Friday’s Headlines: Cuomo’s Tunnel Vision Edition

SB Donation NYC header 2When we went to bed early this morning, Gov. Cuomo was in the L-train tunnel under the East River on a personal fact-finding mission/photo-op with a hand-picked team of supposed engineers.

As you might guess, Cuomo’s decision to inconvenience thousands of people trying to get home just so he could second-guess a repair that the MTA has been planning for three years was a big story — but one that took place too late for even New York’s hard-working press corps. [Update: The stories have started coming in]:

  • The Post played it straight.
  • Second Avenue Sagas reminded us that Cuomo’s “inspection” of the L-train tunnel is a stunt — especially given how hands-off he has been as the subway system itself has crumbled. The money quote: “Imagine being the people at the MTA who have slaved over these plans for years … just to Cuomo step in with a bunch of folks at the last minute to second-guess your work for a photo op.”

Meanwhile, there was other news:

  • East Village residents are already complaining about the L shutdown. (NY1)
  • We were happy to see Aaron Gordon’s piece in CityLab echoing our coverage about Mayor de Blasio’s incoherence, hypocrisy and narrowmindedness on e-bikes. Gordon wisely put the mayor’s untenable position in the context of the city’s transportation crisis.
  • It’s widely known that the NYPD has quotas for issuing tickets. The Appeal got a hold of one lieutenant’s text messages for a takedown on numbers-driven policing. That said, we certainly want precinct officials to ride their officers to write more summonses to bad drivers, don’t we?
  • You gotta love Platano Man! Watch as one subway rider makes a citizen’s arrest of a racist woman. (NYDN, NY Post)
  • The Times’ Ginia Bellafante picked up a thread we pulled last month and wrote that New York City’s big problem is not high corporate taxes, but poor transit for corporate workers. It’s time for Big Business to demand better.
  • Only Gridlock Sam is paying attention to the Jets right now. (NYDN)
  • More and more cities are de-emphasizing fare evasion arrests out of concern about racial disparity — but are also worried about lost revenue for transit. Governing took a deep dive on the issue.
  • Oops, it turns out that legalized marijuana isn’t going to save the subway system. (NYDN)
  • Cops are hunting for a rapist who attacked a sleeping woman on the subway. (NY Post)
  • We’re glad the NYPD is touting another historic drop in crime, but it’s time the agency sits down with Streetsblog to talk about the far more impressive drop in road fatalities this year. Chief Chan, how about you take a victory lap with Streetsblog? (NYDN)
  • As an aside, if you own any stock in Absolut, Jack Daniels, Jose Cuervo or Beefeater, now may be the time to sell. (NYDN)
  • Larry Littlefield

    Next up, decriminalizing vandalism and public urination and defecation.

    But only on the transit system. Only on property that is community, shared property. Not on the personal property of someone who matters.

    And certainly not vandalism against motor vehicles.

    As for the transit system, it isn’t ours. It’s no one’s, and there for the taking by whoever wants to take more of it. Kind of link the North American natural environment, when the Europeans arrived.

    Can we at least ask more of white people? Have that be the official policy instead. How about decriminalizing stealing cars and gasoline?

  • Rider

    Aaron Gordon gets it. There are lots of options to dealing with the transportation crisis besides shoveling money at the MTA, but the zero-vision mayor and his staff at DOT (and City Planning) are flying blind without a plan.

  • AstoriaBlowin

    You’re entering old man yelling at a cloud territory with this comment.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Well, I’m getting old and feeling like yelling.

    The beat the system mentality is going to do us all in. I mean, look who the President is! The values are always the question, and what this represents to me is what I see elsewhere.

    We’ve got 20 percent of the people in this country living in private communities with private rules, private streets, private parks. They don’t care if everywhere else goes Mad Max.

  • The people who imagine that they are “beating the system” are those who refuse to accept either tax hikes or fare hikes. More like beating the system to death.

    (And I will add that someone who monomaniacally spits vitriol at our public employees and at the compensation that they legitimately obtained in collective bargaining, thereby promoting hatred for people whose good example we all should be emulating, isn’t doing us any favours, either.)

  • Larry Littlefield

    Should we emulate retired public employees by demanding that our income be exempt from state and local income taxes too?
    Of does fairness require that retired and perhaps active public employees be exempted from property taxes as well. Since after the vanguard of the working class takes even more, that will just set a higher standard for how much less EVERYONE can somehow put in while taking out more?
    Retroactive pension increases for those who already have the most retirement benefits is just like massive bonuses for those who already has the most cash pay, as everyone else becomes worse off. How dare the serfs even talk about either — they are legitimately obtained in bargaining!

  • Jacob

    “we certainly want precinct officials to ride their officers to write more summonses to bad drivers, don’t we?”

    No. The goal is not summons, the goal is safety. When the goal is summons, NYPD will find the place where its easiest to issue tickets by the boatload, and it wont do a damn thing to make the city safer.

  • We absolutely do want them to write more summonses. — many, many more.

    Because drivers know that there is a vanishingly small chance of their being caught doing something illegal, they have become accustomed to many dangerous practices. If the police were to give out tickets at one hundred times the rate that they currently do, that still would not catch all the lawbreakers, but it would change drivers’ expectations, and therefore their behaviour.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I’d say automated enforcement and street design is the way to go. They’ll just demand another 10,000 cops.

  • kevd

    I think larry has been there for a while

  • I agree that automated enforcement is preferable.

  • Andrew

    The goal, as Jacob says, is safety, not summonses.

    Writing summonses can be one means to that end, of course. But there are summonses that are very productive (e.g., failure to yield), there are summonses that are minimally productive (e.g., speeding by 0.1 mph), and there are summonses that are counterproductive (e.g., jaywalking while no traffic is approaching).

    If the success of a safety program is measured by counting summonses, the police have an incentive to write whichever summonses are easiest to rack up quickly, not necessarily the summonses that maximize safety. And there are approaches to safety that the police can be involved in that are entirely unrelated to (human-issued) summonses.