The Streetsies

All in all it was a great year for New York City’s Livable Streets Movement. Here are the winners of our 2007 awards. See you in January…

  • Wrongest News of 2007: "Multiple sources say that Mayor Bloomberg has chosen Urbitran Chairman and CEO Michael Horodniceanu as New York City’s next transportation commissioner." Thanks a lot, Sources. You know who you are.
  • Fakest News of 2007: Tom Frieden Appointed DOT Commissioner.
  • Bureaucrats of the Year: DOT Deputy Commissioner Bruce Schaller, Senior Policy Advisor Jon Orcutt, Assistant Commissioner Andy Wiley-Schwartz and Deputy Director Dani Simons. It took 30 years but the bureaucracy finally figured out the best way to neutralize a pesky, loudmouth, know-it-all advocacy community.
  • NIMBYs of the Year, 2nd Runner-Up: Manhattan Community Board 8’s Transportation Committee. They voted to reject DOT’s plan for a vital Upper East Side bike connector linking the East River Greenway to Central Park because they didn’t like the fact that it ran through a car-free block of 91st Street. While they got points for defending their car-free block, they lost them when one member, expressing the general sentiment of the Committee, argued that bicycling is not "a legitimate mode of transportation." This is the same Committee whose members audibly snickered during the presentation of Rachael Myers, a woman who came to them seeking pedestrian safety improvements after watching her boyfriend step off a curb and get killed by a speeding driver at Park and 96th St. in 2004.
  • NIMBYs of the Year, 1st Runner-Up: Park Slope, Brooklyn’s 9th Street Block Association: They remained dormant as two fifth-grade boys and a 77-year-old woman were killed crossing their street and a sedan careened through the front door of their local diner. Yet, the moment DOT came forward with a plan to fix Park Slope’s most dangerous, crash-prone thoroughfare, the 9th Street Block Association sprung into action to protect their treasured neighborhood speedway. Their big objection? Bike lanes would make it more difficult for residents to illegally double-park their vehicles for loading and unloading. State Senator Eric Adams squandered his credibility defending the double-parkers while virtually every other elected official in the neighborhood supported DOT’s plan.
  • NIMBYs of the Year: City Councilmember Jim Gennaro, Assemblymembers Nettie Mayersohn and Rory Lancman, State Senator Toby Stavisky, Community Board 8 Chair Alvin Warshaviak and various other Queens "community leaders." On August 28, they held a press conference on the corner of Jewel Avenue and 164th Street angrily denouncing one the most holistic and well-designed Safe Routes to School plans ever to come out of DOT. The press conference was held just a few yards away from the crosswalk where a P.S. 200 teacher was struck and killed by a car just months before. If any of these shameless panderers had bothered to interview neighborhood residents, the local crossing guard or school kids and parents who walk across the intersection daily, as Streetsblog did, they’d have learned that DOT’s street redesign was almost unanimously appreciated and appears to have made the intersection safer and less confusing for everyone. It is worth noting that 2007’s NIMBYs of the Year are many of the same Queens elected officials who insist that congestion pricing will be a disaster.
  • Most Satisfying Livable Streets Moment of 2007: More than 650 turn out in Brooklyn to tell a stone-faced DOT Traffic Boss Mike Primeggia that the old-school, cars-first, engineer-driven, "incomplete streets" model of urban planning is no longer welcome.
  • Most Productive Junket: Primeggia joined Sadik-Khan and City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden on a trip to Copenhagen to meet with urban designer Jan Gehl who was subsequently hired to consult for New York City to help "work on a pedestrian and public space strategy much like what he did for London."
  • Worst City Agency: With DOT evolving into one of city government’s most innovative agencies, the NYPD earned top honors this year for treating the entire city as their private parking lot, Neanderthalish harassment of cyclists, failure to enforce traffic laws and a sickening unwillingness to treat pedestrian injuries and fatalities with any level of seriousness. Honorable mention: The Department of Design and Construction is rapidly emerging as the major bureaucratic bottleneck for some of DOT’s best plans.
  • The Year’s Most Appreciated Moment of Truth: A message from an anonymous NYPD officer to the Ungreatful [sic] liberal scum of New York City. "We do not summons our own. Take as many pictures of my auto as you like because I answer to no one."
  • Most Schizophrenic City Policy, Bronze Medal: The Parks Department clipping locks and seizing bicycles parked around the Forest Hills train station in response to Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC call to action.
  • Most Schizophrenic City Policy, Silver Medal: $225 million in tax exempt bonds — free money — for the New York Yankees to build a pair of parking garages containing 4,000 parking spots in the asthma- and traffic-choked Bronx. And, oh yeah, they’re building the parking garages on a former City Park.
  • Most Schizophrenic City Policy, Gold Medal: Zoning requirements that call for 20,000 new parking spaces on Midtown Manhattan’s west side.
  • Best New Online Tool: Transportation Alternatives’ CrashStat 2.0. Honorable mention: UncivilServants.org.
  • StreetFilm of the Year: Despite the less-than-thrilling title, Clarence Eckerson’s eight-and-a-half minute opus, Physically-Separated Bike Lanes was viewed more than 72,478 times. And the right people must have been watching. In 2007 New York City got its first, legitimate segment of physically-separated bike lane on Ninth Avenue.
  • Mass Movement of the Year: Park(ing) Day.
  • Interview of the Year: Mark Gorton discusses the ethics of automobility with Randy Cohen, "The Ethicist."
  • Federal Official of the Year: North Carolina Republican Patrick McHenry ridicules bicycles as a "19th century solution"… not unlike the automobile, light bulb and Pasteurization. Honorable mention: Transportation Secretary Mary Peters for her insistence that bicycles "are not transportation."
  • Streetsblog Commenter of the Year: Lew from Brooklyn. The more time Brooklyn City Councilmember Lew Fidler spent writing comments on Streetsblog, the better.
  • Most Controversial Streetsblog Item: Should cyclists have to obey traffic laws designed mainly for motor vehicles? Alex Marshall didn’t think so and his "To Obey or Not to Obey" column generated 125 comments, a Brian Lehrer segment and record-setting pageviews all of which left commenter Bike Vet to note, "This topic is utterly tiresome. Get a life."
  • Albany Dysfunction Medal of Honor: By the end of 2006 it was hard to imagine New York State government getting any more dysfunctional than it already was. Then Roger Stone and Michael Caputo, Senate Leader Joe Bruno’s team of dirty tricksters, were hired to make sure that no meaningful public business got done in Albany during Governor Spitzer’s tenure. They appear to have been worth every penny of Mayor Bloomberg’s State Republican Party donations. Thanks to Stone and Caputo, Albany is no longer just dysfunctional, it’s a full-on freak show.
  • Worst City Council Legislation: Christine Quinn’s City Council nearly killed one of the City’s burgeoning green industries by placing draconian restrictions on pedicabs.
  • Blog of the Year: Bike Snob NYC. Our mission for 2008: Unmask the Snob before he gets his book deal. Honorable mention: Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s Mobilizing the Region Blog.
  • Most Pathetic Network News Reporting: CBS 2 reporter Marcia Kramer’s TOYOTA "special investigation" of London’s "Flawed Traffic Plan" TOYOTA brought to you by TOYOTA. Dishonorable mention: The Daily News on bike fatalities.
  • Best Road Trip: Aaron and Susan Donovan’s Amtrak honeymoon.
  • Celebrity Spokesman of the Year: Musician David Byrne. Sorry about your bike.
  • Scariest Vision of the Future: New York’s first En-Suite Sky Garage. Honorable mention: Disney’s Highway to Hell.
  • Streets to Watch 2008: Prince Street, Broadway, 34th Street and Main Street, Flushing.

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