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Wednesday’s Headlines: How About a Little Slack for DOT Edition

DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg (Ieft with TransAlt Executive Director Danny Harris and StreetsPAC Executive Director Eric McClure) in better days. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

Wow, another day, another round of terrible news for the livable streets community — but before pounding the drumbeat of sad headlines, can we take a moment to cut a tiny bit of slack to the Department of Transportation and its sister agencies (except the NYPD)?

Say what you will about Mayor de Blasio (and let's hear it, especially if it's critical!), but city workers are facing an unprecedented challenge: thousands have been infected, hundreds have died and their coworkers are scattered to the four winds (and five boroughs). We are always expecting perfection from them, but let's be honest: it's asking too much right now. So let's just take a deep breath and give them a break (except the NYPD).

Besides, the mayor is probably going to give us five to eight more miles of open streets today, so it will be a good day, right?

Whew. We feel better. So here's the news:

    • The above paragraphs aside, wow, it was a bad day yesterday, what with DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg admitting that her agency would not complete the Queens Boulevard safety redesign this year  as promised (Streetsblog), and admitting that it had not funded a reckless driver crackdown (Streetsblog) that is completely necessary because there are more than 1,000 drivers who have already racked up 15 camera-issued speeding tickets this year alone! (Streetsblog)
    • The City Council is upset at the mayor for cutting funding for his own better bus initiative. (Streetsblog)
    • Thousands of bus drivers are out of work because of the coronavirus (NYDN)
    • Anna Sanders had a great story in the News about how many de Blasio donors were appointed to his recovery panels — and it was interesting because the two donors on the “surface transportation” panel — Cira Angeles of the "Livery Base Owners Association" and yellow cabbie Jaswinder Singh — are the only ones we haven't be able to reach so far (no number/email trail!)
    • As we predicted the other day, Mayor de Blasio caved to pressure on Staten Island and restored a redundant, unnecessary roadway for car use — and gave pedestrians a street that was already closed to car traffic. (SI Advance)
    • Yes, the NYPD racially biased coronavirus crackdown is getting worse. (NY Post, WSJ, amNY)
    • The city's promise to fill gaps in the Sixth Avenue protected bike lane aren't begin fulfilled fast enough for one Manhattan community board. (Patch)

In other news:

    • Seems like everyone was working on an open streets/restaurant story yesterday because the minute  Trottenberg mentioned it at a City Council hearing, long, well-researched, obviously-long-in-the-works stories started going up (Streetsblog, Gothamist). Other outlets did more of a quick hit (NYDN)
    • Our old man editor spends some nights lying awake staring at vehicle miles traveled data — but David Meyer of the Post scooped him with a report that New Yorkers have started driving more lately.
    • Transit agencies to Trump: Write check. (amNY)
    • Here's why cars need to be banned from Manhattan. (NY Post).
    • Speaking of Manhattan — what if hundreds of thousands of workers no longer have to commute into it every day? No, seriously, the Times took a peak into a future where "the city" is no longer the center of our world.
    • In case you missed it, Amanda Schachter had an op-ed in the Daily News calling for bike and scooter highways.
    • Streetsblog got snubbed by the Pulitzer's this year, but we were happy to learn that our intern Peter Senzamici's story about the low COVID-19 infection rates in Asian communities had won an award from the Society of Professional Journalists! (CCC)
    • And, finally, Quartz had a story about the driving decline during the coronavirus pandemic that featured a chart that shows just how much driving Americans do — and it's scary:
Coronavirus has cut driving by like 80 percent — but we're still driving more than we did 20 years ago. Chart: Quartz
Coronavirus has cut driving by like 80 percent — but we're still driving more than we did 20 years ago. Chart: Quartz
Coronavirus has cut driving by like 80 percent — but we're still driving more than we did 20 years ago. Chart: Quartz

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