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Tuesday’s Headlines: Outrage Over DOT Shortcomings Edition

12:50 AM EST on December 13, 2022

This is what happens when bus lanes aren’t protected. Get used to it.

It's our December donation drive. Click this link to donate.
It's our December donation drive. Click this link to donate.

Bus riders to Mayor Adams: Don't tell us to drop dead!

Advocates for the city's beleaguered surface ridership reacted with outrage after reading Streetsblog's exclusive on Monday that the Department of Transportation has already informed Mayor Adams that it will be unable to meet its legal requirements under the Streets Plan to install 20 miles of protected bus lanes this year, 30 next year, and, even the plan's five-year, 150-mile bus lane obligation.

"Bus riders will hold Mayor Adams accountable for any shortfall of bus lanes required by the Streets Plan law," said Riders Alliance Senior Organizer Jolyse Race. "Bus lanes are essential to speeding up the nation's slowest buses and providing the fast and reliable service that New York riders need and deserve but have long been denied."

Race added that the Streetsblog report of the Adams administration's shortfall represents "an unacceptable step backward from the improvements riders won in recent years."

"Rarely does City Hall's widespread failure to get stuff done result in a more inequitable outcome than continuing to deprive low-income New Yorkers of precious time lost in stalled traffic," she added.

Sara Lind, the chief strategy officer at Open Plans, seconded that.

“Political will is a huge part of this issue," said Lind (whose organization is the parent company of Streetsblog). "We need leadership for the people and a culture of decisiveness in city government, not dysfunction.”

The main point, lost on the administration apparently, is that the Streets Plan is a requirement, not a goal.

"It's not optional," said Elizabeth Adams, the senior director of Advocacy & Organizing at Transportation Alternatives. "By failing to meet the requirements of the plan, New Yorkers are less safe. We deserve high-quality protected bike lanes, a network of bus lanes, and new car-free pedestrian space distributed equitably across the city. We are ready to work with Mayor Adams and DOT to get the NYC Streets Plan back on track."

City Hall declined to comment on the brickbats being hurled its way, deferring to DOT's statement in Jesse Coburn's Monday story — namely that the agency disputes the story and remains committed to implementing the Streets Plan. Transportation Committee Chairwoman Selvena Brooks-Powers declined to comment and the office of Council Speaker Adrienne Adams sent over its original statement that we published on Monday. The lack of urgency from the East Wing of City Hall is disquieting, given that the Council would be the body in charge of holding the Adams administration accountable if it fails to meet the requirement.

We will keep you posted.

In other news from an epically slow day:

    • First, let's thank Monday's donors to our annual fundraising drive: Thanks, Liz! Thanks, Amanda!
    • The City Council had a hearing on the MTA and NYPD's subway crime fighting, which both agencies defended. (Gothamist)
    • Does your subway elevator pass the sniff test? No, we mean that for real. (Gothamist)
    • An entrance to Central Park will be renamed the "Gate of the Exonerated" in honor of the great injustice committed against the so-called Central Park Five. (NY Times)
    • Former federal transit man Larry Penner offered concern about the MTA's financing plans. (Chief Leader)
    • The Bronx Times wrote up Fordham University's blanket ban on e-bikes. But it's not just Fordham that is responding to the anti-bike hysteria, as Julianne Cuba reported in Streetsblog.
    • And, finally, once again, our old man editor was strutting around the office like Mick Jagger singing "Jumping Jack Flash" after getting the news that his viral "criminal mischief" Twitter posts were awarded "Best Series" by the obviously brilliant editors at City & State. The award said Kuntzman was making "funny videos" — and even provided a link to Jimmy and the Jaywalkers' "Criminal Mischief" theme song on Spotify. And to think, the award was conveyed even before Kuntzman's "funny" video from Monday in Red Hook:

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