Wednesday’s Headlines: Sad Commentary Edition

The ghost bike of Daniel Cammerman. File photo: Gersh Kuntzman
The ghost bike of Daniel Cammerman. File photo: Gersh Kuntzman

We were very sad to hear that state Sen. Julia Salazar is now a former cyclist:

What’s more depressing about Salazar’s explanation for her decision to stop cycling is that she probably speaks for thousands, if not tens or scores of thousands, of New Yorkers who could be biking right now — reducing congestion, pollution, road deaths, etc. — if the city’s roadways were safer for vulnerable road users (who have an equal right to use, and be safe on, the roads as anyone).

And what’s even more depressing is what’s left unsaid: The city’s roadways could certainly be safer for cycling, but it would take more than just words (or, as of yet, empty promises like strengthening bike lane fortifications in the first 100 days of the year) to remake New York City’s streets in a way that would increase biking mode share from roughly 2 percent to the 40 percent of some European cities. It would take hard work that none of our vaunted leaders will do.

As a result, every day another Julia Salazar stops biking, which reduces the pressure on city officials to improve bike infrastructure — a vicious cycle, if you will.

In other depressing news from another depressing day in Fun City:

  • Speaking of depressing news, Julia Vitullo-Martin wrote a chilling story about a recent ride on the subway — and the ramifications for our city if the subway doesn’t prioritize its paying customers. (Gotham Gazette)
  • The biggest single story yesterday was the epic, hours-long Council hearing on the city’s plans for the permanent open restaurants program.
    • The Daily News focused on the need for enforcement of “bad actors” (and by that, the paper apparently means scofflaw restaurants, not Hayden Christensen).
    • The Post and amNY focused on a stray comment by a Department of Transportation official, who said that the city does not envision “these full houses that you’re seeing in the street,” but something more along the lines of “barriers” and “tents” for outdoor dining when the program is finalized.
    • The Times did not cover.
    • Streetsblog focused on the fees that will finally be assessed for restaurants’ use of the valuable public space along our city’s curbs. Maybe drivers will be next (pretty please!)?
  • Another deliverista has been robbed — but this time, the crime was caught on camera. (NYDN)
  • Apparently Amtrak was so convinced it would never get funding for its Gateway project that it didn’t even bother to draw up a proper plan for it. (NYDN)
  • New York City air is cleaner, but not clean enough. (Gothamist)
  • Meanwhile, the New York Times is just incapable of seeing anything but cars. Its entire story about the boom in electric car sales was its latest hagiography for the private vehicle. But it should have pointed out that e-bikes are outselling e-cars — or that pedestrian deaths are soaring in this country (and won’t change just because America shifts the drive train).
  • What is the greatest “Jeopardy!” clue of all time? (Transportation Alternatives via Twitter)
  • The MTA’s plan for back-door OMNY boarding is late. (NY Post)
  • Gothamist did the old “Joralemon shaft house” story, a time-honored New York chestnut.
  • Finally, our old man editor is off to a pond hockey tournament in Vermont this weekend, so if standards improve at the ol’ S’blog, you know why.

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