Thursday’s Headlines: Historic Day? Edition

Gov. Hochul delivered the State of the State address yesterday. Photo: Office of the Governor
Gov. Hochul delivered the State of the State address yesterday. Photo: Office of the Governor

Yesterday seemingly was a historic day on several scores: Our first female governor, Kathy Hochul, gave her maiden (do we use the term anymore?) State of the State Address, and the City Council elected its first Black speaker, Adrienne Adams of Queens. Last (but not least) Hochul quickened the pulse of transit advocates by announcing that the MTA would study repurposing an old rail freight line into the “Interborough Express,” a long-overdue rail or bus-rapid-transit line between Brooklyn and Queens. Gothamist, The Post, amNY and Streetsblog all wrote stories devoted to the announcement, while the Daily News and the Times wrapped a mention into their omnibus coverage of her proposals.

At this point, given pandemic-prompted work trends, isn’t the entire concept of the “central business district” an anachronism? The Times did a story over the weekend on the “stunning comeback” of the city’s real-estate market, including the statistic that “more apartments were sold in Manhattan in the third quarter of 2021 than at any other time in the last 32 years.” With Manhattan fast turning into a residential paradise, the really far-sighted announcement that we are waiting to hear is that most of island below and above the so-called Central Business District will be going private car free! Now that would truly be historic….

In other news:

  • Obviously, the lead story: Here’s yet another reason why you shouldn’t own a car in New York City: They’re traps for our dear friend Rattus norvegicus. (Via Nextdoor)

  • It can be done, Mayor Adams! New Brooklyn Beep Antonio Reynoso banished cars from Borough Hall Plaza:

  • A motorist ran over and killed a man lying in the road on Ocean Parkway in Coney Island, mistaking him for a bag of trash. (NYDN)
  • In other Coney Island news, could it be that the Times’s Metro editors read Streetsblog? We flagged this story for them on Dec. 28.
Do we know a good story, or what?
Do we know a good story, or what?
  • A developer is looking to build transit-oriented towers at Brooklyn’s Broadway Junction. (City Limits)
  • Streetsblog wishes that there was a movement to ban cars. Council Member Joe Borelli (Staten Island), on the other hand, sees an anti-car bogeyman at every stop light! Upon being named the minority leader of the body yesterday, he said that his role is to represent the minority: “We talk about taxes when you talk about spending,” he said. “We talk about drivers when you talk about banning cars.” Open Plans Policy Director Sara Lind immediately saw the tell:

  • Finally, congratulations to former Council Member Steve Levin on his new gig … in solar:


T is for Transit-Oriented Development

Planning a city around transit doesn’t mean you have to cluster everything inside the core business district. Copenhagen, whose thoughtful bike network we’ve explored elsewhere, recently commissioned Chelsea-based architect Steven Holl to design T-Husene, a place for living and working outside the core city. The architect’s renderings, released November 2, fit into a town that […]

BRT, Rail, and New York City: A Conversation With Walter Hook

Perhaps no one knows the ins and outs of BRT better than Walter Hook. As director of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, Hook has advised cities on four continents about BRT implementation, including Jakarta's seven-corridor network, the first full-fledged BRT system in Asia. Streetsblog caught up with Hook -- in between trips to Cape Town and Mexico City -- for an email Q&A about why New York City needs Bus Rapid Transit, common misconceptions of BRT in America, and what will make BRT succeed here.

BQX Streetcar Doesn’t Make Any More Sense Now Than It Did Yesterday

Today Mayor de Blasio rolled out the full court press for his Brooklyn-Queens Streetcar proposal, known as BQX. A story in the Times compared the street-running BQX to Jersey’s Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, which runs mostly on exclusive rail rights-of-way. The City Hall press shop sent out waves of endorsements from various elected officials, advocates, business executives, developers, […]