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Tuesday’s Headlines: What a Busy Day Edition

12:05 AM EDT on March 17, 2020

No more! NYPD’s e-bike seizures impose a heavy cost on low-wage delivery workers. Photo: NYPD

Lots of things happened yesterday and, of course, Streetsblog was in the mix.

We get a lot of heat from Twitter trolls about pushing our "agenda" during the crisis, but our "agenda" is simply that people should be able to get around without fear of being killed or being targeted by police.

We declared victory on at least one of those fronts yesterday when the mayor said he would no longer crack down on e-bike-using delivery workers during the corona crisis (the Post's David Meyer also covered). That decision came after we and others reminded Hizzoner that long-suffering delivery workers are going to be the unsung (and underpaid) heroes of the crisis. As they ferry food to quarantining or work-from-home New Yorkers and risk their own health for low wages, the last thing they should have to worry about is being arrested by cops for using a technically illegal bike.

So thank you, Mr. Mayor.

That said, we are entering a new phase of life in this dirty town we all love, and Streetsblog vows to play a constructive role in holding our officials accountable and to make sure the crisis does not — as all crises tend to — disproportionately affect the poor, the less-fortunate, and the most-vulnerable. This virus is a crisis, but it's also a crisistunity — a chance to make changes that will benefit us in the short term, but also make us more sustainable when we come out of this (and still have to face the "normal" crisis of road deaths, dangerous drivers and climate change).

With that, here's the rest of the news from corona city and beyond:

    • Reporters have long questioned the mayor's penchant being driven all the way from Gracie Mansion to a Park Slope YMCA, but the practice came under renewed (and righteous) fire on Monday, when Hizzoner squeezed in one last workout despite his own demands that New Yorkers socially distance themselves from places like ... gyms. The Post and the Times pointed out that even friends of the mayor were calling the workout "pathetic." But the Times was most poignant: "In many ways, the mayor’s visit to the gym on Monday captured his reluctance to completely embrace the need for radical changes," Jeff Mays and Joe Goldstein's dead-on copy read. "Even after declaring a state of emergency on Thursday, Mr. de Blasio continued to suggest that more drastic actions were not yet needed." (City & State offered the harshest take — that coronavirus is de Blasio's Katrina.)
    • In a related story, in case you missed it, Friend of Streetsblog Charles Komanoff tweaked the mayor on his carbon hypocrisy last week. Also, who knew that America's greatest expert on congestion pricing was also a McCoy Tyner fan?
    • Far be it — very far be it — for us to care about the whining of car owners during a public health emergency, but there really is no reason for the city to maintain alternate-side street-sweeping rules during the crisis. The last thing we need are more people driving around looking for parking when they should just stay home. (NY Post)
    • The Daily News had more details about the Queens women who was run down and killed by a driver late on Saturday. We also covered, with help from reporter Abigail Weinberg.
    • The Dutch city of Utrecht is tripling-down on pedestrian-only space. Why can't we have nice things, Mayor de Blasio? (Clean Technica)
    • The Queens Borough President election has been scrubbed. (WSJ)
    • Some personal news: Please don't take away our salted crack caramel! (NY Post)
    • And, finally, we've had our differences with the governor, but this was a stroke of genius (Gothamist). And Ben Smith clearly agrees (NY Times).

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