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Hello, Operator? Why Are There So Many Jerks in New York?

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Mayor Giuliani recently launched the Gridlock Hotline (877-GRIDLOC) for responsible drivers who wish to tattle on their double-parking, box-blocking peers. Turning in scofflaws is always fun, but is gridlock really a behavioral problem? Can a snitch line do anything about the city's real traffic nightmares? We put in a call:

NYPD Gridlock Hotline operator 11, may I help you?

Hi. I'm calling because of the Holland Tunnel.

Yes, sir?

It's just really crowded. People have been cutting in line. And then other people feel stepped on and they start honking and then sometimes there's -- there's this smell. It builds up.

Right. Right. Is there a specific complaint you'd like to make?

Well, I just think we should do something about the jerks. I feel like all the jerks gather in the city. You go out to the suburbs and everybody's nice.

Oh, yeah, yeah. That's the way it is, I suppose. I know there's traffic gauges around the Holland Tunnel to try to alleviate the condition.

But there's gotta be some way to tell people how to do it right.

I will make a notation of the time and, uh, Holland Tunnel and all that. Are you -- you are -- speaking specifically about -- ?

Going down Varick, there was this guy yesterday just yelling out his window and honking. People don't know how to drive. If you could just nail the people who are screwing around, it'd probably make the whole thing 15 to 20 percent better.

Right. Right. Some people don't stay in their right lanes. I can call up the people who assign the traffic gauges and let them know. Perhaps that might help. I will do that.

Do they have some kind of ticket they can give to people just for being a jerk?

Laughs I'd like to see it myself. Maybe the City Council could pass something. Jerk is a relative term, of course.

Well, Rudy's the guy to go after 'em.

That's why we're here exactly. I will pass on your comments.


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