Thursday’s Headlines: Back-to-School Copaganda Edition

An NYPD 'Back to School' event — this one at 1 Police Plaza. Photo: NYPD
An NYPD 'Back to School' event — this one at 1 Police Plaza. Photo: NYPD

Transportation Chief Kim Royster tweeted yesterday that the NYPD’s Back to School Traffic Safety Event at the Parkside Playground in Brooklyn was a success. Maybe it was. It’s nice to give kids free ices, haircuts and school supplies, after all.

But think about it for a moment: Why must kids shoulder the worries of traffic safety when no one even thinks of putting together such an event for the adults in their swollen, overpowered vehicles speeding through school zones (some of whom, as we’ve reported, are cops)? Who’s holding the back-to-school traffic-safety event for SUV and pickup owners?

As Streetsblog has reported, the streets around schools are uniquely dangerous, and 24 kids have died on their way to school in the last decade.

Yet it’s somehow always the usual victims of traffic violence —  school children with their backpacks trying to get to class — who need to be hyper vigilant and learn about the dangers of crossing the street, while no one offers any education or admonishment to the people who are behind the wheel. Just a gentle reminder, like so:

Yes, we turned on the school-zone speed cameras 24/7. That’s a baby step. Why can’t New York, which Mayor Adams insists is “the greatest city in the world,” have hundreds of car-free school streets around its schools, like Paris, London, even Tirana?

Then kids, who have plenty of worry on their slender shoulders, might be able to concentrate on, you know, school. Maybe they’d even like to walk or ride bikes to school — healthful pleasures earlier generations took for granted without parents having to organize a “Bike to School Day.” Alameda Elementary School in Portland, OR, has a nifty thing called a bike bus. Why can’t we have such nice things?

“There are no accidents,” Jessie Singer argues in an astonishingly successful book — only systems that privilege one kind of person over the health, safety and even life of another. As the NYPD shows every day, that’s car drivers over the children who are our future.

In other news:

  • A truck driver ran over an e-cyclist on dangerous Linden Boulevard in Brooklyn Tuesday afternoon, killing him — a bloody end to a bloody month. No charges. (NYDN, amNY)
  • “Can camera enforcement speed up New York’s sluggish buses?” Politico asks. We’ll answer: No question!
  • Gateway’s costs rose $2 billion. (NYT)
  • Gov. Murphy won’t ask for the resignation of the Jersey City pol who left the scene after hitting a cyclist. He also defends widening the turnpike.
  • Buildings Commissioner Eric Ulrich surrenders 34 of 86 (or 40 percent) agency placards. Meaning unknown. (Via Twitter)
  • Gun-free Times Square is not bullet-proof, according to The City.
  • Curbed looks at the history of alternate-side parking and its relation to sanitation, and asks whether it is a mistake.
  • Los Deliveristas asks NYCHA not to ban e-bikes. (Gothamist)
  • The Atlantic ran with a weird column accusing e-bikes of being neither fish nor fowl, and didn’t even talk about the real evil — cars.
  • Bronx news: As Streetsblog reported, the DOT is moving ahead with the Riverdale Avenue road diet despite the roadblocks some pols tried to throw into it. See the proof. (Via Twitter)

  • Finally, the Onion slaps Lindsey Graham with an angle after our hearts. (Via Twitter)

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NYPD’s Back-to-School Street Safety Tips: The Good, the Bad, and the “Huh?”

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Occasional tweets (and actual policing) aside, NYPD has gotten savvier with its traffic safety messages under Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. For the start of school, the police blasted out information aimed at both drivers and kids. While there’s room for improvement, it’s a step up from some of the department’s previous traffic safety tips. The latest round of street safety […]