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Car Culture

Thursday’s Headlines: Car Harms Edition

Cars: They are just the worst. Graphic: Open Plans

It's our December donation drive. Your gift helps us do important stories. So please click this link or the icon above..
It's our December donation drive. Your gift helps us do important stories. So please click this link or the icon above.

It's time for the Final Four!

Our friends at Open Plans have been hosting a March Madness-style tournament to determine — once and for all — the most grievous way in which cars damage our society, our lives, our health and our well-being, generally speaking.

And now we're coming down to the end. But before we unveil the last two matchups, let's take a look back on how our semi-finalists made it to the Final Four.

Well, for Death Machines and Climate Crisis, the path to semi-glory has been fairly easy (perhaps because they were seeded 1 and 2, respectively). In the Elite Eight round, Death Machines triumphed over Danger to Cyclists with 90.5 percent of the vote (likely because cars endanger far more people than just bike riders). Meanwhile, Climate Crisis soundly defeated the way cars deprive our kids of independence in a 81 percent to 19 percent romp.

The other two semi-finalists had a much tougher path: Racist Highways (aka the legacy of how federal highway construction was willfully designed to upend and impoverish Black communities, which Greg Kelly willfully misunderstands and denies) upset Reckless Driving in a 54-45 percent squeaker. And Air Pollution and Sprawl had an epic, triple-overtime contest that ended up being decided by coin toss, with Sprawl making it to the semis. Both Air Pollution and Sprawl had easily triumphed over their Sweet Sixteen rivals, perhaps softening them both up for their matchup.

So let's get ready to rumble! Today, Open Plans will post these matchups on its Twitter account. We at Streetsblog urge you to vote early and often (and by often, we mean share the link with everyone you know):

In other news:

    • The late-afternoon Twitter-exclusive release of the Department of Transportation's "Streets Master Plan" — mandated by the Council in 2019 — was the big story yesterday [PDF]. But it came out so late that we're sure most outlets are still chewing over it. Dave Colon did his first-day story. And our editor did a bit of a thread:
    • Clayton Guse of the Daily Newsuh did a classic tabloid story. Offended by the $100 million that the MTA will have to pay for Covid tests for thousands of transit workers who refuse to get vaccinations, he wrote up all the other, more useful, ways the agency could spend that kind of cash.
    • Another way to spend the money? Hiring transit workers — there's a shortage. (NY Times)
    • In case you missed it, Public Advocate (and future governor?) Jumaane Williams supports a Council effort to end the Stipulated Fine Program, which offers discounts on tickets to delivery and freight companies in exchange for them not fighting the tickets. (amNY)
    • Scores of victims of last year's ramming of a peaceful protest by driver Kathleen Casillo are demanding stiffer punishment from outgoing Manhattan DA Cy Vance Jr. Currently, she's only charged with reckless assault in the third degree. (amNY)
    • The Village Sun did a story about a cab driver who ran into an outdoor dining area, and quoted a witness saying the driver claimed he had no brakes. But if the Sun had only run the guy's plates, the reporter would have noticed that this cab had previously been slapped with six red light tickets and four camera-issued speeding tickets since September, 2020. It remains unclear to us why most reporters in town draw conclusions about crashes without including this valuable data point.
    • Some outdoor dining areas are not doing a very good job of countering claims that they are a blight. (Villager)
    • Finally, as you can see from the logo up top, our December Donation Drive continues. Just click here to donate. And here's a promise: we will never use your donation to redesign our website so that it's filled with hateful auto-play videos that you can't click off, like the Daily News and amNY are doing. And here's our list of thank-yous from yesterday: Thanks, Christopher! Thanks, Amy! Thanks, John! Thanks, Greg! Thanks, April! Thanks, Reed! Thanks, James! Thanks, Murray! Thanks, Saikrishna!

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