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Monday’s Headlines: The Problem with Albany Edition

12:04 AM EDT on May 23, 2022

The Albany meat grinder. Photo: Streetsblog graphic desk

The big news late last week was the apparent agreement by state legislators to allow New York City to operate its speed cameras all day, every day, up from just 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays.

Everyone (well, everyone but Times reporters) covered the news — The Post, NY1, WPIX, the Daily News — but only Streetsblog actually read the bill and figured out all the great provisions to reduce reckless driving that were cut out in Albany's meat grinder.

In fact, our old man editor was so fascinated by how a great bill by Andrew Gounardes could be so defanged amid a public health crisis of road violence, that he summoned Julianne Cuba to do a follow up so Streetsblog could remain two days ahead of everyone else on this story. Cuba's Day 2 analysis is here.

Read it and learn how Albany is basically one big accountability avoidance machine. The original bill had truly innovative provisions that suddenly disappeared. Gounardes won't talk about it. The bill's Assembly sponsor, Deborah Glick, blamed City Hall. City Hall declined to comment. Other lawmakers issued statements expressing support for the bill, but not some of the provisions (which no one seems to have read in the first place).

In the end, everyone — the mayor, Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez, Transportation Alternatives — got to issue statements about how great they all are. Except there's one problem: A great bill got gutted — and no one's fingerprints are on the knife.

That's terrible for democracy. So as delicious as this fatty piece of sausage is — 24/7 speed cameras! Whoo-hoo! — we'd rather have filet mignon legislation: something that adds speed cameras, yes, but also cracks down on drivers who ignore those cameras.

In other news:

    • The really big story this weekend was the finalizing of the new district lines for Congress and State Senate (Gothamist) — and the news that Bill de Blasio (remember, he used to be mayor but is now just a dad-joke-spewing Boomer) will run for the newly drawn 10th District, which seems his to lose (NY Times). State Sen. Brad Hoylman was in (The City), but then he was out, as Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou, Council Member Carlina Rivera and even upstate Rep. Mondaire Jones weighed in (The Villager). Meanwhile, the Post is hyping a guy who doesn't stand a chance, but hates de Blasio, so there is that.
    • Speaking of the new lines, The City had a handy tool to determine where you ended up. And you can nerd out on all the maps here.
    • Hundreds of people joined Transportation Alternatives in demanding that the city not wait until the end of 2023 to make good on its promise to give dedicated space to pedestrians on the Queensboro Bridge.

And Clarence Eckerson was there, too:

    • Gothamist covered Council Speaker Adrienne Adams's first State-of-the-City address, but ignored the critical issue of road safety. We were happy to hear the speaker say, "The Council will push the city to develop new micro-parks and green spaces in underserved neighborhoods. ... The Council will continue to push the city towards committing the $3.1 billion budget investment in the Safe Streets program to expand open pedestrian spaces in neighborhoods. ... We see what’s possible in the proposal to transform the beloved open street on 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights into a permanent linear park."
    • The Post remains ever-eager to hype how much revenue is lost to subway and bus fare evasion (it's $119 million, allegedly), but rarely discusses how much money is lost to drivers who deface their plates (it's around $50 million from just a few bridges).
    • All the escalators at the 181st Street will be out of service until (wait for it) February. (NY Times)
    • The NYPD has finally eliminated the 24/7 protection for a bunch of monuments to a racist colonizer. (NY Post)
    • Driver mayhem in Staten Island. (NYDN)
    • And in Queens. (NY Post)
    • And on Long Island. (NY Post)
    • Stop harassing and assaulting bus drivers! (amNY)
    • Get ready for the first public information session for the Interboro Express on Thursday. (Gothamist)
    • New York no longer has a street named after Robert E. Lee. (NY Times)
    • Hot enough for you? Well, cooler weather is coming. (NYDN)
    • And, finally, stars, they're just like us:

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