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Bill de Blasio

Friday’s Headlines: Idol Thoughts Edition

12:05 AM EST on February 28, 2020

See? There’s that lip! Photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

What a weird day at City Hall. The mayor held a press conference with rock legend Billy Idol to promote a new ad campaign for a worthy, but difficult to use and not new at all, initiative to allow New Yorkers to report buses and trucks that are idling — and then get 25 percent of the summons money.

You can probably guess that Idol's rock star upper lip is prominent on the city's new website, as is the tagline: "Billy Never Idles. Neither Should You." (The Post and Gothamist played it straight, including the obligatory reference to the mayor's frequent motorcade rides to the gym. The Times was reaching for poetry, fell back on puns that it blamed other reporters for, and didn't mention the mayor's gym trips at all.)

There wasn't much news, really, because the program allowing people to rat out polluters has been around since 2018 — and still requires people to get authorized (with a notarized letter!) if they want to submit videos to the city without having to attend a lot of trials. And the program still doesn't apply to private cars, which emit the most pollution. But hey, Billy Idol!

In other news from the presser, the mayor admitted that he really is considering prioritizing parking over completing the Queens Boulevard bike lane in the most safe manner (Streetsblog, and Patch, with soon-to-be-poached star Maya Kaufman adding some value). He was also particularly rude to our reporter, Julianne Cuba, and Daily News reporter Anna Sanders called him out on it in front of everyone (and in a subtle tweet later).

In other news yesterday:

    • The video of 7-year-old Payson Lott being run over in East New York yesterday is the strongest argument for banning cars, first near schools then, eventually, all over (NYDN). But Mayor de Blasio again refused to consider it yesterday, as Streetsblog reported. The Post also covered it, minus the video.
    • An off-duty city EMT died when she crashed her motorcycle into a garbage truck ... one that was unsafely double-parked. (NYDN, NY Post)
    • The Trump administration has long stalled the crucial Gateway project to bring new rail tunnels under the Hudson, but at least Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao appears to be willing to fix the existing tunnels — with "the Cuomo method"! (NYDN, NY Times)
    • The Post's David Meyer did a full write-thru on a story we had in the headlines yesterday about a Rochester cyclist who was run down and nearly killed by a motorist — and then sued by the car driver for damaging the car!
    • Here's a nice bit of beat reporting from Jose Martinez at The City: Southern Brooklyn subway riders get screwed again. (Good thing we bike to Coney!)

That's all, folks. We leave you with a great idle thought from Friend of Streetsblog, Steve Bodzin:

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