Tuesday’s Headlines: There is a Way Out of this SUV Mess Edition

Why is this legal? File photo: Gersh Kuntzman
Why is this legal? File photo: Gersh Kuntzman

You know, we don’t have to just throw up our hands.

America is addicted to ever-larger trucks and SUVs, which — as any superfan of Polly Trottenberg knows —  are a public safety crisis, responsible for more than their share of death and destruction.

The federal government doesn’t seem interested in doing much about it, but that doesn’t mean Mayor de Blasio can’t finally rein in these beasts. Our friend David Zipper at City Lab laid out myriad options that any municipality can deploy — among them charging more for big-car parking, tying other fees to vehicle size, banning “bull guards” and downsizing their own municipal fleets (which is sort of the opposite of what the city is doing, thanks to the NYPD’s SUV jones).

Will the mayor do anything? He hasn’t so far, but there’s still time:

In other news:

  • Only the Post played President Trump’s New York “anarchy” story as real news rather than the campaign press release it was. Meanwhile, the Daily News wooded snarkily (pictured below).DN anarchy wood
  • The Wall Street Journal offered more evidence that local neighborhoods are getting stronger because people aren’t driving as much (and not going to offices, either).
  • We learned more about the man who allegedly caused Sunday’s A train derailment. (NYDN)
  • Subway crime is down, but the rate is up because there are so few riders. (NYDN)
  • Electric scooters are on fire right now — and sometimes not in a good way. (NY Post)
  • The Port Authority (obviously) is backing its own “wrong way” LaGuardia Air Train (amNY), but so did 12 former state and city transportation officials in the ultimate boy’s club letter to federal authorities (Streetsblog).
  • One day after we mentioned the “Fuck Cuomo and de Blasio” mural in Williamsburg, the Brooklyn Paper connected it to a mysterious trashing of open street barricades in the very same neighborhood. Hmmm…
  • Behold — a gorgeous building that will never get built on Roosevelt Island. (NY Post)
  • If you don’t like the sight of a massive mischief of rats, do not click on Jake Offenhartz’s Gothamist story about a massive mischief of rats.
  • As activists begged last month in these pages, the express bus lane has returned near the Lincoln Tunnel, helping transit users. (NJ 101.5)
  • Two men were killed in a massive car crash in Rockland County on Monday (NY Post), but one was later revealed to be someone who does crazy stuff when he drives (Hasidic2 via Twitter):


De Blasio on a rare subway trip in early 2014. Photo: Rob Bennett/NYC Mayor's Office

It’s More Than “Cheap Symbolism” When the Mayor Rides Transit

De Blasio dismisses the importance of getting out of his SUV. But if he's getting chauffeured everywhere he goes, there's no way the mayor can viscerally understand what the three-quarters of New Yorkers who don't commute by car experience on a daily basis. If he doesn't regularly experience what it's like to get around without driving, he won't feel on a gut level why improving transit, biking, and walking is so important.

Confronting Our Problems

Below is an interesting e-mail sent yesterday to Transportation Alternatives. T.A. forwarded it to Streetsblog and we all thought that it would make fodder for an interesting discussion. The letter’s author gave Streetsblog permission to publish it. One of my questions is whether people think that this cyclist’s approach is a productive way for New York City’s urban environmental advocates to press […]