Thursday’s Headlines: Car-Free Costa Edition

Would-be Queens borough president Costa Constantinides. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
Would-be Queens borough president Costa Constantinides. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

Most candidates for Queens Borough President talk about getting constituents out of their cars, but only one spoke last night of actually leading by example.

At a candidates forum held by the New York League of Conservation Voters, Council Member Costa Constantinides said he would buck decades of tradition — as well as current practice by the other four beeps — and not accept a city-provided car and driver. He said he would take public transit to get around his borough, and use his own car rarely.

“I’m not going to have a budget line for an SUV or chauffeurs,” Constantinides said, promising to use the money to create a “Deputy Borough President for Sustainability and creating a holistic transit plan that gets Queens residents out of their cars.”

“Why should the taxpayers have to foot the bill for fossil fuel SUVs?” he added. (We hope the StreetsPAC screening panel was on hand!).

Yesterday was a bit of a washout, with our old man editor laid low by a 24-hour bug. Looks like he picked a good slow news day to be sick, though:

  • We enjoyed reading about the retirement of the R-42 train cars, which date back to the 1960s. A few dozen remained in service until Wednesday’s farewell. (NYDN, NY Post, amNY)
  • On the ceremonial last ride, Andy Byford made a bittersweet appearance, and was lauded. (NYDN)
  • More details emerged about that off-duty cop who hit a delivery cyclist in Crown Heights on Tuesday, with the Daily News reporting that the cop had the light.
  • Like many New Yorkers, Julia Vitullo-Martin is concerned about helicopters (Gotham Gazette), but, wait, what’s this now? Seaplanes in the East River? (WBZ Radio)
  • Just days after we praised car-loving Staten Island Advance columnist Tom Wrobleski for praising public transit, he wrote just a flat-out dumb column complaining of the Council’s just-passed bill to rein in reckless drivers — you know, people with 15 speeding tickets in 12 months. Wrobleski sees the bill as a war on drivers, but to him, everything is, including the speed limit, which he says is too low. It’s not, Tom, it’s not. Studies show that the chances of death dramatically increase for every mile per hour over 20.
  • And, finally, Bay Ridge Drivers had a perfect takedown of Council Member Joe Borelli, who voted against the reckless driver measure.

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Park advocates, a local civic association, and Council Member Costa Constantinides are calling on DOT to implement traffic calming around Astoria Park after a hit-and-run driver killed a woman just outside the park last month. The effort could grow much larger than changes to the intersection where the crash occurred: Pressure is mounting for DOT to reimagine the way motorists drive around […]
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