Wednesday’s Headlines: ‘Carpocalypse Now’ Edition
The carpocalypse has arrived, and Mayor de Blasio has done nothing to forestall it, preferring to point fingers at the governor.
As many New Yorkers and news organizations have noticed, traffic congestion in the city has built and built throughout the spring and summer. Now, The City reports, it basically has risen to levels not seen since the pandemic — even as central business district offices have recovered only a fraction of their full complement of workers and transit ridership remains down by more than 50 percent.
Don’t say we didn’t tell you so, Bill.
Streetsblog, the mayor’s handpicked, blue-ribbon Surface Transportation Advisory Council, and CityRise, among others, warned for more than a year that, if the city didn’t plan, we would choke with cars when the pandemic subsided. Now, we are choking with cars and literally choking on wildfire smoke from across the country. We told the mayor that he needed to introduce high-occupancy vehicle lanes, more transit and bus coordination (including 40 miles of emergency bus lanes), to establish a connected and protected network of bus and bike infrastructure, to institute policies curtailing private vehicle ownership and use, and to cut parking spaces in favor of other curbside uses such as loading zones. We even encouraged him to invoke home rule to start congestion pricing without waiting for the feds or the Gov. Cuomo-controlled MTA.
What did the mayor do? Precisely nothing. Instead, like a Publisher’s Clearing House pitchman, last week he trotted out an oversized check to inveigh against the MTA for congestion-pricing delays. (The “check” was supposed to illustrate how much money the tolling could earn for transit, see?) There may be some justice in those criticisms, but we know buck-passing when we see it.
We’re pleased that Hizzoner is establishing vaccination requirements for city workers and planning a valedictory concert on the Great Lawn. Meanwhile, however, all those cars have caused his signature Vision Zero initiative to collapse into an orgy of road carnage — which, presumably, is the next guy’s problem. Climate? As far as we can tell, de Blasio hasn’t even urged New Yorkers and commuters to stay out of their cars so as not to add to the toxic cloud that is enveloping us.
We don’t know that a Mayor Adams would be any better on these issues (and pandering to voters with congestion-pricing carve-outs is a poor precedent). Still, it’s hard to contemplate another five months of de Blasio’s governing by publicity stunt when we are being menaced by SUV drivers in the crosswalk.
In other news:
- The Long Island crash that killed five over the weekend had some police involvement and thus is being handed to the attorney general. The Post, taking the police’s word, spins it as a driver trying to outrun the cops. The News evinced more skepticism.
- Adams has a beef with the Democratic Socialists of America, per a Post exclu.
- Did a new system trigger the outage on Monday on the Queens Boulevard subways lines? (amNY)
- Rental cars suck, reports NYMag. Newsflash: all cars suck.
- What refutes the NYPD scaremongering on violence? The NYPD’s own Compstat. (Via Twitter)
Don’t look now but New York is closing in on one of its lowest July homicide rates on record. pic.twitter.com/u87UUbvhyj
— Joel Wertheimer (@Wertwhile) July 27, 2021