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Department of Health & Mental Hygiene

Thursday’s Headlines: Heart Monitor Edition

The diseased heart of New York. And a diseased heart (inset).

We did a blockbuster story earlier in the week about how car noise is literally killing us by increasing the likelihood of various heart and nervous system ailments.

Well, you're welcome, America, because later today, Council Member Erik Bottcher of Manhattan will announce a bill to increase the penalties for vehicles that exceed existing noise levels (penalties already exist, of course, but the fines are low and they don't increase with multiple violations).

So we'll certainly be on hand at the City Hall presser at 12:30 p.m.

Unlikely to be on hand is a representative from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. For many years, Streetsblog has been trying to get the agency — the guardians of our city's collective wellbeing — to discuss the health implications of a dense city filled with more than one million cars, plus the hundreds of thousands of more vehicles that cram the streets every day.

The agency has consistently refused to discuss cars with us. (Indeed, we reached out again yesterday and got only an email inbox filled with crickets, but Thursday is another day...)

The world's foremost expert on the deleterious effect of noise on the human animal isn't surprised at all.

"You know about my work in noise. I speak internationally about it. I have published extensively on the topic. I know noise, so I would love to know what the health officials are doing about it, because from my perspective, they are not looking at it," said Dr. Arline Bronzaft, who needs no introduction (but if you need one, click here). "The Department of Environmental Protection — they care about noise. But the one group I have not worked with is public health people. They are just so slow on the uptake."

We'll have more on the subject after the presser, so refresh that Streetsblog home page all day long (which you should be doing anyway, frankly).

Until then, here's our news digest:

    • A big story on Wednesday was how our friends at Transportation Alternatives, Families for Safe Streets and Open Plans joined other activists to lobby elected officials to do the right thing on street safety, starting with passing TA's "Crash Victims Rights" package, as well as re-authorizing New York's speed cameras.
    • You gotta hand it to New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer and his constant drumbeat against congestion pricing. On Wednesday, the Garden State goofball picked the weirdest way to protect New Jersey residents from the horrors of being tolled to damage Manhattan with their cars — he told Left Bank cagers to stay home and deprive New York City of needed money to repair all the damage drivers do (Gothamist). Doug Gordon had the chef's kiss of a takedown:
    • Just when you thought it was safe for your kid to walk to school (which it hasn't been for decades, by the way), a 16-year-old girl was killed by a truck driver in the Bronx. (NY Post, NYDN)
    • A new poll shows that New Yorkers really are afraid of the subway, yet are dubious about Mayor Adams's metal detector idea (NYDN). Meanwhile, even subway conductors are upset about crime (NY Post).
    • Hat tip to Council Member Gale Brewer for trying to hold the NYPD accountable for its placard abuse:
    • And, hahahaha, voters are already turning on our cop mayor's handling of crime. (NY Post)
    • Once again, New Jersey residents are beating each other up over minor fender-benders. (NY Post)
    • A rent hike under Mayor Adams? What a surprise. (NY Times)
    • This scandal slowly enveloping the Brooklyn Democratic machine is amazing. (The City)
    • By the way, emergency exits from the subway are a fare-evasion "superhighway," Janno Lieber said yesterday in a mixed metaphor. (amNY)
    • Nice to see the Upper East Site school larger media outlets with its coverage of a pedestrian injury in the neighborhood. The website wisely ran the plates on the massive Toyota Tacoma that struck and severely injured a senior citizen on Tuesday and, lo and behold!, found 14 camera-issued speeding tickets in two years. We still don't understand why the Daily News, the Post and others don't routinely run the plates to demonstration how repeatedly reckless drivers are terrorizing our communities.

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