Thursday’s Headlines: Knives Out at the MTA Edition
The third week of the month is always a favorite — yielding as it does one of the most scintillating regular eruptions of news on our beat, that combination of subway madness and Kabuki theater otherwise known as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority monthly board meeting.
This month’s meeting did not disappoint as the knives came out (figuratively speaking…): The NYPD’s Transit Bureau chief accused the MTA of undermining rider confidence by “fearmongering” on subway crime. True, the subway produced a tabloid feast last month with two murders and two other stabbings but otherwise “crime is at record lows in almost every category,” the top cop, Kathleen O’Reilly reported. And, true to form, the tabloids had another field day. The Post played the story as one of tensions between the NYPD, which reports to Mayor de Blasio, and board members appointed by Gov. Cuomo. The News, meanwhile, focused on the statistics O’Reilly proffered as proof of the safety of our underground.
In more news coming out of the meeting, both tabloids and amNY also ran straightforward (read: laudatory) stories about the MTA’s new renderings of its planned renovations of Penn Station in Manhattan.
Second Ave. Sagas tweeted the best hot take on the story:
In light of the MTA's plans for Penn Station, I often think about how much capital money and time is spent improving getting into and out of NYC vs. how much money and time is spent improving getting around NYC. https://t.co/okutmTPEXZ
— Second Ave. Sagas (@2AvSagas) April 22, 2021
In other news:
- Scoop: Like Mayors Bloomberg and de Blasio before him, DOT Commish Hank Gutman has attracted a parody Twitter account. Click to it, man! (Streetsblog)
- Gothamist featured a WNYC story on yet another subway bias attack on an Asian-American.
- The Times’s day-two reax story on the Chauvin trial verdict from police departments around the nation included SBA leader Ed Mullins’s whining that “elected officials are complicit in perpetuating the myth that we are the enemy.” Mullins’s pre-verdict warning to his membership is worth reading in full for what it says about his union’s mentality. (Via Twitter)
- Prosecutors are investigating the viral video that showed New Jersey cops arresting teens for biking without a license (aka “biking while Black”). (Gothamist)
- Now here’s some real street(walking) news: Manhattan will quit prosecuting prostitution, Cy Vance says. (NYT, amNY)
- Gotham Gazette wrote up a Monday mayoral forum at which candidates discussed parks and open space.
- Biden: No more coddling of automakers on emissions. (WSJ)
- ICYMI: The Gateway rail tunnel won’t do much to get the surfeit of trucks of local roads, but franchise districts might, Chris Ward argues in an NYDN op-ed.
- Bronxites of various stripes, including the borough’s Transportation Alternatives Committee and Bronx Messenger, are having a digital day of action May 3 to press Council Members Kevin Riley and Mark Gjonaj on the safety of death trap Boston Road.
- Hat tip to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, which just appointed Renae Reynolds, transportation planner for the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance, as its next executive director. She replaces Nick Sifuentes.