Thursday’s Headlines: DOT’s Mojo (and Lawyers) Are Working Edition

The offending photo: The Jonathan Cohens behind JOCO (New York Cohen, left, London Cohen, right) show off their bike on W. 36th Street. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
The offending photo: The Jonathan Cohens behind JOCO (New York Cohen, left, London Cohen, right) show off their bike on W. 36th Street. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

Gotta occasionally hand it to the Department of Transportation. When it wants to take off the gloves and get down and dirty, it can, as witnessed by the law suit the city filed on its behalf yesterday against Joco, the upstart company that had the audacity to challenge Citi Bike’s bike-share monopoly in Gotham by starting its own service last month.

The 10-page complaint asks the Supreme Court of the State of New York to enjoin Joco against operation and to levy fines of $5,000 for each of Joco’s violations and days of operation.  And it contains this charming nugget:

“Joco executed a media strategy in connection with its launch,” the city lawyers huffed. “This led to the publication of several articles, one of which was entitled, ‘It’s War: New Bike Rental Company Ignores City ‘Cease and Desist’ Order.’ This article was accompanied by a picture of  Joco’s two founders smiling while holding Joco e-bikes on the street in front of a parked New York City Police Department vehicle.”

Oh, the pugnacity! Oh, the choler! A demarche to the free press!

And which publication featured said article with its offending photo? Your own Streetsblog, of course. (It may be the first time the DOT found us useful for anything, but we’ll take it. P.S., the NYPD vehicle was illegally parked, but the city’s lawyers didn’t notice that. The Tabloid of Record broke the story.)

But we’ll also give the DOT some legit props. The weather has warmed so it’s getting its mojo and road crews working — which, naturally, led to a rash of recent stories about the new projects, like these in Brooklyn:

  • An open street will debut on Mother’s Day on Tompkins Avenue in Bed-Stuy, providing a lifeline for ailing businesses in the corridor. (Patch)
  • The department also plans a new two-way, protected bike lane on Fort Hamilton Parkway — but, of course, it asked the MTA eliminate a bus stop and make other rejiggers in order to not to cut into motorists’ free car storage. So even when the DOT seeks to create safer streets for bicyclists, it always bends over backward to maintain parking for cars, the literal engines of menace for the city’s cyclists. (Patch)
  • That damn Billy Richling — nice kid! — got his story about the Meeker Avenue bike-lane project published a bit ahead of us, but we’re sending the old man over there today to really hash out why this project is so important. (Bklyner)

In other news:

  • Tourists are pedestrians, too, say Time Square business groups. (WSJ)
  • They don’t call them “assault cars” for nothing. (NYDN)
  • The Port Authority hones in on firms to build a replacement for the Newark AirTrain. (WSJ)
  • Big Dog Excelsior Car Guy doubles down on his dissing of the subway. (NYDN)
  • Curbed looks at the governor’s plans for Penn Station and finds them not bad. But the Times gave a classic Timesian overview.
  • Subway mayhem preoccupied the Daily News, which went full tabloid and got its cop-shack reporter involved in a story about mental illness. amNY at least led with attempts to fix the problem.
  • Pedestrian advocate (and former Streetsblog USA editor) Angie Schmitt penned a piece on the efforts to rewrite the MUTCD.
  • Finally, it’s well known that our old man editor gets a lot of heat from his bitter rivals beloved friends in the vaunted city press corps for his insistence on asking Mayor de Blasio about street safety. Sure, he’s a bit single-minded (blame his advancing decrepitude…), but if you go back and actually listen to the questions, they bring out the essential lack of concern our top officials have for the second-most important public-health crisis in our city today: the epidemic of road violence (which would be first, but for the crisis of COVID-19). So, in closing today, we present his latest round of badinage with Hizzoner and Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi as an object lesson in why it’s important to just ask the questions day in and day out until there is change:

last question

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