Monday’s Headlines: Living in a Biking Wonderland Edition

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Deck the halls with car-free jolly! Yes, the Streetsblog Carolers hit Gracie Mansion last week, so before diving into our daily headlines, click here to watch us sing our best anti-car songs, including “Biking Wonderland,” “Andrew the Two-Faced Guv’Nor,” “Here Comes UPS,” and, of course, “The 12 Days of Christmas.”

Meanwhile, our December donation drive continues. Please click the icon above to make a tax-deductible contribution to keep our lights on for another year.

And now, the news:

  • Opening salvo: A group of Queens pols rallied against congestion pricing on Sunday because it would be too expensive for their constituents who “have no other way of traveling into Manhattan.” Assemblyman David Weprin once again ignored the fact that only 4.2 percent of his constituents drive to destinations in Manhattan on a regular basis — and those drivers are Weprin’s richest constituents, according to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. (amNY) And Laura Shepard had the tweet of the day.
  • The city will start rolling out electric school buses next year in a pilot program championed by rising star Council Member Rafael Espinal. But the otherwise exciting exclusive from Ben Chapman doesn’t point out where thousands of buses are going to come from, given all the problems in the e-bus supply chain. New York is currently testing all of 10 electric buses. (NYDN) [Update: Espinal tells us it will start with four buses next year.]
  • The Post ran a story detailing all the outside money our state legislators earn. The one detail missing: Sen. Simcha Felder is a “college teacher”?! Sure enough, he got good ranks from his students when he taught at Brooklyn College — though not necessarily for his classroom skills: “Prof. Felder is one of the best teachers I have had at BC,” one student posted on Rate My Professor. “Extremely comedic and very outgoing. Felder makes you feel like your [sic!] in a camp rather than a college.” (Grammar isn’t everything.)
  • Times opinion writer Richard Conniff reported on how pedestrians are striking back in cities all over the world (except New York, which is not mentioned in the story at all because, well, de Blasio). Car owners, Conniff accurately wrote, “have mistaken their century-long domination over pedestrians for a right rather than a privilege.” (NY Times)
  • The annual “Transit wish list” for 2018 in amNY was a bit anti-climactic. After all, doesn’t everyone want “better service”? (amNY)
  • Streetsblog NYC is sitting down with Council Speaker Corey Johnson today. Here’s another outlet’s non-street safety version. No questions about Skillman Avenue? Shame! (Seriously, though, Jeff Coltin did a great job.) (City & State)
  • And in some personal good news. (NY Times, Bklyner)
  • In case you missed it, Crain’s did a deep dive on what fare evasion costs the MTA (hint: not as much as Andy Byford wants to believe).
  • And also in case you missed it, finally someone has ranked American cities by two important metrics: Tacos and transit. (Sorry to report that New York is dragged down by its taco quality … not its transit service.) (City Lab)

  • Jacob

    “David Weprin once again ignored the fact that only 4.2 percent of his constituents drive into Manhattan — and those drivers are Weprin’s richest constituents”

    I disagree, I think it was BECAUSE they are his richest constituents that he is making such a fuss over this.

  • Mike

    People in Chicago like their transit more than we do, which is weird — transit in Chicago is terrible compared to NYC.

  • bolwerk

    Transit in New York has gotten a lot more terrible over recent years. :-

  • Mike

    Sure, but at least we have trains that go to somewhere other than downtown, which is the only place Chicago trains meet.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Chicago’s density is one-third the level of NY, and its streets are wider. So the buses move. More people take buses than the subway in Chicago. I was amazed that one could actually get somewhere on a bus — although Chicago’s buses tend to be a lot older than NYCs.

    Moreover, there is more commuter rail in the suburbs compared with NYC, and the subway system extends out to some inner suburbs.

  • Mike

    I lived in Chicago for five years. The busses move quickly only on a handful of lines. They’re also large gaps in the bus system, which is not a good thing if you need to walk most of a mile in the Chicago winter.

  • vnm

    I always thought New York had good tacos.

  • Rider

    “Bad process yields bad results. Bad results yield political anger. Across the globe in recent months and years, we’ve seen outbursts against fuel taxes, austerity programs and things that make life difficult for average people, all of which originated with well-intentioned elites largely immune from the consequences of their own policies.”

    Misleading “elite” framing aside, Brodsky’s not all wrong. Policies that make things costly that were once free or cheap does stoke real anger in folks, and the real “elites”–the Trumps, Kochs, and Murdochs of the world–are taking advantage of that and fanning the flames of backlash.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Perhaps I had an unusually good experience there.

  • bolwerk

    Without dedicated lanes, buses probably move better on narrower streets. A popular fantasy goes that buses are “flexible,” and should be able to change lanes to get around obstacles. The reality appears to be closer to more lanes is more opportunities for car drivers to interfere with buses, double park, etc.

  • bolwerk ):