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Wednesday’s Headlines: It Makes You Wonder Edition

12:51 AM EDT on September 18, 2019

Corey Johnson at his big rally on Tuesday. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

New York Times subscribers awoke to an email asking us to name the single biggest thing we've wondered about the city. We imagine that many readers will devote all of two seconds to the task, and the Paper of Record will spend the next 10 weeks answering questions like, "Who gets to pick the colors on the Empire State Building?" or "Are there alligators in the subway?"

We thought a little harder and sent Clifford Levy's car-loving minions this simple source of endless wonderment: "Why do politicians who represent a transit-rich, pedestrian-centric city with the nation's lowest levels of private car ownership still feel they must cater to car owners when figuring out how to allocate public space?"

This thought comes as we're picking up reports that two more politicians — Council Member Bob Holden and Assembly Member Catherine Nolan — will announce yet another lawsuit against the city for allocating public space in a manner that helps the larger public (in this case, bus riders on Fresh Pond Road) at the expense of a selfish minority (car owners).

It's the latest suit in a growing line of attempts to neuter the "transportation" part of the Department of Transportation's name. We're still waiting for rulings on suits against a road diet on Morris Park Avenue, the car-free busway on 14th Street, and the bike lane on Central Park West.

We'll update you as the day goes on. But in the meantime, email a good question to the Times.

Here's the news:

    • It was a big day for Corey Johnson in the papers, thanks to his and TransAlt's rally for the Speaker's "Streets Master Plan" bill. Streetsblog covered the hell out of it, but other media outlets were on top of it, too. Guse at the Newsuh did a broad overview that also touched on his recent trip to Europe, writing that Johnson "would not commit to raising the standards for protected bike lanes to catch up to other cities across the globe that do a better job of protecting cyclists." Meanwhile, Vin Barone at amNY focused on the bill's prospects.
    • And later in the day, Johnson took to Twitter to call for more protected bike lanes on Sixth and 10th avenues.
    • The Post's David Meyer picked through the Mayor's Management Report (where'd he learn to do that?!) and found this beauty: fewer people are cycling in the city. That's what happens when you don't build enough bike lanes.

We spotted the gross, gum-covered bus-lane sign (photo right) at Corey Johnson's presser, but didn't get it into print before the Post. So kudos to the Tabloid of Record for nailing those double-decker-bus-riding tourists.

  • A drunk driver killed a 1-year-old girl in the Bronx and was arrested, cops said. Mayor de Blasio (where's he been?) put out a weak statement claiming he "won’t rest until our streets are safe for our kids” (NYDN, NY Post, NY Times). He won't get much down time, given how many people are being killed even as they try to stay as far away from cars as they can (last week alone, a 10-year-old was killed waiting for a bus, a city worker was killed fixing a stoplight, and a pedestrian was killed on a Greenpoint sidewalk).
  • Gov. Cuomo has abandoned his plan for new license plates for the state's murder cages. (WSJ)
  • Barn door, meet horse: The City Council was so bothered by a community board that bought an SUV with discretionary cash that it has put a stop to that practice. (The City)
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