Today’s Headlines

  • In Debate, de Blasio Turns Lukewarm on Pedestrian Plazas (NYT, CapNY)
  • 2nd Avenue Sagas: The Jury Isn’t Out on Plazas, But It Is on the Mayoral Candidates
  • More Coverage of CB 10’s Fourth Avenue Vote in Bay Ridge from Bklyn Paper, News
  • Driver Dies After Crash With Tractor-Trailer in Canarsie (News, Post, WABC, WNBC)
  • New Video and a Ninth Arrest in Motorcycle-SUV Assault Case (News, Post)
  • Hudson River Greenway Through Riverside Park Set to Receive Upgrades (DNA)
  • Bklyn Spoke Would Like to Remind CBS 2 Reporters to Accurately Describe What’s on Camera
  • 2nd Avenue Sagas Takes A Deeper Look at MTA’s 20-Year Wish List
  • Mario Cuomo Joins Fight Against East 91st Street Waste Transfer Station (News)
  • Metropolitan Diary Has a Tale of Courteous Driving in Midtown (NYT)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Anonymous

    While listening to De Blasio’s answer re: ped. plazas, I could not wait to see how it would be handled on this end. I don’t know a ton about afforable housing, etc; but, thanks to Streetsblog and other sites/books, I can call BS when I hear it re: livability. If De Blasio is this laughable on ped. plazas, it scares me as to the other issues (still better than Llota though). Once again, a bad signal by StreetsPAC (although certainly a smart political decision) to back De Blasio in the primary. With an answer like his, what are the chances we see further forward-looking livability improvements over the next 8 years?

  • Ian Turner
  • Good morning everyone! Today’s going to be a great day for ripping into irresponsible public figures!

    Don’t forget to cover last night’s epic Twitter punchfest between the always-respectable Nicole Gelinas and the reprehensible John Podhoretz, with a guest appearance from the always entertaining Steve Cuozzo!

  • I’m only hoping he was positioning himself with voters of a certain type, but you know what? Plazas poll so well that I don’t see how he’d benefit from coming out neutral on them except to cater to a special interest group. DeBlasio’s ties with the taxi medallion owners (not even the drivers, mind you) could have toxic effects for years to come. The only brightside to that is that it’s a known enemy, not this amorphous blob of pro-traffic advocates that Bloomberg’s silently tiptoed around for most of his current term.

    (Yes, folks, we should always keep in mind that the only radical part of JSK’s tenure is the fact that unusual things were done in very curtailed areas, and not that the entire city saw the benefit of complete/livable streets redesigns. Lots of political hesitation still. We have a lot of work yet to do.)

  • chuck

    Hey – it’s the real de Blasio coming back! The Atlantic Yards supporting, bike lane-hating, windshield perspective, outer borough pol. Welcome back, Bill! Nice to see you haven’t changed.

    (And responsible people at Streetsblog bought that six-month campaign trail crap?) C:

  • Jonathan R

    Are there plans to relocate the streetlight that is right in the middle of the bike path, just where the southbound path turns inland?

  • Well, with these poll numbers at least I feel no particular incentive to actually vote for de Blasio in the election.

  • Anonymous

    Not trying to fight about it, but I cannot agree with your theory (positioning for certain voters): he is up by 50 pts and clearly going to win. I agree with “chuck” above: the real, “i’m a driver”, I don’t actually know anything about this issue BDB came out. Hopefully you’re right re: existing plazas; but if anyone thinks there will be improvements on these issues over the next 8 years, I think he/she is crazy. Also, BDB never really discusses environmental issues, which is another area in which we will see no improvements. I certainly don’t think Bloomberg is god; but on the two areas I happen to care about most (livability and the environment), I think he has been the been mayor ever and BDB will be a sad (for us) successor.

  • Well, it’s not so much of a plausible theory than a simile to a known irrational thing that politicians often do. It doesn’t make sense to me, either, because even if de Blasio once had special interest groups backing him, his enormously strong poll numbers should be freeing him of any puppet masters

  • Mark Walker

    Blaz on car-free Times Square: “Profoundly mixed feelings… The jury is out.” WHAT???!!! He doesn’t know what to think about the most important change of my lifetime to the most central place in the city? He’s keeping “an open mind” on one of the most positive livable streets improvements ever? I’ve never trusted him and this is exactly what I feared. For the first time ever, I am seeking out a third-party candidate for mayor. If I vote for Bill de Blasio, I’ll hate myself for the next few years. He is just Anthony Weiner with better manners — a lightweight, a weakling, a man I cannot trust. And probably a puppet of Steisel and Walden.

  • Voter

    Write in Janette Sadik-Khan.

  • Bolwerk

    Cheers to that. I’m glad I’m not the only one who sensed this about him.
    Too bad more people didn’t see it coming, because it’s actually the perfect election for a protest vote. De Blasio is so far ahead that there is little chance of pulling a Ralph Nader.

    JSK sounds good to me.

  • Anonymous

    I’m in.

  • anon

    Maybe that’s what he think he’s doing. He has the poll numbers, no reason to continue to pander to the minority of voters that don’t drive everywhere, especially in Manhattan.

  • Anonymous

    chuck (and Mark): As you know, Streetsblog is non-partisan and doesn’t “buy” anything from any candidate. I think the SB staff has done a good job of objectively covering the news and I don’t expect anything different from them with respect to the plaza comments at last night’s debate.

    And that other nonpartisan organization, Transportation Alternatives, has likewise done a superb job of forcefully communicating the unassailable and varied policy merits–and widespread popularity–of pedestrianization to all of the candidates.

    As for StreetsPAC, that organization’s launch this year represents the first foray of cyclists and livable streets advocates into electoral politics–a process in which our community did not previously participate (in an organized way). Remarkably, under the Bloomberg administration, our livable streets community reaped an enormous political bounty without paying the traditional price of providing funds and election day troops for the administration. But that era of manna from heaven is over. The livable streets gains of the last six years are in play because they will no longer be under the protection of a supportive mayor insulated from public criticism and opposition.

    Engaging with the electoral process in this new context is necessarily an exercise in pragmatism. That doesn’t mean advocates should become silent partners or lap dogs, but it also doesn’t mean throwing up hands and withdrawing from the process because “politicians can’t be trusted” and are mere “puppets” of whomever gave them the most money. Supporters of pedestrianized Times Square (such as myself) should speak out forcefully with the facts when the merits of that project are called into question–by anyone. That’s exactly the kind of engagement we need. But to suggest that last night’s comment means it’s time to disengage from the electoral process? How would that help protect pedestrianized Times Square or get more plazas installed?

  • Bolwerk

    If I have a criticism of how de Blasio has been handled by safe streets/transit advocates, it’s that everyone has been too disengaged all along. He gave plenty of hints all along that he doesn’t wholeheartedly support the causes you support, and his feet have never been held to the fire.

    We knew all along he was wishywahy. Now the situation is that there is a dangerously high chance of de Blasio capitulating to numbskulls like Vacca every time these issues come up, and instead of the (IMHO very modest) improvements of the Bloomberg era, we’re facing a war of attrition just to keep the Bloomberg improvements intact.

  • Anonymous

    There’s a very big difference between disengaging from the electoral process and lodging a protest vote in an election that one has no reason to believe will even be close. That’s engaging with the electoral process as well.

    Certainly, StreetsPAC had very slim pickings when it came to endorsing a mayoral candidate. But part of being a public organization and taking those kinds of stands is expecting that people will express frustration when your endorsed candidate fails to live up to the bare minimum of investment in your issue. And non-tepid support of pedestrian plazas strike me as the very bare minimum of investment in livable streets issues.

  • Ari

    Times Square is a done deal. The city will start physical reconstruction to permanently pedestrianize the area very soon.

    He’s probably hedging on a non-issue to appeal to other voters. It’s certainly a weakling move, but he’s not going to bring cars back to Times Square.

    That being said, I am concerned about other things that are more up in the air. I love the JSK write-in idea.

  • krstrois

    An endorsement is also accepted, and this gives some leverage to a group like StreetsPAC, who can also work mobilize a vote *against* a candidate who does not live up to his promises.

  • Kevin Love

    She would make a great mayor!

  • Bolwerk

    I wouldn’t go nuts about this. We don’t really know where she stands on non-transportation issues, which are important too.

    Still, she would make a good protest vote. So would Albanese.

  • Morris Zapp

    Remember when Bloomberg had just about a zero rating on livable streets? And Iris Weinshall was his DOT commissioner?

    Many, many people — the number could be in the thousands — are hip to the fact that politicians lie to get elected. Other pols are ignorant. Some are ignorant liars. The job is to make them realize what the “right thing” is, enunciate it, act on it, and see that they get credit for being a genius who knew the right thing all along.

    Sometimes it works (several pro-LS council members, maybe even Bloomberg to some extent), sometimes it doesn’t (Cy Vance). But vacillations at this stage are normal, and backlash is part of the process.

  • Junius

    With a 50-point lead in the polls, he has no need to hedge on anything to appeal to any voters.

  • Bolwerk

    Did this punchfest take place in a ring with two right sides?

  • Anxiously Awaiting Bikeshare

    He also has no need to take any positions and should hedge on everything until elected.

  • Bronxite

    Pretty sure the permanent reconstruction of Times Square has already been underway.

    Who advises these mayoral candidates? They should be fired.

    I agree that is may be a tactic to appeal to the NIMBY’s/anti-Bloomberg crowd though.