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Charles Komanoff

Monday Headlines: You Gotta Hand it to The Times Edition

Something — something good! — has definitely gotten into the water at Clifford Levy's Times Metro section. After years of ignoring the death, destruction and decay caused by the automobile, the understaffed section has started to really empathize with the plight of cyclists and, more important, explore the possibility that cars are, as we have been saying for years, anathema to the urban experience that the Times itself has celebrated elsewhere.

The latest example was James Barron's Sunday piece, "The People of Central Park West Want Their Parking Spaces (Sorry, Cyclists)," which was largely critical of the rich people trying to stop a simple bike lane. The story provided the Times' non-Streetsblog readers with a nice overview of why the war on cars is so necessary.

As a footnote, it was funny how no one at 25 Central Park West — the building whose board is suing the city to stop the bike lane — would speak to the paper. It's unclear why the pro-car minority won’t defend its position (other than that it's not defensible?).

OK, off the soapbox. Here's some of the news you might have missed this weekend:

    • Kind words about the Times aside, why is the paper's "Metropolitan Diary" so single-mindedly obsessed with parking? It seems a week does not go by without some street thief recounting some jocular anecdote about storing his or her car for free on a public street. Even when the drivers are admitting to being selfish, they still come off as nice people. Feh.
    • Two days before the Times's piece, Charles Komanoff published a call to arms to break the car culture. You should listen to this guy; he's been leading the fight to break the car culture for 40 years.(Gothamist)
    • Bus service cuts could be coming this fall. (WSJ)
    • A man ran over and killed his wife at a Queens gas station but was not charged because, you know, it was just a tragic "accident." (QNS, NYDN)
    • A petition demanding a protected bike lane on deadly Coney Island Avenue generated more than 1,000 signatures in hours (amNY). If successful, let's see if Council Member Mathieu Eugene will support it. Last week, he joined colleagues such as Brad Lander and State Senator Andrew Gounardes in demanding "safety" on the horrible roadway, but he's a known obstructionist on real change.
    • Like Streetsblog, Gothamist also pursued the outrage that Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez decided not to make a case against the truck driver who ran over and killed cyclist Aurilla Lawrence in Brooklyn earlier this year. The DA has paid defenders on Twitter, but New York's cyclists will not soon forgive this.
    • The kid who planted those rice cookers in the subway actually tried to get mental health treatment before he ruined the Friday morning commute for tens of thousands of people (NYDN). The Post didn't have that angle.
    • And, finally, Cobble Hill is Tree City, USA. (amNY)

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