Anti-obesity project focuses on building design

July 17, 2013 2:53:19 PM PDT
After nudging New Yorkers to stop smoking and eat better, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is at work on getting them to move more.

Do you really have to take the elevator? Wouldn't a staircase be better for all of us? The mayor says yes because we are city where only 30 percent of us get enough exercise.

"And what we got to do is make it cool, if you will, or socially the norm to exercise. And that's what you see here," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

The city's already put up 30-thousand green signs hinting the stairs are a better idea. Now he's pushing for more buildings like one at the New School. The staircase is huge and accessible. The elevators aren't such a big deal.

"It used to be once they invented the elevator, the poor old staircase got relegated to the back of the building," David Burney, Department of Design and Construction, said.

So not only bigger more prominent staircases, but a law requiring a window on the first floor of every stairwell and other plans are in the work as well.

The mayor is pushing for a new city council bill. It would allow buildings to keep doors in stairwells open rather than closed like they usually are now. And then to prevent fires from spreading, they'll be designed to automatically shut.

Taking the staircase instead of an elevator helps with blood pressure, arthritis and even cancer.

"Sure, it's a good idea. It drives me nuts when people get on the elevator and they just go to the 2nd or 3rd floor," resident Caitlin Hickey said.

Still there are those New Yorkers who see the mayor as interfering once again.

"Our mayor is crazy. It's good he's about to finish his period. I'm very happy of that," Eleazar Vega said.

"New Yorkers are living close to three years longer than the national average we must be doing something right," Bloomberg said.

The mayor also wants to require new buildings and major renovations to include at least one continuous stairway open for non-emergency use. A continuous stairway has flights right above each other, rather than stairs in one area on some floors and elsewhere on others.

There could be some exemptions for security.