Tuesday’s Headlines: Hot Town, Summer in the City Edition

There was a lot of this in New York today. Photo: jag9889 via flicker
There was a lot of this in New York today. Photo: jag9889 via flicker

Is the Mainstream Media finally waking up to the ravages that the automobile have visited on America for a century? We can’t say it’s a trend, but we see some encouraging signs.

First, as Streetsblog noted yesterday, the Times Metro section suddenly seems to have noticed street-safety and cycling activism. Also yesterday, The Week columnist Ryan Cooper opined that “American cities need to phase out cars.”

“American cities should follow the lead of European cities like Oslo and Brussels, and start phasing out private cars in their central cities,” Cooper writes.

“Places like Manhattan and probably most of Brooklyn and Queens could do this tomorrow and dramatically upgrade themselves instantly. They would be quieter, safer, and far less polluted. Others like Phoenix or Oklahoma City would have to basically re-engineer themselves, but would still find it rewarding in the end. And if a complete ban can’t be done, then keeping cars off a few key streets would still help a great deal.”

From your pen to God’s ear, baby! In journalism, three’s a trend, so we can only hope that more of these shoes start dropping.

Other than that, it was a hot day in the old town, with many folks having abandoned the steaming streets for the shore or shuttling their kids to the greenswards of their New England colleges (as has our grizzled editor). But we’re here, as ever, to keep you posted:

  • Curbed analyzed what the future holds for Vision Zero. Its answer? Getting to zero traffic deaths will require “a radical change to how we use city streets.”
  • PIX11’s Magee Hickey publicizes the efforts of four Brooklyn bars to raise money for cycling safety by rewarding donations with free drinks — not that anyone need any encouragement to raise a glass.
  • The Post’s John Crudele shows once again that the default sympathy at the Tabloid of Record is with car owners — even if it means the inevitable death of a street tree.
  • Streetsblog alum David Meyer chronicles some “stupid driver tricks” in The Post — a motorist who sneaked his car past the gates on an LIRR track only to get clobbered by a train (he’s alive); and some Grand Central Parkway jammers who had to abandon their vehicles in order to make their flights at LaGuardia. Next time, people, obey the warning signals and ride the Q70!
  • City & State provides a useful chart about cyclist and pedestrian deaths, and notes that pedestrian deaths in the outer boroughs often go unreported by mainstream media. The same outlet put our editor in its Brooklyn Power 100 (As we say in the Streetsblog newsroom, “He’s 98! He’s 98!”)
  • Guse at the Newsuh writes about the DMV’s gambit to let residents vote on the state’s new license plate, which will replace a decade-old design and render the plates more legible to enforcement cameras. He smartly adds on Twitter: “At the end of the day shouldn’t New York’s next license plate feature a cyclist and/or pedestrian being hit by a car? Maybe then motorists would have to face the fact that they’re operating a machine that kills more people in NYC than guns?”
  • CityLab reports that Berlin will ban cars on two popular shopping streets, “getting a fuller taste of the car-free trend that’s taking hold in other European cities.” Paging Mayor de Blasio!
  • The Regional Plan Association announced that it is forming a citywide bikeway study and advisory committee, in order to stimulate the establishment of a connected, protected arterial bike network in the five boroughs. Friends of Streetsblog Jon Orcutt and Marco Conner were tapped for the panel.
  • AmNY features an op-ed touting micro-mobility by League of Conservation Voters’ Julie Tighe — and raising pressure on Gov. Cuomo to sign the e-bike bill.


David Brooks: Still Rooting for Auto Dependence and Sprawl

David Brooks is dreaming of Denver, and in Denver they’re dreaming of transit-oriented, walkable neighborhoods. Photo of 16th Street Mall: ericrichardson/Flickr. Looks like there’s at least one bubble that has yet to burst: David Brooks’ unyielding enthusiasm for exurbs and car dependence. In today’s Times, the nation’s most famous sprawl apologist cites a recent Pew […]

How Can We Foster Zero-Car Households?

Today on the Streetsblog Network, a fascinating look at the top 50 "low-car cities" in the United States — that is, cities in which a high proportion of households do not own a car at all. Human Transit‘s Jarrett Walker digs into a list (from Wikipedia) of the US cities with populations over 100,000 with […]

The Assumption of Inconvenience

The secret of European eco-friendliness? Maybe not. Photo: romerican/Flickr Early this week, I noticed a number of my favorite bloggers linking to this Elisabeth Rosenthal essay at Environment 360, on the mysterious greenness of European nations. The average American, as it happens, produces about twice as much carbon dioxide each year as your typical resident […]

To Obey, Or Not to Obey

Not getting flattened by a 50,000 pound "big rig" is a good reason to stop at a red light if you’re on a bicycle. But how about less skin-saving reasons? Are there in fact, good reasons to ignore traffic regulations when you can, because after all, they are really meant just for cars? It’s a […]