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Thursday’s Headlines: The Cycling Surge Edition

12:05 AM EDT on March 12, 2020

It’s not the expansion of cycling that causes the epidemic of crashes. It’s the lack of cycling infrastructure, the persistence of bad driving, and the proliferation of assault cars that do. Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.

You know how the Times is famous for ignoring one-day stories like a cop in a bike lane yelling pro-Trump slogans, or a pedestrian run over by a speeding driver — but then come back six months later with some exhaustive analysis that ties up a major urban issue with a nice bow?

Well, not to be Cliff Levy's assignment editor, but just such a perfect Times Metro story is playing out in real time this week: coronavirus is providing the perfect excuse to finally transform our streets.

Bike ridership is soaring (NYDN, NY Post), the subways are emptying out (NY Post), and there is evidence that people are driving less (Crain's). Yet the mayor isn't doing anything to change people's long-term habits (heck, he won't even take his own advice and bike to work, as we reported). Doesn't he remember Rahm Emanuel's famous dictum?

Again, not to tell Cliff Levy his job, but with its global heft, the Times could tie in reporting from Paris, where Mayor Anne Hidalgo followed Emanuel's advice during a transit strike — and now streets are less choked by cars. And Levy's minions, with their academic side interests, could review the history and remember that Amsterdam started taking back its streets from cars after grieving parents took to the streets to "Stop de Kindermoord."

All we're saying is that the time is right for a massive feature story about how we should institute change now before we all go back to our bad habits once this crisis fades.

OK, off the soapbox. Here's yesterday's other news:

    • The Daily News had a touching story about Frank Decolvenaere, the pedestrian killed last week in Bay Ridge as he walked his dog. The badly injured dog, Stormy, has been treated and released — and is now bringing a tiny measure of solace to Decolvenaere's widow. Meanwhile, cops have not charged the speeding driver who killed him.
    • The fuse on the MTA's debt bomb just got a lot shorter because of coronavirus. (NYDN, NY Post, Streetsblog, amNY)
    • Remember that unlicensed driver who killed Victoria Nicodemus in 2015, filling our pages for weeks? Oh, yeah, well about that: he pleaded it down and won't serve a day in jail. This is justice, DA Eric Gonzalez? (NY Post)
    • After printing a reprehensible anti-bike op-ed, amNY at least gave equal time to Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Danny Harris.
    • Oh and the St. Patrick's Day Parade has been canceled. (NY Post)

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