Wednesday’s Headlines: Road Violence is a Public Health Emergency Edition

If any one group deserves an award for alerting city officials about the danger of road violence, it is Families for Safe Streets.
If any one group deserves an award for alerting city officials about the danger of road violence, it is Families for Safe Streets.

Congrats to our friends at Families for Safe Streets, who on Tuesday received the prestigious Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize for “distinguished accomplishments in the field of urban public health.”
The award is obviously well deserved, given that FSS has been calling road violence “a public health emergency” for a while now, most recently in our pages this summer.

The group even met with state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, though the top doc hasn’t done anything specific since that meeting — like declare road carnage a health emergency and use his expanded powers to make our streets safe. Zucker’s spokesman told Streetsblog that the Department of Health has instead focused on its “ongoing work to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries throughout New York State.”

The spokesman, Jonah Bruno, cited the Health Department’s role “as one of the lead agencies on the Pedestrian Safety Action Plan” — which started in 2016 — and for “including goals to reduce traffic-related injuries for pedestrians and bicyclists in the NYS Prevention Agenda, 2019-2024.” (Click the links and you tell us if you think the state Department of Health is doing enough.)

In any event, it was a good day for Families for Safe Streets. Now the news:

  • One day after The City broke the story, there was lots of analysis of the MTA’s proposal to hire taxis for late-night transit users. Guse of the Newsuh played it straight. Gothamist focused on the uncomfortable belief that tech can fix anything. Streetsblog tried to figure out just how many people this will help — and how much it’ll cost — but the MTA didn’t want to provide details.
  • The MTA’s inspector general has issued her report on that mangled escalator disaster last year — spoiler alert: it stemmed from the MTA’s failure to do regular maintenance. (NY Post, Gothamist, calling it the “deathscalator” in a nice tabloidy touch)
  • The MTA released its staff list for the new Transformation Management Office — and the Schneps-owned amNY dutifully printed it. The increasingly small-bore, community paper also posted a story about a new bus-arrival clock in Greenwich Village and covered a rally at the MTA’s headquarters that featured the news-less lede, “Transit advocates were knock-knock-knocking on the MTA’s door Tuesday morning…”
  • And, finally, the Times has finally gotten onto the Taste of Persia story, which has everything a great New York story should have: larger-than-life characters, a landlord-tenant dispute, ethnic rivalries and allegations of theft. This story also has the benefit of centering on the best fesenjan in the city.

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