Monday Headlines: You Gotta Hand it to The Times Edition

Times cycling coverage

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)
  • Andrew

    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?).

    The pending litigation is a more likely answer.

  • Jeff

    The kid who planted those rice cookers in the subway actually tried to get mental health treatment

    Any time I’ve tried to pursue some kind of mental health treatment, I’ve gotten bogged down in finding a “Primary Care Physician” who is “In Network” and getting a “Referral” to a “Specialist” who is “In Network,” depending on whether I have an “HMO” or “PPO” or “EPO” at the time, with multiple phone calls between the insurance company and providers, and so on and so forth until I just give up. And I have good insurance!

    The type of bullshit that one must go through in our healthcare system in order to seek mental health treatment is the exact type of bullshit that people with mental health issues get overwhelmed with and are likely to not follow through with. What an asinine system.

  • NYCyclist

    Clarification: One tenant of the building did speak out, against the lawsuit:

    One resident of the building disagreed with the board’s action. “The optics are terrible,” said Roberta Brandes Gratz, who has lived in the building since 1972. “No doubt we look like an overprivileged, insensitive group of people.”

  • Pietro Gambadilegno

    My print copy of the NY Times said it was “Robert Brandes Gratz.”

    In fact, Roberta Brandes Gratz is a former member of the Landmarks Commission and an urban activist.

  • Andrew

    Good for her.

  • Joe R.

    Not to mention if you actually do get mental health treatment you’re often stigmatized by society. Being in a mental institution very often automatically disqualifies you from a lot of jobs. Even just seeing a shrink often does. It’s basically a lose-lost situation then for anyone needing any type of mental health treatment.

    We need to accept that mental health is as important as physical health. A lot of people fighting alcoholism or drug addiction, for example, would do better if they had access to mental health treatment. In fact, they may not have even become dependent on these substances in the first place if that were the case.

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