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L Train Shutdown

Wednesday’s Headlines: Maybe the L-Pocalypse Wasn’t Such a Bad Idea After All

Yesterday was the opposite of a slow news day, which means the Post won't have to fill the paper with animal stories today (um, not so fast). So let's get down to business.

The biggest story was the MTA's emergency board meeting to discuss Gov. Cuomo's plan to fix the L train's Canarsie Tunnel with a less-intensive, shorter-lasting and (possibly) toxic-dust-spewing approach that (on the plus side) avoids completely eliminating service between Brooklyn and Manhattan for 15 months:

    • The day started with Emma Fitzsimmons's bombshell report in the Times confirming everyone's suspicion that the MTA had considered the Cuomo plan before but rejected it as insufficient given the damage to the tunnel. That pretty much set the agenda for a contentious meeting...
    • The Post's coverage of the meeting itself focused on how the pissed-off MTA board may still derail the truncated Cuomo plan.
    • The Daily News focused on how New York City Transit President Andy Byford has been sidelined from direct oversight of the new repair project in favor of the MTA's construction chiefs.
    • Katie Honan and Paul Berger in the Wall Street Journal played it straight.

The most detailed coverage was actually on Twitter all day.

    • Dan Rivoli of the Daily News had an epic live tweet thread that summarized everything. After Streetsblog demanded Jim Dwyer's response, the pro-Cuomo-plan Times columnist started his own thread.
    • Vin Barone of amNY's long thread featured board member Carl Weisbrod pointing out his lack of confidence in hearing about the new plan from the same team that created the old plan (which had rejected the new plan).
    • Second Avenue Sagas also had a live thread, which pointed out that no one knows how long the tunnel repair will last.
    • Aaron Gordon of Signal Problems pointed out a great moment when one board member caused an awkward silence when he asked about the shortcomings of the Cuomo plan. Dana Rubinstein's Politico story (subscription only) focused on the same thing.
    • Jake Offenharz of Gothamist offered some sympathy for DOT Commissioner — and MTA Board member — Polly Trottenberg after Interim MTA Chairman Freddy Ferrer was obnoxious.
    • Riders Alliance pointed out some shortfalls in a tweet of its own.

In other news, the governor revealed his preliminary budget, which had lots of policy ramifications:

    • The Daily News's Ken Lovett said Cuomo's speech had lots of talk, but no specifics, on fixing the MTA. He also pointed out, "The governor would also put off a congestion pricing plan until 2021." (At Streetsblog, that's what we call burying the lede.)
    • The Post gave the laundry list of the governor's progressive agenda. The Times also focused on a governor who appears to be tacking left (isn't that where New York is supposed to be?). The Wall Street Journal called it a "justice agenda."
    • Transportation Alternatives put out the perfect statement, reminding straggling lawmakers that congestion pricing would help raise revenue for the battered subway, reduce congestion and create safer streets. And, lest we forget, a tiny number of New Yorkers regularly drive into Manhattan for work — and the ones who do are far wealthier than the middle-class that Assembly Member Helene Weinstein and her ilk think they are protecting.

And in other news:

    • Gothamist added some additional value to our scoop about how Corey Johnson isn't too excited about Gov. Cuomo's 290 speed cameras. Council Member Brad Lander is upset, too.
    • Cops say they arrested the man who drove off in the confusion as Borough Park residents harassed an NYPD tow operator with racial taunts. (NYDN)
    • Wired asks if bike activists are "selling out" by jumping to Uber, Lyft, Bird or other private companies.
    • The Post offered some video of the Tappan Zee Bridge being blown up. Too bad it couldn't have been saved as an awesome vertical park and bike route.

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