Monday’s Headlines: Weekend Ride Edition

This is no way to get across a busy park. (Not shown — the last stretch when cyclists must dismount).
This is no way to get across a busy park. (Not shown — the last stretch when cyclists must dismount).
It's our December donation drive. Your gift helps us do these kinds of important stories. So please click here.
It’s our December donation drive. Your gift helps us do these kinds of important stories. So please click here.

It was a good news/bad news kind of day on Sunday.

First, the good news: even though the cops threatened to shut it down, Jackson Heights and Corona kids got to enjoy the annual sight of Santa and his elves biking through the neighborhood, spreading joy and, thanks to the best open street in town, no virus.

Now, the bad news: It’s been almost a year since Daniel Cammerman, a beloved pediatrician, was killed as he rode a Citi Bike from the West Side to the East Side on the 96th Street transverse. Since the senseless death, the Parks Department and the Central Parks Conservancy have done nothing to create a safe direct route through the park — one that, had it existed, would likely have saved the doctor’s life.

On Sunday, StreetopiaUWS, StreetsPAC and TransAlt led a group of riders (including at least two Council candidates!) along the existing shared route through the park at 96th St. It’s a barely marked, unsafe, congestion- and conflict-filled path that is so bad that Cammerman obviously thought he’d take his chances with the deadly transverse.

On the ride, pedestrians were angry to see cyclists on what they think is “their” space (a few small signs indicate that the narrow roadway is, indeed, shared space, but all that means is that both cyclists and pedestrians suffer). (The West Side Rag also covered.)

“I’m always getting yelled at when I ride on the shared path,” said Kara Pham, who needs to bike across the park frequently. “If it’s a nice day, I don’t even bother.”

Car drivers have four transverses through the park. Cyclists have one: 72nd Street. At the end of the ride on the East Side, cyclists have to dismount and walk the last football field or so.

“We don’t make car drivers get out of their vehicles and push the last bit,” said a Jim Zisfein as he stood next to Cammerman’s ghost bike. “So why do we make cyclists?”

Here’s a slideshow of our day:

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In other news:

  • That ongoing story about the defiant Staten Island bar owner has finally crossed into Streetsblog territory … thanks to him road raging all over a deputy sheriff. Whatever happened to the right-wing’s belief in “law and order”? (NYDN, NY Post, NY Times)
  • Another sad road death in The Bronx. (NYDN)
  • Must-read for Mitch McConnell: Transit systems around the nation are facing an existential crisis. (NY Times)
  • Now here’s something everyone in Brooklyn Heights can agree upon: There are supposed to be NO CARS on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. Well, a drunk driver apparently didn’t care. (NY Post)
  • Mayor de Blasio said he will take the COVID-19 vaccine to prove its safety (NY Post). That’s nice, but it would be nice if he also rode the subway to prove its safety (and not deride that as “cheap symbolism,” as he has in the past).
  • Max Rose, we hardly knew ye. (Bklyner)
  • This ferry news is just crappy. (Gothamist, NY Post)
  • Larry Penner — your friendly former federal transit man — is still saying that the MTA is not a good steward of our money. (Riverdale Press)
  • As media outlets are wont to do, Curbed did its deep dive into New York’s 30-plus-year quest for the most basic of public amenities: public toilets.
  • Uninformed candidates — they say the dumbest things! (Brigit Rein via Twitter)
  • A personal note from our old man editor, who bellows every day about the failure of remote learning. (Bloomberg)
  • See that yellow icon on the top of this page? Yes, our December donation drive continues. Over the weekend, we got some nice support from many readers. Thanks, Jacob! Thanks, Kevin! Thanks, Steve! Thanks, Jocelyn! Thanks, Scot! Thanks, Gordon! Thanks, Matt! Thanks, Adam!
  • And, finally, apparently there’s a nationwide Christmas tree shortage (NY Post). But the only shortage we see around town is a shortage of space for pedestrians, who are the most disenfranchised, most discriminated against road users, thanks to DOT’s policy of considering their needs last. No, we’re not letting this one die. As we asked the mayor last week, why doesn’t the city let Christmas tree vendors sell their seasonal wares in the “parking” lane so that sidewalks aren’t narrowed during a pandemic? Here’s what we spotted on Sunday on the Upper East Side. How is anyone supposed to socially distance? (Reminder: This is not a war on Christmas; it’s a war on cars.)
Yule be sorry: Pedestrians are squeeze all year long, but especially during the most wonderful time of the year. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman (a lover of Christmas!)
Yule be sorry: Pedestrians are squeeze all year long, but especially during the most wonderful time of the year. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman (a lover of Christmas!)

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