Thursday’s Headlines: Losing the Peace Edition
We are definitely going to win the war, but the mayor is not winning the peace.
Everywhere we turned yesterday, we got another example of how Mayor de Blasio is not planning for the post-COVID-19 city nearly as well as many, many world capitals. (Reminder: This is a guy who very early in the crisis asked New Yorkers to bike to work if they could — and yet has done virtually nothing to support those cyclists, many of whom are first-time riders.) Yes, we are in an immediate crisis, but we also have to plan ahead (and we don’t mean for a fireworks show on July 4!): our city will be a better place if the mayor devises a strategy to make sure we don’t end up with more cars in the inevitable post-COVID period when people are nervous about transit. Building the mode share of cycling would be a good start.
Milan is planning ahead (Guardian). So is Dublin (Irish Times). And those cities are following up on so many initiatives that we’ve already covered (Bogota! Paris! Oakland! Minneapolis!) that will leave so many places in a better position once the crisis has passed. But this mayor won’t even greenlight a plan to shutter Broadway between Times Square and Soho to cars — even as the business community in those areas say they’ll help implement it (he’ll be forced to by the City Council, as the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday).
And he can’t even refrain from mischaracterizing what other cities are doing, with Streetsblog and the Post taking Hizzoner to task for some bizarre comments about California yesterday (we had a sidebar, too, by a real, live Californian!). (On the plus side, at least he’s not as bad as that mayor of Las Vegas. Yeesh! Talk about a viral video.)
In other news:
- The Times offered a deep dive on the more than 200 city workers who have died of coronavirus. The takeaway: “The city seemed slow to adapt.”
- In case you missed it, the MTA’s construction crews are not experiencing anywhere near the kind of coronavirus infection rates as other transit workers. (NYDN)
- The MTA is in a ridership and revenue freefall — but homelessness on the subway? That’s the city’s job! (NY Post) Maybe Mayor de Blasio should call the subway system “open space” — then he can put all the cops he wants down there!
- Westchester County’s car-free parkway Sundays will continue through the pandemic. (LoHud)
- Cars and trucks are a failed technology. (NY Post)
- Friend of Streetsblog David Roberts suggests that electrifying the U.S. Postal Service fleet would be a great coronavirus stimulus project, reducing air and noise pollution while creating jobs. (Vox)
- A debunked-by-Streetsblog study about New York City transit’s role in spreading coronavirus put the subway smack in the middle of the culture wars. (City Lab)