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Carlina Rivera

Monday’s Headlines: Remembering Jose Alzorriz Edition

12:01 AM EDT on August 26, 2019

Cyclists staged a die-in at the intersection of Coney Island Avenue and Avenue L on Sunday to honor Jose Alzorriz — and demand change. Photo: Vladimir Vince

We've been to too many vigils for dead cyclists this year, but the crowd that gathered Sunday to mourn the death of Jose Alzorriz on horrific Coney Island Avenue was not your average gathering. Hundreds of cyclists biked from Grand Army Plaza in Park Slope to the crash site at Avenue L, where they staged a massive die-in.

If there's any good news from Sunday's event, it's this: More and more members of the mainstream media are doing a better job covering these all-too-frequent rallies instead of just shrugging off all the carnage with a "whaddya gonna do? It was an accident." Guse at the Newsuh played it the right way. And Jorge Fitz-Gibbon at the Post spun the high death toll as evidence that Mayor de Blasio should get off the national campaign trail and fix the problem (that said, we keep seeing evidence that the mayor is actually good on the national stage).

Even the usually pro-car CBS2 did a good job of covering the event (and the news show even ran a full list of all 19 cyclists who have been killed this year). (The definitive Twitter thread was by Brian Howald.)

And you can't beat this: Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who was silent for the first 18 15 cyclist deaths this year, called out the mayor for not making roadways safer. It's nice to have his voice in the fight. (Update: After initial publication of this story, Williams provided evidence that his office had tweeted that "we can and must do more" to protect cyclists after the 15th 2019 death. Our initial use of 18 reflected Streetsblog's repeated effort to get Williams himself to publicly say something about this year's bloodshed, which he finally did at a press conference two weeks ago).

While we're on the topic of municipal leadership, the rally sent an implicit message to would-be mayors Corey Johnson, Scott Stringer, Ruben Diaz Jr. and Eric Adams: Ignore these die-ins at your own peril. We want change. We want safety. We want livable streets. We want quality of life.

More pictures by Vladimir Vince are at the bottom of this post. Until then, here's the news you might have missed over the weekend:

    • President Trump issued what may be the calmest, most normal tweet of his presidency — a promise to work with Gov. Cuomo to extend the Second Avenue Subway — yet in the end, no one knew what to make of it...because so-called "Con Don" hasn't actually allocated federal money yet. (WPIX, amNY)
    • On Wednesday, Gov. Cuomo will cut the ribbon on the second span of the Kosciuszko Bridge (also known as "The $900M Monument to Induced Demand") — and cyclists and pedestrians get free rein for the whole day before returning to second- and third-class citizens. (NYDN, amNY)
    • We loved Anna Sanders's story in the Daily News about New York City's frequently delayed school bus service, but which city desk editor buried this key fact: There have been 3,000 bus crashes in the last four years. Shouldn't New York's Hometown Paper be a bit more concerned about all those hometown New York kids either being transported or run down by the school bus? (No wonder the city will let parents track their kid's school bus with an app, as Gothamist reported last week.)
    • In case you missed it, The City reported on MTA secrecy late last week. We did our own version, too.
    • Sure wish there was a way to keep these unlicensed drivers — or these hit-and-run drivers — from killing more-vulnerable road users (both from NY Post).
    • Council Member Carlina Rivera showed her colleagues — and especially her mayor — how it's done on Sunday, enjoying a beautiful day by enjoying her city in the best possible way: A long bike ride that revealed how much work needs to be done (something the mayor never gets to see because he never experiences the city at street level). Judging by the pictures, Rivera had a great day (meanwhile, the mayor won't even take a ride with TransAlt).
    • We thank Gothamist for the reminder that license plates really are made by state prisoners (which reminds us of a great John Hiatt song...)
    • And, finally, Friend of Streetsblog Melodie Bryant shared "The Ballad of Robert Moses" by John Forster with us on Sunday. Even though the song is four years old, it still always brings a smile.

And here are the promised photos by Vladimir Vince of Sunday's vigil for Jose Alzorriz:

A cyclist towed Alzorriz's ghost bike from Grand Army Plaza to the crash site. Photo: Vladimir Vince
A cyclist towed Alzorriz's ghost bike from Grand Army Plaza to the crash site. Photo: Vladimir Vince
A cyclist towed Alzorriz's ghost bike from Grand Army Plaza to the crash site. Photo: Vladimir Vince
Hundreds of cyclists joined the vigil. Photo: Vladimir Vince
Hundreds of cyclists joined the vigil. Photo: Vladimir Vince
Hundreds of cyclists joined the vigil. Photo: Vladimir Vince
Alzorriz's partner Irene Hanna helped hang the ghost bike sign. Photo: Vladimir Vince
Alzorriz's partner Irene Hanna helped hang the ghost bike sign. Photo: Vladimir Vince
Alzorriz's partner Irene Hanna helped hang the ghost bike sign. Photo: Vladimir Vince

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