Bloomberg Strikes Again: Here’s His Latest ‘Get Fit’ Initiative

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Now that he has cigarettes, salt, trans-fats, and large sodas under control, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to do something about the city’s escalators and elevators.

“City officials announced a new initiative this afternoon aimed at encouraging office workers to take the stairs instead of waiting for the elevator,” Politicker reports.

“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,” the report adds.

Officials are proposing another bill that would “increase the visibility of stairwells” by permitting “hold-open devices” on doors that close automatically in the case of emergencies.

“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.

Health Commissioner Thomas Farley added that too many stairs cases are “hard to find, kept locked, armed with alarms, or dark and windowless–making people afraid to use them.”

The proposed bills hope to change all that.

It gets better:

As part of the effort, officials also announced the creation of the “Center for Active Design,” a non-profit organization that will be tasked with finding ways to design healthier buildings, promote public transit and create more inviting outdoor spaces for activity. Mr. Bloomberg also announced a new executive order requiring all agencies to use these strategies when performing new construction or major renovations.

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,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “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.”

Responding to questions regarding his so-called “nannyisms,” Mayor Bloomberg said his “get fit” initiatives are actually quite popular in the city.

“Somebody asked me the other day: ‘Well isn’t all this nanny … stuff hurting business?’ And I pointed out we had a record number of companies moving here, we had record-number of private sector jobs here, we had record-number of tourists,” he said.

“Stop me when you get bored,” he added. “I mean, these are things that most people like.”

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