Loathsome nanny-state mayor launches new initiative: Getting people to take the stairs instead of the elevator

I hate saying it, but it’s the truth and I think it needs to be said: Weiner really would be an improvement over this tool in all probability, if only because he’d re-order public priorities in a marginally saner way.

That’s the point we’ve come to. A guy known mainly for DMing pictures of his junk to fans on Twitter would bring a comparatively healthy sense of perspective and good judgment to the job of mayor.

City officials announced a new initiative this afternoon aimed at encouraging office workers to take the stairs instead of waiting for the elevator. Under legislation proposed by the mayor, all new buildings and buildings undergoing major renovation would be required to give occupants access to at least one stairwell, as well as post signs near elevators pointing to nearby stairs…

“Whether you’re tall or short, fat or thin, you’ll be healthier and you’ll live longer if you’re more active. But the problem is we’ve been lulled into a sedentary lifestyle,” said Department of Design and Construction Commissioner David Burney at a Manhattan press conference at The New School. In too many buildings, the stairs are hard to find, kept locked, armed with alarms, or dark and windowless–making people afraid to use them, Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said. The programs are designed to change that, he said…

Mr. Bloomberg, who said he personally almost always uses the stairs–and doesn’t stand still when he’s on an escalator–said that part of the challenge was to make being active hipper for young people across the city.

What we’ve got to do is just make it cool–if you will–or socially more the norm to exercise, and that’s what you see here,” he explained. “The whole idea is not to change what you have to do, but to give you the idea and the impetus to do something that is in your best interest.”

Mike Bloomberg — making climbing the stairs “cool” since 2013. Dan Amira at New York mag notes the silver lining here, that for once Bloomy’s not trying to take your options away but rather granting you an extra option. True, but you can’t view his brand of nannyism piecemeal. The cumulative effect (and, I’d say, design) of Bloomberg’s various initiatives is to make the public more comfortable with the idea of government micro-managing their health. These are baby steps, like San Francisco trying to ban Happy Meals. They might not stay so baby-ish. In fact, when I tweeted my point about how maybe Weiner’s not so bad vis-a-vis Bloomy, James Poulos tweeted back, “I fear that Weiner will just expand to fill the enormous cavity that Bloomberg has created.” Bingo. Why wouldn’t he? What self-respecting liberal would cede back regulatory power grabbed by his predecessor in the name of “health,” especially with the public increasingly aware of the dangers of obesity? This ratchet, like so many others, goes only one way.

Meanwhile, Katrina Trinko notes that New Yorkers already take the stairs every day when they use the subway. Related exit question: How many Manhattanites work in offices located on, say, their building’s fifth floor or lower? Relatively few, I’d guess. How many flights of stairs does Bloomy imagine people are going to want to climb here?