Monday’s Headlines: End of the Century Edition

Bye, bye love: The finish line at Transportation Alternatives' 30th and final  NYC Century Bike Tour. Photo: TransAlt
Bye, bye love: The finish line at Transportation Alternatives' 30th and final NYC Century Bike Tour. Photo: TransAlt

More than 3,000 cyclists — including many friends of Streetsblog — converged on city roads yesterday for Transportation Alternatives’ 30th and final New York City Century Bike Tour. From a team-building, adrenaline-pumping point of view, the 100-mile race could not have been better: It was a glorious ride on a sunny, dry day — the kind of day that prompts New Yorkers of a certain age to sing jingles to the Empire State. The ride generated a lot of action on Twitter, and Clarence Eckerson made an “Ode to the NYC Century 2019” Streetsfilm that should not be missed.

Of course, the end of a popular, 30-year-old event will always seem a little sad, even though TransAlt’s rationale for discontinuing it strikes us as entirely understandable.

“Producing major citywide events isn’t where our power comes from,” then-interim co-executive directors Marco Conner and Ellen McDermott wrote in our pages in May. “We draw it instead from our ability to bring people together to demand change; from our relationships with decision-makers and the media; and most importantly, people like you who feel the urgency of our mission to reclaim streets from the automobile.”

We hear that as a clarion call to pursue justice: Safe-streets activists must press those in power with the same determination with which 3,300 pumped-up bikers yesterday pushed the pedals. It’s the same motion, really: We need to put our bodies “upon the gears and upon the wheels.

And now, here’s the news you may have missed this weekend:

  • School buses came up short on the first day of classes, according to Department of Education data. (NYDN)
  • The mayor is ramming through another $43M of purchases for his money-pit pleasure boat (excuse us, NYC Ferry) over Comptroller Scott Stringer’s objections. (NYP)
  • Some 600 subway riders were evacuated from the High Street station in Brooklyn yesterday because of smoke in the tunnel. (AMNY)
  • “Yes, Texting While Walking Is Relatively Safe. (But Still Annoying),” per NYT, a headline that proves once again that the Paper of Record’s default viewpoint is from behind the windshield of a car.
  • A transit supervisor was seriously injured on Friday when he fell onto tracks at the Yankee Stadium station, the Post reports.
  • Gothamist provides a Baedecker to upcoming subway changes,
  • Governor Cuomo’s vanity-license-plate scheme to promote the memory of his dad foundered on public opinion. (Gothamist, NYP)
  • TWU rattles the sabers again in its contract dispute with the MTA. (NYP)
  • The Chief Leader interviewed the pregnant bus driver who’s suing the MTA for allegedly denying her city- and state-mandated accommodations. Her attorney? Arthur Schwartz. Who sent us the clip? Arthur Schwartz. AMNY had the story on Thursday.
  • SI Live’s Tom Wrobleski seldom misses an opportunity to lash back at cyclists.
  • CityLab had an interesting story to keep in mind as New York enacts regulations for e-bikes and e-scooters: Concerns about rider-data privacy are spreading as a controversial scooter-tracking program gains traction.
  • Streetsblog Board Member Gabe Klein opines in Forbes that enforcing traffic safety also can help cut crime.
  • The new Port Authority Bus Station will cost billions, but won’t have gates for Megabuses. (Gothamist)
  • The City discovered via a Freedom of Information Law request that the Department of Transportation lists as “open” 2,000 road- and bike-lane-marking projects — some since 2014. Translation: Dangers abound because no one can figure out where to drive, walk or ride on the unmarked streets.
  • NBC4’s David Ushery follows Streetsblog’s story about the crisis on the Central Park loops with a podcast interview of former Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe.
  • Politico’s Dana Rubinstein reports that labor activists are taking aim at the “gig economy” business model of Uber and Lyft.
  • Larry Littlefield

    At least the TWU is planning to diminish the quality of vehicular traffic instead of transit service for a change.

    What do NY public unions and national Republicans have in common? The both think it’s in their self interest to make the quality of government services worse.

    The former so they can demand even higher taxes they themselves don’t have to pay. The latter to discredit government, which the rich so not need, so people can accept living without it, so they don’t have to pay taxes.

  • Larry Littlefield

    I rode in the last Century for 35 miles, and had a good time. The problem with it is the 100 miles is not going to attract new cyclists to riding around the city. It’s too far, and too intimidating. But 25 to 35 mile events might work, if people can be convinced they can do it. (It’s like hiking 8-10 miles).

  • Ed Ravin

    Correction – the TA Century is a 30-year old fundraising ride. It is not a race.

  • kevd
  • djx

    “The problem with it is the 100 miles is not going to attract new cyclists to riding around the city”

    Is that the objective?

    In any case there were many other distances for this event – so you’re talking about something you don’t know about.

    I had a blast myself and wish I’d done it more times in the past.

  • Daphna

    The islands on the median have been removed at Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard and 125th Street in Manhattan. Does anyone know what re-design is going in there? A wider median and islands were installed several years ago on Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard (7th Avenue) from 110th to 155th Street against the objections of Manhattan Community Board 10. Many of the bollards that were originally part of the plan were removed at Community Board 10’s request. Originally the DOT had proposed bike lanes for that street but the Community Board rejected all versions of that plan, so instead there was the road diet proposal (which CB10 rejected but was installed anyway). I am wondering if the median will be built out more? Or will it be lessened?

  • walks bikes drives

    I did the 75 yesterday and I too wish I had ridden in more of the past ones. But as for your comments here saying the 100 wont attract new riders, I disagree. One of the people I rode with yesterday had just gotten into riding a few months ago, so this was his first century, and he was amped to do the whole thing. But if he wasnt up for 100, there were many more options, as Kevd shows below. Including a 15 mile ride that has a front and rear NYPD escort. So the most nervous beginner would have the “safer” 15 mile option, while giving a great range of intermediate distances up to the full century.

  • Larry Littlefield

    As I noted, I rode the 35 miles myself, but people think of the Century as a 100 mile ride, not a 35 mile ride. It’s a marketing issue.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “The law the coalition is seeking would apply to Uber and Lyft drivers, and also to nail salon workers and bike delivery workers for Door Dash.”

    How about taxi drivers without their own medallions?

    This goes back a long way.

  • AMH

    Islands (not the full median) have been widened north of 125th, so I hope the full median is being built out. It’s still such a speedway–two hotheads in sportscars were racing last night.

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