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Arthur Schwartz

Monday’s Headlines: Belly of the Beast Edition

12:01 AM EDT on October 7, 2019

The man Streetsblog readers love to hate, Arthur Schwartz. Our editor, Gersh Kuntzman, will be on his radio show today.

On the third full day of the city's 14th Street busway — which is receiving glowing reviews — our editor will journey into the belly of the beast: Defending the transit-priority strip on busway foe Arthur Schwartz's WBAI radio show today at 5 p.m.

Schwartz is not merely a busway opponent — he claims to be a progressive, but sued the city to prevent the busway, and delayed its inception for months, hurting working-class bus riders who just want to get to work. Schwartz will likely say that the cars that have been banished from 14th Street have ended up on sidestreets, but there's no evidence of that yet.

Indeed, since Thursday, reviews of the busway have been so laudatory that everyone except Schwartz is already calling for the car-free approach to be expanded to all crosstown strips — and into the outer boroughs. (NY1's Pat Kiernan loves the busway, too!)

But our editor is a gracious radio guest. He promises not to gloat all over Schwartz's studio. But he will grill the lawyer on his defeat on 14th Street and his even more humiliating loss battling a similar city transit plan on Fresh Pond Road. Doug Gordon offered encouragement on Twitter. It'll be fun.

For now, here's the news:

    • The Daily News had more details about the unlicensed driver who killed a 10-year-old boy in Kensington on Saturday. The judge in the case let driver Victor Mejia go, but told him to stay off the roads. We're sure that's comforting to the family of Dalerjon Shakhobiddinov. (The Post's story had less meat.) Gothamist offered a nice feature with good points made by lawyer and Friend of Streetsblog Steve Vaccaro.
    • In a related smackdown, much-repudiated Council Member Kalman Yeger went after a Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams's chief of staff for having the temerity to call for safety improvements where Dalerjon was killed. And then Streetsblog's Julianne Cuba put Yeger in his place.

In case you missed it:

    • Kudos to the New York Times's opinion pages, which clearly understands that cars are death machines. Funny how Brooklynite Clifford Levy's Metro section still doesn't get it. And, frankly, the rest of the paper doesn't get it, either, claiming on Saturday that Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is making "many" enemies with her people-first, cars-last, climate-friendly approach to urban planning. Fact: She's making far more friends than enemies.
    • The DOT is hiring people to represent the agency at community board and town hall meetings about the city's "Green Wave" plan. The pay is good, but it takes a certain person to be willing to be cannon fodder at public hearings about putting tiny cracks in the car culture. If interested, here's the listing.
    • The car-loving Riverdale Press is at it again, complaining about the removal of parking in favor of more crosswalk. "While it might be safer travels by pedestrians, it didn’t stop 150 people from signing a petition calling for the removal of the crosswalks and reinstallation of lost parking," the paper reported, with its sympathies barely in check.

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