Yesterday’s big news was The New Yorker’s must-see 6,000-word door stop on the epic battle for safety on the streets.
Danyoung Kim’s piece certainly hit all the right notes, giving a voice and a moral megaphone to our city’s small army of Families for Safe Streets volunteers. And we certainly enjoyed the rapier thrust of a quote from our founding editor Aaron Naparstek: “No one ever considers the car a weapon. The rule of thumb I’ve learned over the years is that if you ever want to murder someone in New York, do it with a car.
But allow us a quibble? In seeking to document the history of the safe streets movement, Kim has managed to decouple his reporting from one of the essential pillars of journalism: the news. Yes, the article was clearly aimed at normal people who need to be slowly weaned from a century of car-based Stockholm Syndrome, but people who spend their days and nights in the actual trenches won’t learn not much of the story. In fact, it may be better to look forward than to the past – there are many battles going on right now in the state legislature and in the boardrooms of automakers, battles that will determine whether our planet will win or lose the war on cars.
Our glass is half empty on this issue sometimes. Indeed, if our state leaders cannot even accept that insurance companies be notified when their customers receive repeated speeding tickets in school zones and our federal leaders themselves rush to green the electric cars, we won’t fare any better than the valiant campaigners who took on the automakers at the start of the automobile age. (Reminder: they lost.)
In other slow day news:
- Speaking of state lawmakers, Deborah Glick tweeted Thursday night to say that she and Sen. Andrew Gounardes’ speed camera bill (the watered-down one discussed above) did indeed pass the Assembly. We’ll have a full recap of the Albany session on Monday.
— (((Deborah Glick))) (@DeborahJGlick) June 3, 2022
- Two Council members made bold promises to Streetsblog on Thursday, with education committee chair Rita Joseph saying she was eager to explore car-free school streets, and transportation committee member Lincoln Restler, vowing to crack down on the signs, which was our main story of the day yesterday. (Meanwhile, the Daily News and the Post ran a story on Restler’s bill.)
- You can’t spell hellfire without “el”. (NY Post, amNY, Gothamist)
- The Post got a second day on “latte-gate,” thanks to the MTA’s insistence that the newspaper pay for public records that should be free in a FOIL request.
- Queens Council member Bob Holden wants car dealerships and rental companies to stop stealing everyone’s free parking. (New York Post)
- Times opinion columnist Farhad Manjoo continues to get the hang of it, this time focusing his attention on all but the free parking we’re handing out: Is a dependent metropolis like Los Angeles going to Disney Hall? without driving or parking there? But by requiring parking spaces in every home, office and shopping center – without requiring new cycle lanes, new bus lines or stations near every major development – the planning regulations give drivers an advantage in terms of cost and convenience compared to any other way to get around. around the city. We need all that parking because with all that parking we’ve made the car the default way in town to get anywhere.
- Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblyman Zohran Mamdani want to use cameras to steer cars away from bike lanes. (New York Post)
- Do you remember the shortage of personnel at the MTA? It’s in progress. (The city)
- The MTA has released its preliminary hours for the opening of the new “Grand Central Madison” LIRR terminal. We’ll have a full analysis on Monday, but amNY has taken first notice of what officials say is the biggest service increase in railroad history.
- And, finally, Jessie Singer had a delightful summary of Governor Hochul’s self-aggrandizing tweet about the gas tax exemption:
In New York, that means the majority of New Yorkers eligible for “direct aid” are wealthy.
And because gas taxes fund the buses and subways that low-income New Yorkers rely on, the poor will directly be worse off as a result of this “direct relief.” https://t.co/WOLmq59Zjw
— Jessie Singer (@JessieSingerNYC) June 1, 2022