Brad Aaron: An Appreciation

brad_waves.jpgIf you read Streetsblog regularly, you know something’s been missing the last few weeks. Our most tenacious voice for a rational, effective legal system to keep city streets safe from dangerous drivers has been absent.

Brad Aaron stepped down as deputy editor earlier this month, but you’ll be seeing his byline here again before long. After decompressing down South for July and August (note: it’s hotter in NYC right now than Georgia), Brad will be back as a contributor, covering stories for Streetsblog while following a few other journalistic pursuits.

So this is no time for a eulogy, but I would like to submit a few words of appreciation for Brad and his service as a Streetsblog editor.

Brad has written about every type of transportation story under the sun for Streetsblog. When I came on at the beginning of 2008, he was adept at pulling out the weak points in legislators’ excuses for opposing congestion pricing. As our eyes and ears in Upper Manhattan and the Bronx, he stayed on top of the Yankee Stadium parking scandal and was there for the launch of Select Bus Service on Fordham Road.

But Brad’s also got an undeniable specialty — the traffic justice beat. His inner sense of how the rules of the road should be enforced and applied is unswerving and incredibly strong. I can’t think of a better term for it than "moral clarity," though I know he’ll object to the connotations. Brad writes about the preventable loss of life on our streets as an ongoing transgression against human dignity and ethical standards of behavior. A lot of his best work has helped explain why our legal system consistently fails to protect or provide justice for victims of traffic violence.

Before Brad came to Streetsblog, he founded and ran a weekly paper in Athens, Georgia. Now that he won’t be with us every day, I’m going to miss his editorial eye and knack for sharp headlines. A little bit of background on how the blog operates: Almost all the content we post runs through more than one set of eyes before we publish it. Headlines, in many cases, aren’t written by the person with the byline. My favorite headline penned by Brad, attached to a post with my name on it, has to be this one from 2008, about a lowpoint in Anthony Weiner’s posturing on transit policy.

Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this vintage Ad Nauseam post. Something about the kicker made me laugh until I had tears streaming down my face. Thanks Brad.

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