Friday’s Headlines: Home Rule Rules Edition

The Legislature shouldn't decide the speed limits on our roads, Mayor Adams will reiterate on Friday. Photo: Wally Gobetz/Flickr
The Legislature shouldn't decide the speed limits on our roads, Mayor Adams will reiterate on Friday. Photo: Wally Gobetz/Flickr

From the assignment desk: The mayor hasn’t done too much for street safety since taking the oath of office, but he will journey to Brooklyn’s Ditmas Park neighborhood this morning to demand that Albany lawmakers give the city control over its automated speeding, red-light and bus lane camera enforcement systems, plus the ability to set its own speed limits.

It’s a key part of the street safety movement’s agenda — hat tip to Transportation Alternatives — but the whole thing leaves us a little underwhelmed. After all, there are scores of things the mayor can do to make roadways safer, make our communities more livable and make bus service better without having to worry what Albany is or is not doing. So, fair warning, we’ll be asking about that at the presser. And we’ll also try to ask about our scoop this week about the NYPD’s failure to really crack down on reckless drivers.

That said, Hizzoner picked a good location to call for home rule on speed cameras because last month, a pedestrian was run over and killed by a speeding driver just five blocks away. The area’s council member is excited:

“Traffic violence is a silent killer in our neighborhoods, and we need to work to solve it as soon as possible,” said Council Member Rita Joseph. “Albany must give New York City local control to stop traffic violence, or more lives will be needlessly lost. I thank Mayor Adams for using his platform to speak boldly and decisively on this issue. I fully support his efforts of trying to get Albany to pass local control for traffic safety. It doesn’t make sense for politicians in Buffalo to decide speed limits in Brooklyn.”

In other news from a busy day:

  • In a major change, yellow taxi drivers will now be able to sign up with Uber, which some experts said will help them get more rides, but some feared would lead to lower wages. (NY Post, amNY and NY Times following the Wall Street Journal; Gothamist wisely did a second-day take.)
  • Council Member Bob Holden of Queens continues to make strides towards the livable streets movement, thanks to a resolution he put up yesterday calling on Albany to pass legislation that would punish drivers who improperly register their car out-of-state. (NYC Council)
  • In a related, though opposite, move, Council Member Nantasha Williams, also of Queens, put forth a bill that would allow the DOT to issue parking placards for pregnant women (and would supposedly expire within 30 days of the due date). What could possibly go wrong with issuing tens of thousands more placards? (NYC Council)
  • A man shot and killed another man after a simple fender bender. (NYDN)
  • Speaking of senseless road rage, Council Member Justin Brannan tweeted some details about a fight over a parking space, which the Daily News eventually covered:

  • Well, at least one reckless driver — in this case, the donut-doing dick who allegedly ran over a man in Lower Manhattan — has had his license suspended temporarily. (NYDN, NY Post)
  • There weren’t many details, but the Post is convinced that Gov. Hochul’s Interborough Express could somehow provide service to LaGuardia Airport. It’s a bit of old news because, as Streetsblog reported, the Port Authority already said it is considering multiple routes, including some from the Roosevelt-74th Street station in Jackson Heights. At amNY, Kevin Duggan’s coverage was a bit clearer.
  • Sometimes you wish the DOT would defend itself better against the car-enabling community boards and parking-obsessed pols. When residents of Maspeth complained at a community board meeting that a few “parking spaces” would be lost to accommodate the next phase of Citi Bike expansion, it would have been nice to hear a DOT spokesman say, “Citi Bike is just coming off a year with record high ridership numbers, and the system, which is a vital part of the public transit network, was a lifeline during Covid and will help us reduce car usage, which will improve quality of life and help stave off the deleterious effects of climate change. And, yes, we are talking to you, Council Member Holden.” But they never do that! (Long Island City Post)
  • Blue gold! Get ready for the coming land rape for battery minerals like cobalt and lithium, as President Biden prepares to evoke a national emergency (The Intercept)
  • The Post is always keen to point out how New York is dying. First, it reported (once again!) on our epic population loss during Covid, then, in a follow up, blamed crime.
  • If you want to hang out with some cool people, our friends at Open Plans will be at Saturday’s “Spring Celebration” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on W. 103rd Street in Manhattan, which everyone (except a few block association NIMBYs) wants to be turned into a park-to-park open street. Make your opinion known to DOT while enjoying music and dance performances (you know Jody Sperling will be there!).
  • But if you’re in Brooklyn on Saturday and Sunday, stop by Pacific Street for dozens of stoop sales to support Ukraine. (Council Member Lincoln Restler)
  • And, finally, we’re not going to suggest that President Biden has had a flawless 14-plus months in office, but criticizing him for riding a bike feels like a bit like toxic masculinity, especially coming from the son of a president known for playing a lot of golf.

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