The Bloomberg administration has marked 15,000 emergency-help boxes for removal from the streets of NYC. In this day and age when apparently everyone (including their dogs and cats) own a cellphone, the boxes have become obsolete; seldom used to report emergencies but more than often (9 out of 10 times) used for false alarms. Moreover, and more importantly, the boxes cost the city $9 million a year to maintain.

Before they could be removed, the City Council must first remove a 1996 injunction that requires a help box every four blocks. Mayor Bloomberg hopes to have more luck with Manhattan’s Federal District Court in lifting the injunction than did former mayor/ current fool Rudolph Giuliani in 1996 when the boxes were first considered to be obsolete.

However, advocates claim that the red-colored, stand-alone boxes are essential to hearing-impaired residents who would otherwise lack an effective means of reporting emergencies. While city officials argue that payphones with enhanced 911 capabilities would provide assistance to the hearing impaired, the Civic Association for the Deaf and their lawyers contend that payphones are few and far between in today’s city. In fact, the scarcity of payphones was the very issue which prompted the 1996 injunction in the first place.

NY Times


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