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Thursday’s Headlines: More Charges Please! Edition

Jose Alzorriz

The big story on Wednesday was that the NYPD and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez are bringing charges against Mirza Baig — the red-light-running speeder who rammed his car into an SUV, which then careened into cyclist Jose Alzorriz, killing him instantly. (Gothamist, amNY, NY1 and the AP also covered it, with the Daily News providing key details.)

It's nice to see authorities throw the book at a reckless driver so that other drivers see there's a price to pay for killing. But is there? In a slew of other recent vehicle killings, the NYPD and city district attorneys have declined to charge drivers who snuffed out cyclists or pedestrians  — many of them children or the elderly. (Yes, those links offer plenty of examples.)

The good news? District Attorneys need to get re-elected — and running on a platform of being soft on vehicular crime isn't looking so good in a year when pedestrian and cyclist deaths are up by double digits.

OK, off the soapbox for now. Here's the news:

    • On the same subject, a New York Times offered a story on drivers who kill that started out well — but ended up shrugging off the issue of holding killer drivers accountable in "accidents." We spent much of the morning schooling Times Metro editor Clifford Levy through an epic Twitter thread.
    • City Limits examined the vicissitudes of freight traffic in the city, and decides there are "no easy answers." The article quoted one expert advising the city to dedicate lanes on bridges for delivery trucks and commercial vehicles — with the caveat that such a proposal "would likely face backlash from non-commercial drivers." That's always the rub, isn't it?
    • The Villager has been threading a needle over Arthur Schwartz's 14th Street Busway lawsuit, trying to take Schwartz seriously, even when this foe of a major public transit project fashions himself as a modern day Jane Jacobs. Fortunately, this week, the paper printed an opinion piece from the other side (with Schwartz posting the first comment!)
    • Safe-streets groups kept up pressure on Schwartz and other NIMBYs with a rally supporting the busway. PIX11 covered.
    • Gothamist took a ride with the subway system's "happiest conductor."
    • Streetsblog alum David Meyer and a colleague quote lawmakers bashed the MTA for secrecy on its $50-billion capital plan, following Streetsblog's report of Aug. 9.
    • More "stupid driver tricks": Cops caught a guy fixing his flat with a BandAid (NYDN).
    • The woes of New Jersey Transit trains never cease, it seems: The same day, the wrong door opened on one train, injuring a passenger, another train ran over a woman, killing her, The Post reports.
    • In more New Jersey news, two cops from the same department were arrested on the same day for DUI — one after hitting a woman, the other for driving the wrong way down a street (NY Post). It would be a Jersey joke — if it wasn't so deadly.

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