Monday’s Headlines: Statistics Don’t Lie Edition

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So are New Yorkers driving more or less? It depends on which one of me you believe!

Last week, I published my second analysis of how much driving state residents are doing, despite whining about the high cost of fuel. My conclusion: They’re still driving way too much. Here’s the chart that ran with the story:

But there’s another way of looking at it (or, as Harry Truman once said, “Find me a one-armed economist!”): Notice how gas tax revenues between March and May of this year only went up a little (about $2.1 million)? In prior years, fuel tax revenue has sometimes gone up way more between March and May, as the wealthy drive off to their summer homes or to the beach or to ferry kids to more activities. Here’s a chart of all the March-t0-May swings:

As you can see, in some years (ignore the pandemic year in yellow), driving really soars between March and May — check out 2014 (up $9 million), 2015 (up $10 million), 2018 (up $11.7 million) and 2021 (up $5.8 million). But in other years, it doesn’t really go up at all and sometimes even goes down.

So maybe my story should have been more optimistic that high fuel prices are reducing driving because the jump was so big last year and it was a little less big ($2.1 million) this year.

But no matter how you slice it, New Yorkers drive too much.

This has been another edition of “Statistics Don’t Lie” with Gersh Kuntzman. We now return to our regular programming:

  • We really liked Emma Fitzsimmons’s piece in the Times about how Eric Adams is his own worst narrator when it comes to crime, though we were disappointed that Fitzsimmons failed to point out her own paper has been beating a pretty loud drumbeat on crime for months. (Also, the earlier version in the Hell Gate, “Eric Adams Tells New Yorkers: Stop Listening to Eric Adams,” was funnier).
  • Fatalities have leveled off to normal — but still obscenely high — levels, but according to numbers crunching by Transportation Alternatives, hit-and-run crashes were up 129 percent in the second quarter of 2022 compared to the same quarter, pre-pandemic. (TA blog)
  • In case you missed it, Queens Council Member Shekar Krishnan was on the Brian Lehrer Show on Friday and he talked up the 34th Avenue open street and even praised (indirectly) Open Plans’s bid for better public space management. (WNYC)
  • Once again, the Daily News did an incomplete story about victims of a car crash that seemed to blame the dead and injured. In this case, two motorcyclists who were hit by a car in Queens on Sunday. For some reason, the paper never checked the driving record on the car implicated in the crash; well, we did: 11 camera-issued speeding tickets this year, and 28 speeding tickets and four red-light tickets in two years. We’re not saying that such a driving record automatically means the driver was being reckless, but it’s information readers certainly need. At least amNY’s coverage pointed out how dangerous the area with respect to crashes.
  • Speaking of amNY and crashes: A senior citizen was badly injured by a car driver in Bay Ridge on Sunday. And a moped rider was hurt in the Bronx.
  • More damage from cars: A firefighter’s leg was snapped as he tried to deal with the aftermath of a collision in Manhattan. (NY Post)
  • Someone paid nearly $250,000 for an old subway car. (NY Post, amNY)
  • A man has built a home for himself on the Manhattan Bridge bike path, reports the homeless-shaming NY Post.
  • The proposed 2024 Council district maps are out! Check them out. The changes are minimal.
  • The Staten Island Advance, and then the Post, got video of last week’s horrific crash on Hylan Boulevard — and the driver of the car with all the victims was clearly going way too fast — more of an argument that DOT’s “road diet” plan for Hylan is a good one and Council Member Joe Borelli should be more open to it.
  • In case you missed it, service on the Staten Island Ferry is going to be reduced a bit because of staff shortages. (NY Times, Gothamist)
  • And, finally, Fox Sports apologized for using the World Trade Center memorial as a billboard (Gothamist). In case you missed it, here was the tweet that revealed the insensitivity:


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