Monday’s Headlines: A Rainy Tax Day Edition

Got those taxes done? No? Well, you can be forgiven if you need to download this 1040 form right now and get those unreimbursed business expenses added up on Schedule C. But if you’ve filed your taxes, why not check out the news from the weekend:

  • We were the first out of the gate with our report Sunday on the Citi Bike e-bike disaster, but other outlets added some nice reporting. Journalistic Jedi Vin Barone at amNY and Clayton Guse at the Daily News had an interview with a man who claimed he was badly injured when an e-Citi Bike front wheel locked up on him. Guse’s story added some inside dope from Citi Bike workers. The Post interviewed another man who also was injured but didn’t want to see the e-bikes be grounded. The Times did not cover it until early Monday morning. The Paper of Record finally seemed to acknowledge that Citi Bike is not some effete hobby but rather a serious form of mass transit, reporting that the bike-share system “has become an increasingly popular mode of transportation” (ya think?). Tyler Pager also offered some excellent reporting on crash victims. We’ll stay on this story today.
  • The MTA ruined the Roosevelt Island Cherry Blossom Festival on Saturday (NY Post, Gothamist), prompting many important questions, including, “Did you know Roosevelt Island had a cherry blossom festival?”
  • Memo to Public Advocate Jumaane Williams: You might want to send someone to the town hall meeting tonight about how a car dealership has somehow convinced the city to endanger Jackson Heights kids that it initially vowed to protect. If we’re going to have a public advocate, presumably this is why.
  • The Wall Street Journal’s Paul Berger interviewed DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, who said that congestion pricing could make the city a pedestrian paradise. But the story oversold Trottenberg’s commitment to building that safety Shangra-La — her comments are filled with caveats that come from working with a boss who has lost focus. Mayor de Blasio could close a few roadways or even parts of neighborhoods to cars right now if he wanted. The “zero” in Vision Zero is attainable, yet New York City is not close.
  • Let’s stay on that topic for a second. Over the weekend, the Cycling Professor posted a video of a car-choked Amsterdam in 1970s, a reminder that cities can fight back and reclaim public spaces from selfish automobile owners. Other videos over the weekend showed just how great a city it is. Meanwhile, in de Blasio’s New York, a community board on Wednesday will decide whether to approve the removal of a single parking space in favor of bike parking. Why can’t we have nice things, Mr. Mayor?
  • The Post reviewed 311 complaints to determine the roadways where there is the most speeding. It’s a good piece of reporting, but it left out one key statistics: Drivers speed on every single block in the city, all day, every day. Speeding is the single biggest factor in road fatalities and, more important, the feeling that all of us are constantly under siege.
  • The Times took a bit longer than everyone else, but its deep dive on bus fare evasion was solid, even pointing out concerns about the MTA’s plan for more cops on buses (which Streetsblog previously derided as “bus and frisk”).
  • Charles Moerdler is no longer on the MTA board! (Riverdale Press) Streetsblog readers will, of course, remember Moerdler as the guy who loved to park in bus lanes.
  • The anti-bike Queens Chronicle reported that there’s a petition drive to stop the final phase of the successful safety redesign of Queens Boulevard, one of Mayor de Blasio’s signature projects (and one that he has not committed to finishing).
  • And in case you missed it, NY1’s Pat Kiernan now has a podcast. First topic? Congestion pricing. And tolls to enter Manhattan below 61st Street are big news overseas, with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation covering it over the weekend. The CBC coverage even focused on later-day congestion pricing advocate Jeffrey Dinowitz, the Bronx Assembly Member who long opposed the tolls.

Update: The version of this story which posted at 12:01 a.m. did not have a reference to the NY Times’s coverage of the Citi Bike outage because the Times story did not publish until 4 a.m. Monday. Our post has been updated.

  • Zero Vision

    Every time I read or hear a comment from Trottenberg I wonder if she is purposely afraid of explaining induced demand to New Yorkers. We have to wait to see how congestion pricing works out before we repurpose streets space for cyclists and pedestrians? How convenient for both her and her boss that they’ll both be gone by then. What could she do right now? Remove parking to create bike lanes and wide sidewalks? Pedestrianize streets? Create real bus lanes with actual separation instead of just paint? Do that! Stop being such a damn coward. Kicking the can down the road is inexcusable.

  • The comment on Community board approval needed for swapping a single parking space with a bike corral :
    The article should really question why DOT does not provide bike corals along bike lanes , at the time of installation, and why businesses have to maintain them, when the city maintains for free all other parking spaces for cars.
    De Blasio and DOT bear a lot of responsibilities for what should happen. We need your help to put pressure on the administration and the lawmakers to fix this.

  • Joe R.

    If either of them, or both of them, truly believed in reducing traffic levels, they could do all the things you say and more. Despite his pointless campaigning for President, deBlasio is a lame duck mayor who likely will never hold another public office again. He can expend all his political capital before leaving office, even if the end result is approval ratings in the single digits. As for Trottenberg, she’s likely unemployable, at least as head of a DOT in a major city, after deBlasio leaves. Whatever ideas she may have had, she had no backbone by kowtowing to deBlasio’s whims. However, she can start implementing them now, deBlasio be damned. If he fires her because he thinks she’s going too far, she’ll be all that much more attractive to a city which is looking for real change.

    Head of the DOT should be a nonpolitical position. You appoint the best person for the job, then get out of their way. If the Community Boards don’t like it, too bad. If lots of people complain, too bad. In the end the streets are an engineering problem which is solved by experts, without the interference of laypeople. DeBlasio unfortunately thinks all opinions are equally valid. Sorry, in many facets of modern life, expert opinions and experience are all that matters. Would you want to live in a building designed by a Community Board, where they micromanaged every facet of construction, despite not being knowledgeable? No, you wouldn’t as it likely would fall down, and I don’t want streets designed by Community Boards, either. Or any other laypeople for that matter. They’re just as likely to fail as a building designed by them.

  • SBDriver

    If the Community Boards don’t like it, too bad. If lots of people complain, too bad.
    Sounds like the perfect job for Robert Moses.

  • Joe R.

    Well, if Robert Moses had been as enthusiastic about building subways and bike highways as he was about building car highways, he would be hailed as a hero around here. Come to think of it, “around here” probably wouldn’t need to exist as we would have already gotten everything we wanted about 50 years ago.

    The difference here is car highways destroy neighborhoods and were rightfully opposed by the community. Bike lanes, bike highways, bus lanes, and subways don’t. They enhance a neighborhood. The Community Boards oppose these projects nearly always because they stand to lose some parking spots. If that’s not a parochial interest I don’t know what is.

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  • AMH

    I drive myself crazy imagining what the city would be like had Moses put his power into building the IND Second System instead of, or in addition to, highways. We would have inherited a much more livable place.