The announcement came the day after New York State's highest court unanimously upheld our right to tighten zoning regulations against sex shops all throughout the city. That was yet another major victory for the people of the city, who have seen first-hand how sex shops can destroy businesses and damage communities. And it was another victory for City government. Instead of being dragged down by the pessimism of the cynics, we have continually found new ways to improve the city for all New Yorkers. That's what the idea of quality of life is all about.
We've concentrated not only on the big things, like reducing the violent crime rate, moving people off the welfare rolls, and creating private sector jobs, but also on the so-called little things. Because the fact is that the little things are part of the big picture -+ and if we hadn't focused from day one on the problems that make a difference in the everyday lives of New Yorkers across the city, New York City as a whole never could have turned around.
In a city as large, complicated, and diverse as this one, when we don't respect the rights of one another, the city becomes disorderly, overwhelming, intimidating, and dangerous. But when we afford one another basic respect and accommodate each other, the city becomes a safer and more civil place, with more and more people optimistic about their future and the future of the city. Just think about what a big difference it makes +- and how much better it makes you feel -+ to ride in a clean subway car instead of one filled with graffiti. That's the difference between living in the old New York City, where people were allowed to disrespect one another, and New York City today.
Our new quality of life plan will build on our successes by tackling a number of important problems -+ while maintaining the gains we've already made in other areas. We'll work to make our streets safer by enhancing our traffic enforcement efforts on neighborhood streets, improving taxicab safety, and curbing reckless bicycle riding. And, through a series of innovative new strategies, we will also reduce noise pollution, clean our streets of litter, and encourage overall civility between City employees and the people they serve.
Of course, we're still New Yorkers, and that means we pride ourselves on our strong opinions, our sarcasm, and our sense of humor. I don't want to change that, because it's a fundamental part of who we are. But I do want to change, once and for all, the stereotype that defined New York City for years -+ that we ignored the long list of complaints that burdened New Yorkers and held the city back. Over the last five years, we've already come a long way. If we can go further now, we'll continue to progress, as individuals and as a city.