Tuesday’s Headlines: There Really is No War on Cars Edition

Greta Thunberg
Greta Thunberg

There is no war on cars. The mayor is not doing anything to prevent car owners from doing what they have always done, drive wherever they want, befoul the air and kill, often without any penalty at all.

Drivers think there is a war on cars because there are a handful of new bike lanes, or the city has created a few more loading zones so trucks aren’t doubled-parked in the roadway, but really, both changes were made to benefit drivers by clearing away anything that could slow them down. The mayor is even cracking down on Uber and Lyft in hopes of reducing congestion so drivers can move around faster. And if there’s such a war on cars, why did the MTA report on Monday that bus speeds are down yet again (NYDN, amNY)? Buses are slowing down because Mayor de Blasio continues to allow cars to be in their way. The mayor can’t even commit to getting reckless drivers off the road (Streetsblog)!

Yet the “War on Cars” myth persists. In fact, even as he ruled in favor of a city bus lane on Monday, a car-loving Queens judge jabbed a finger at Mayor de Blasio, complaining that he now hates driving because of restrictions like speed bumps and, oddly, speed cameras that only capture drivers when they exceed the speed limit by 11 or more miles per hour (got a lead foot, there, your honor?).

And on Wednesday, another self-styled community group will protest bike lanes in Park Slope, claiming, erroneously, that bike lanes prevent first responders from getting to emergencies. That’s a myth, too.

No, there’s no war on cars. There’s just the same warming planet that we’re not doing anything about — and the same dangerous roads where 159 people have already lost their lives (up 14 percent from the same period last year.

OK, enough yakkin’. Here’s the news:

  • Weird story by amNY’s Vin Barone and the Post’s David Meyer yesterday. It seems injuries to passengers inside city buses are on the rise, and a safety official says it might be because bus drivers are swerving to avoid hitting bicyclists, pedestrians and cars. Um, if they’re swerving at such high speeds, maybe they should just, er, slow down?
  • A judge ordered the city to provide enforcement data on fair evasions, so we can know once and for all if how the NYPD is disproportionately targeting minorities. (NYDN, Gothamist, NY Post)
  • OK, so maybe there is a tiny war on one form of cars — the arrogantly parked ones. The City reports that the Parks Department may tell Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams to stop parking his official cars on parkland.
  • New York City Transit President Andy Byford says he was really sad to cut service on Brooklyn’s busiest bus line. (NYDN)
  • Cops aren’t the only ones who parrot pro-Trump slogans. Apparently, MTA workers are also bullying people by showing their support for the president. (Politico)
  • A man was run down and killed on Flatbush Avenue early Tuesday morning. Police say the driver had the green light — but cops refused to say if the driver was speeding just before the 12:05 a.m. collision. (News12)
  • Clarence Eckerson Jr. of Streetfilms covered Saturday’s closure of the northbound side of Broadway between 72nd and 79th streets — which is something that should be permanent.
  • And, finally, StreetsblogUSA posted the full four-minute speech by Greta Thunberg, but even if you watch just the 1:50 version, it’s pretty damn powerful (especially the part where she calls out Mayor de Blasio for not giving up his car — kidding!).

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First Avenue Bike Lane Designs Prove, Again, There’s No War On Cars

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Here’s a question for the tabloids: if Janette Sadik-Khan is really a “psycho bike lady,” why isn’t there a protected bike lane on First Avenue in midtown Manhattan? To ask the question is to answer it. Under Sadik-Khan, the Department of Transportation has been implementing more innovative and progressive policy than under previous administrations, but […]