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Thursday’s Headlines: One Sure Way to Tame Traffic Edition

12:19 AM EDT on August 19, 2021

We’re going to need more than just crossing guards to keep our city safe from car drivers. Photo: Soho Broadway Initiative

It was sort of funny to see a press release yesterday from the SoHo Broadway Initiative, a business improvement district, cheering itself for hiring "certified Pedestrian Traffic Managers" to move car traffic through "the congested intersection of Broome Street and Broadway, aiming to keep the intersection clear and reduce localized horn honking."

It's a worthy effort. And certainly not the first time that a local group has sought to bring in non-cop outsiders to clear the gridlock so pedestrians and cyclists can get around — and neighborhoods can be a tad more livable.

The Times has written often about similar — and equally useless — efforts to unclog the carmageddon around the Holland Tunnel — itself an effort that grew out of decades (no, literally decades and decades) of complaints about the congestion on Tribeca approach streets.

Yet whenever you read old stories about traffic jams at these intersections, you read the same complaints: Oh, the tolls need to be two-way. Oh, the feds should build another tunnel. Oh, Canal Street should be widened. But, like the weather, everyone complains, but no one ever solves the problem: there are too many cars because we allow too many cars to overwhelm our communities. Triple the toll. Eliminate free parking. Ban out-of-state, eastbound cars during the morning rush hour. Build a new tunnel — exclusively for transit. Now those are strategies that would obviate the need for "certified Pedestrian Traffic Managers" to keep people safe from New Jersey clowns in their Range Rovers.

Gotta jump off the soapbox and give you the other news:

    • Our old man editor acquitted himself pretty darn well on NY1 on Wednesday morning as he discussed — or lectured on — congestion pricing. But really, he just stuck to our talking points from yesterday's headlines!
    • Speaking of which, Governor-in-waiting Kathy Hochul met the city press corps at a school in Queens on Wednesday, and even took a question from our own Dave Colon, who asked her about congestion pricing (which Hochul had told the Times earlier in the week that she might seek to delay). "There are certain legislative legal requirements in place that have to be followed,” she said. “I have supported congestion pricing. But in terms of the timing, I have to follow what’s in place right now. But it’s very much on my mind.” She did say she would also meet with MTA executives to determine how long they can go without the billions of dollars in revenue congestion pricing is expected to generate, Politico reported.
    • A 70-year-old Queens woman who was run over by a Ford F-150 assault truck driver who was backing up last month died on Wednesday, but cops didn't even bother to charge the reckless driver with failure to exercise due care. (WCBS 880)
    • Brooklyn development firm Two Trees is seeking to reduce — by half! — the number of parking spaces that the city's antiquated zoning law would force the company to build at its new Williamsburg mega-project. (Brooklyn Paper)
    • A senior citizen was struck and critically injured by a livery cab driver on the Upper West Side. But the driver remained on the scene, so of course he was not charged. (NYDN)
    • Former federal transit man Larry Penner says New Jersey is working the refs in hopes of getting more federal money. (Mass Transit)
    • The Mermaid Parade, which had been delayed in hopes of returning, is officially off for this year. (NY Post, Gothamist, Brooklyn Paper)
    • And, finally, DOT, please just do better:

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