Wednesday’s Headlines: Another Day of Mass Carnage Edition

new yorker

God damn it. Tuesday brought another two dead cyclists in a city that is now already seven cyclist deaths ahead of all of last year. A 17-year-old named Alex Cordero was run down on Staten Island — a borough with just 100 yards of protected bike lane on a single road — at around 1 p.m. (The Daily News covered the tabloid angle.) And three hours later, a still-unidentified 58-year-old cyclist was killed on McGuinness Boulevard in Greenpoint, an urban wasteland of speeding cars.

Activists pointed out that all 17 cyclists deaths this year were preventable — through the elusive mix of enforcement, legislation, design, education and systematic deconstruction of the car culture. Mayor de Blasio now has an even bigger monkey on his back as he presents his long-awaited bicycle safety plan on Thursday — a plan that advocates had been calling for when the death count was in the single digits. It had better be as bold as this road crisis is terrifying.

Transportation Alternatives called for the mayor to do something big — but also to do something really small and simple: “We call on Mayor de Blasio to join us on a bike ride so he can experience firsthand the reality New York City cyclists face every day,” the group said in a statement.

There will be more on this today. Meanwhile, it’s time for some news:

  • Taxi drivers showed up en masse at a TLC hearing on Tuesday to protest just what a lousy job it is working for Lyft or Uber. Coverage included a Daily News piece about how Lyft is screwing drivers by logging them off their system in between rides so that the company doesn’t run afoul of new city “anti-cruising” regulations. The Post focused on yellow cabbies who like the new regs. Vin Barone at amNY focused on high leasing costs.
  • New York magazine had a nice history piece about Robert Moses and the creation of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway segment through Brooklyn Heights. Unfortunately, Thomas Campanella missed a big chance to remind readers that the roadway should be torn down and converted into a boulevard style route rather than rebuilt at a cost of $4 billion.
  • Pity the poor NJ Transit/Amtrak commuter — the system has suffered five-hour breakdowns 85 times in the last five years (Associated Press via PIX11)
  • Council Member Carlos Menchaca’s bill to allow cyclists to start riding on the pedestrian “walk” sign has passed the City Council. Mayor de Blasio is expected to sign it (Corey Johnson via Twitter). Council Member Kalman Yeger is still irrationally fuming (NY Post).
  • The bus driver who killed lawyer Kimberly Greer avoided jail by pleading guilty to failure to yield and failure of a driver to exercise due care — and giving up his license for just six months. (NY Post)
  • Somebody has started a Change.org petition demanding that Queens Borough President Melinda Katz remove Kim “Pedestrians Deserve To Get Hit” Ohanian from Community Board 7.
  • Dana Rubinstein at Politico had the scoop on the city’s plan to finally make all street corners accessible to people in wheelchairs.
  • The Times’s Brian Rosenthal deconstructed the demise of Mayor de Blasio’s nominee to run the TLC.
  • Of course the M14 bus won the annual “Pokie” award for slowest bus line — it’s “slower than a manatee,” according to the Straphangers Campaign. The group’s “Schleppie” award for least reliable bus went to the B15. (NY Post)
  • Hat tip to the Greenpointers website for following up on our coverage of the unprotected “protected” bike lane on West Street in Brooklyn. (We also appreciate the outlet using a picture of our editor’s hand to show how badly this bike lane was designed!)
  • We were happy to see that the New Yorker channeled a decade of Streetsblog and is finally questioning whether the automobile is anathema to urban life (you think something named The New Yorker would have realized that a while ago, but why quibble?). Writer Nathan Heller’s definitive and winning piece suggests that the auto age has been a “mistake,” but in the end, the piece is unsatisfying: Why won’t the nation’s most important magazine come out and say it: We need to fix the mistake, not merely strike up the band as the auto industry dangles over us the shiny disco ball of driverless cars.
  • And, finally, we can’t stop watching Mother Nature doing its best to pretty much ruin the subway. Enjoy our Twitter gallery:

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