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Department of Sanitation

Tuesday’s Headlines: This is What Car Culture Looks Like Edition

12:04 AM EST on February 2, 2021

A street made safe for driving … even as the mayor begged everyone not to drive. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

"Culture" is defined as something that is so deeply engrained that no one even notices it.

The Sanitation Department is a pillar of car culture.

As it does whenever there's a storm, the agency boasted its PlowNYC website, which shows the progress of our heroic workers as they plowed every street in town (virtually all 6,000 miles of 'em!).

Here's what that looks like:

Green-labeled streets were plowed most recently.
Green-labeled streets were plowed most recently.

The PlowNYC website is itself a bizarre creation — the mayor spent the entire day begging people to stay off the roads, yet his agency was busy updating a website to show how clear all the major thoroughfares were for car drivers.

And PlowNYC is great — if you're a car driver. But for the tens of thousands of bike commuters and bike delivery workers, it's not only useless, it's a slap in the face. Wouldn't it be nice for those people to know how to get to work today, just as car drivers have their own special color-coded website? Wouldn't it be great if someone in power was asking the simple question: Hey, why do we spend all this money to clear every single street in town (claiming that it's only for "emergency vehicles")? Isn't there a better way?

That's car culture — something so entrenched that no one in power even questions it (well, except us...and a few people on Twitter):

We reached out to Kiernan via Twitter and we hope he'll take that suggestion. (Update: NY1's Jamie Stelter did respond on Twitter. "I gotchur back," she said.)

Meanwhile, the snowstorm dominated the news on Monday, but you don't click on Streetsblog to get accumulation totals or to find out which lines were stalled yesterday, you come for the real news:

    • Big Dog Excelsior Car Guy flat out ignored the mayor and drove himself to New York to see the storm firsthand, which either means he wants to shovel out some old lady in Elmhurst or he's just the biggest narcissist since fellow Queens native Donald Trump. (NY Post)
    • It will continue to snow into Tuesday. (NYDN)
    • Gothamist did the only story that mattered, so we'll just add our contribution:
A dog named El Chapo ("The Shorty") in Prospect Park on Monday. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
A dog named El Chapo ("The Shorty") in Prospect Park on Monday. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

And in other non-powdery news:

    • The Cuomo COVID scandal (broken overnight with a New York Times story about a massive brain drain from state health agencies) grew with more details about how longtime ally Larry Schwartz (or as Aaron Gordon calls him, "this fucking guy" or as the Post calls him, "the governor's enforcer") somehow is the governor's main go-to guy on the virus. (NYDN, WSJ)
    • Crain's had a takedown of early floundering by the TLC that allowed Uber and Lyft to completely disrupt the existing taxi industry. It's worth subscribing to read Brian Pascus's piece.
    • Gothamist explored the idea — floated anew by mayoral candidate Andrew Yang – of a city takeover of the subway system.
    • If you ask former federal transit man Larry Penner, "Hey, Larry, what's up?" his reply will be, "The MTA is leaving $100 million in federal money sitting there on the table!" (The Island Now)
    • Groundhog Day will be virtual today. (NY Post)
    • And finally, get a load of this game show contestant who can't remember that it was former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, not current mayor "Glassio," who blew $1 billion on his terrible presidential campaign. (Jon Campbell via Twitter)

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