Mayor Bloomberg only has a few more months until his personal crusade to encourage New Yorkers to not die will come to an end, and he’s trying to get every bit of life-saving in while he still can. With most of his major initiatives already crossed off the list, today Bloomberg announced that he’ll be introducing two pieces of legislation designed to encourage the city’s lazy fat-asses to take the stairs.
The first would require new buildings and those “undergoing major renovations” to provide access to at least one “clearly identified stairwell” and to post signs near the escalators that “prompt stair use.” Perhaps they will say, “We know this elevator looks enticing, but did you know there is a way to get to your office while also sweating a lot? Take the stairs!” Or, “Avoid awkward silences with work acquaintances: Take the stairs.”
The second piece of legislation would allow the use of “hold-open devices,” which, as the name suggests, are devices that hold doors open. This would be particularly effective for people who want to take the stairs, but not enough to open a door.
The plan may superficially smack of the nanny-statism for which Bloomberg has become known; here he is once again trying to tell us — other people — how to live our lives. But the stairs proposal is different from most of Bloomberg’s famous (or infamous) health policies. Instead of taking away our options — you can’t smoke here, you can’t eat this, you can’t drink an enormous soda — Bloomberg is trying to increase them. You want to take the elevator? That’s fine. You want to take the stairs? Now it will be slightly easier. Feel like just parking yourself on the ground floor? Go for it. Scale the outside of the building like Spider-Man? Still not okay.