Thursday’s Headlines: What is Wrong with Some People Edition

34th Avenue Open Street. File photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.
34th Avenue Open Street. File photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.

Kids playing without getting run over is such an inconvenience!

A Brooklyn non-profit, church-linked development company found out the hard way that the car-owning minority doesn’t like to give even an inch to its neighbors when it ran into a buzzsaw of complains over a proposal to simply close one street to car traffic for a few hours for just a few Saturdays this summer.

As Patch reported, Bridge Street Development Corporation’s hopes of creating a vibrant open street for the community on Lewis Avenue between Decatur and Hancock streets on eight afternoons was met with concerns from neighbors about, of all things, rats. BK Reader took a more enlightened approach: the tiny inconvenience to drivers will be a boon to neighborhood businesses.

As a footnote to this kind of ugly, intra-neighborhood, veiled anti-newcomer, “You-never-told-me” NIMBYism, an architect of that very political style, former Council Member Laurie Cumbo, just landed a plum cultural affairs job with Mayor Adams, whom she had backed in the election, the City reported.

In other news:

  • You know it’s a slow news day when Guse of the Newsuh does a full story on the MTA looking back at its two years dealing with Covid. (NYDN)
  • The better story from the MTA yesterday was CEO Janno Lieber begging lawmakers to not give drivers a gas tax holiday, which would hurt transit. (amNY)
  • We’re still on the same slow timeline for congestion pricing — the end of 2023, the MTA told the City Council on Wednesday, or roughly one year after the federal government gives its expected approval. Funny that the NY Post story didn’t mention the inevitable delays from lawsuits, glitches and cowardly politicians.
  • Tens of thousands of people have already started taking advantage of the MTA’s OMNY fare capping. (amNY)
  • The Daily News had more details about that bizarre back-over crash that killed a 75-year-old woman in Queens — it was her 83-year-old boyfriend who was driving the Mercedes that rolled over her after he panicked in reverse.
  • At an event at the police academy in Queens on Wednesday, Mayor Adams told civilians to stop filming police officers as they do their job, which is an odd thing to say, given that civilians’ filming of police officers doing their jobs poorly has dramatized the need for, and has often resulted in, historic reforms. (NY Post)
  • Cops are looking for a group of ATV riders who beat a motorist who had allegedly struck one of the motorcyclists with his car. (NY Post)
  • The Times finally followed Streetsblog’s many stories in finally recognizing that some neighborhoods are being turned into last-mile warehouse districts.
  • In an amNY op-ed, the owner of Veselka argues for legalizing propane heaters for outdoor dining. Reminder: propane is a cleaner fuel, but it’s not that clean.
  • Ain’t it just like the Post to call something a “quota-like system” when a borough president, in this case Donovan Richards of Queens, is simply trying to make sure community boards better reflect the diversity of the neighborhoods they represent. People with privilege often cry foul when forced to give up some of that privilege, but seemingly never objected when they got it in the first place.
  • Here are some gruesome photos of the aftermath of a crash that shows the destructive power of a car driven by a reckless person. (NY Post)


Empire Blvd Safety Fixes Run Up Against Parking and Gentrification Politics

A federally-funded redesign and reconstruction of two dangerous Empire Boulevard intersections is in jeopardy, running up against a combination of parking politics and gentrification fears. The plan would add sidewalk space by simplifying two complex intersections where several streets converge [PDF]. On the western end of Empire, a slip lane would be closed at the intersection of Washington Avenue […]

Should I Wear a Helmet Today?

The Naparstek boys riding last year’s Summer Streets event… wearing helmets. Sarah’s "Too Much Emphasis on Safety" post yesterday brings up the question in the headline above. A Canadian Broadcasting TV crew doing a documentary on biking is filming me as I take my two sons to school on our Dutch cargo bike today. While […]

Is Another Stop Light the Best Fix for Livable Streets?

Last week, the New York Times profiled David Bookstaver, who after six years succeeded in getting DOT to install a stop light at East 85th Street and East End Avenue. Whether Mr. Bookstaver’s victory will result in a safer crossing remains to be seen, and stop lights, though popular with the public, are not the only tool […]

Evaluating Summer Streets

Here's a modest proposal for evaluating the success of a Summer Streets event: Measure the amount of time kids are able to run and play without their parents having to worry about them being hit by a car, the number of friends you bump into and new people you meet, the pounds of automobile exhaust and carbon that aren't being spewed into the hot summer air, the amount of horn-honking, engine-revving and boom stereos you're not hearing, and whether your local merchants are happy about the event and making more money than they usually do on a slow summer weekend.