Wednesday’s Headlines: ‘Choose Life’ Edition

Thanks to cars, children in New York are never really safe. Photo: Bess Adler
Thanks to cars, children in New York are never really safe. Photo: Bess Adler

“Be very careful about your lives.”

We thought of that Torah commandment yesterday when we were editing the story out of Midwood, where the driver of an SUV jumped a curb, mowing down a 10-year-old boy, Enzo Farachio, who was waiting at a bus stop. (Streetsblog covered it, as did many others.)

It kind of popped into our head — like a mantra — and, like a mantra, it began repeating.

“Be very careful about your lives.”

In Midwood — like in many city neighborhoods — the streets teem with children. The area is home to many families with school-age children — and school is back in session (as Streetsblog noted in a photo essay about kids and cars last week).

Children are walking to and from schools. Children are waiting at bus stops — like the poor child who was killed.

“Be very careful about your lives.”

One day, we hope, New Yorkers will marvel that they or anyone ever thought it safe or sane to drive 6,00o-pound SUVs through streets teeming with children — so inimical is that behavior to the notion that we “be very careful” about our lives, as most faith traditions teach.

“Be very careful about your lives.”

That should be basic — even if we don’t believe, as some of us do, that those are the words of the living God who commands us to “choose life, so that you and your children shall live.”

In other news yesterday:

  • A coalition of 17 safe-streets groups called on the mayor to drop the helmet-law nonsense and focus on street safety. (Streetsblog)
  • Federal prosecutors in New York have opened an investigation into loan fraud in the taxi industry. (NYT)
  • Today some streets in lower Manhattan will be closed to cars in commemoration of 9/11. Why only today? Lower Manhattan streets weren’t built for cars, and should be closed to them permanently. (AMNY)
  • The Post sympathized with Governor Cuomo on subway poop and other quality-of-life questions. The City also covered.
  • In a further dispatch from the bupke beat, the “F” in “F Train” stands for “feces,” did you know? (NYP)
  • ExpoNJ produced an epic post about the Port Authority Bus Station and the NJ Transit buses — which are held together by duct tape in some cases.
  • A cop in the Bronx does not like kids on bikes, to put it mildly. (Streetsblog)
  • A hit-and-run-driver killed a 72-year-old woman in Queens. (Gothamist, Streetsblog)
  • NY1 found a bunch of young people making homes in vans.
  • And, finally, a Staten Island school-bus company is being hit with a $1 million negligence lawsuit over an incident last year in which a student was left for hours on an empty bus. (SILive)



  • Daphna

    Eyes on the Street.

    It is nice to see Union Square West pedestrianized from 17th Street to 16th Street. There was a proposal many years ago to close Union Square West from 17th to 14th Street to traffic for certain hours each day, but the community board rejected that plan. At least all these years later the idea was re-visited.

    Amsterdam Avenue from 110th to 155th Street in Manhattan, which is overdue for the installation of a years long stalled road diet due to Manhattan Community Board 9, has markings showing that changes will be striped soon.

  • Daphna

    Also for 9/11 today Riverside Drive was closed to cars and bikes from 111th Street to 95th Street.

  • Carspotting

    I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin’ else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got cars?

  • Simon Phearson

    This morning, after crossing over the W’burg bridge into Manhattan, and then biking up Clinton, I was struck by the number of children on bikes and bike seats in Clinton’s lane.

    Normally, I would be cheered by the presence of children, since this would indicate that the street functions safely enough that parents are confident letting their children navigate the street independently. Unfortunately, anyone who knows that stretch knows that it isn’t for novices, full as it is with trucks and livery drivers, in often snarled conditions, with the painted bike lane providing zero protection from frequent driver incursion and constant hooking risk.

    I hope that it does not take another death or serious injury at the hands of drivers to make that a truly great cycling corridor.

  • Parent

    “I hope that it does not take another death or serious injury at the hands of drivers to make that a truly great cycling corridor.”

    Under Bill de Blasio and Polly Trotteberg, that’s exactly what it will take. And even then, the city is so beholden to LOS that any changes to the street won’t result in it becoming a truly great cycling corridor.

  • kevd

    Why not close USqW 16th-17th, and 14th-15th.
    with 15th-16th open as a slow loop so vehicles can still access 15th and 16th between 5th and USqW?
    I’ll be like 1/3rd of a Barcelona super block.

  • Daphna

    I think all of Union Square West should be closed to vehicles. Closing it would also solve a longstanding traffic disobedience problem: southbound Union Square West at 14th Street is right turn only and has been for MANY years, yet vehicles regularly turn left there with impunity.

  • SSkate

    The new Amsterdam bike lanes were striped from 110th to 116th when I skated up the ave last night (9/10). Presumably further but that’s as far as I went. There’s more work to do, as the cyclist symbol still needs to be applied along the lane. DOT seems to use striping specialists (one crew does white lines, one crew does yellow lines, one crew does cyclist gfx) and they work on separate days.

  • SSkate

    There was a ceremony at the firefighters memorial at 100th at 9:30.

  • Isaac B

    Wow, quoting Torah!

  • A street that should be pedestrianised and off-limits to to all vehicles except buses, in the manner of Fulton Street, is Jamaica Avenue between Parsons Boulevard and 168th Street.

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Occasional tweets (and actual policing) aside, NYPD has gotten savvier with its traffic safety messages under Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. For the start of school, the police blasted out information aimed at both drivers and kids. While there’s room for improvement, it’s a step up from some of the department’s previous traffic safety tips. The latest round of street safety […]