streets. Three of the four busiest commercial districts in the whole country are right here in New York City - Midtown Manhattan, the Wall Street area, and Midtown south of 34th Street. And between 32 and 33 million visitors come into the City every year.

It's no wonder, then, that New York City is more crowded than it's been since we started keeping records on traffic congestion about 20 years ago - and is probably more crowded than it's ever been.

That's the bad news. The good news is that there are reasonable steps we can take to ease the congestion. Drivers should drive responsibly and obey all the traffic laws. Pedestrians should do the same - and refrain from jaywalking and disrupting traffic.

But I want to say something to drivers - whether you're driving cars, trucks or buses - Don't Block the Box!

When you block the box, you're not really getting yourself to your destination any faster. But you are preventing other people from getting to theirs. You're needlessly tying up traffic in a way that causes congestion to cascade into side streets and disrupts whole neighborhoods. You're showing a profound lack of respect for the rights of other people.

And, what's worse, you're preventing emergency vehicles - ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars - from reaching the scene of an accident or a crime, with potentially tragic results.

In the coming weeks, the City is will be concentrating on this violation. Police officers are going to be writing a lot of tickets and issuing a lot of summonses to people who block the box. Remember that blocking the box is a moving violation that carries a maximum fine of $500 and two points on your driver's license.

So the next time you come to an intersection with a yellow light, or one where the light is green but the street ahead is already full of cars . . . stop, relax, and wait for things to clear-even if that means waiting for the next green light. This is Mayor Rudy Giuliani.