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Car Culture

Friday’s Headlines: Hallelujah, New York Times Edition

The Times mostly got it, but left out the other deleterious effects of cars. File photo: Gersh Kuntzman

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

The biggest story of the day yesterday was the latest example of the New York Times starting to "get it" about the century-long disaster that has been the private automobile.

The new evidence came in the form of a must-read op-ed by Andrew Ross and Julie Livingston with the scintillating title, "Once You See the Truth About Cars, You Can’t Unsee It."

The takeaway is something that will be familiar to Streetsblog readers, but not necessarily those of the long-pro-car Gray Lady, which typically celebrates the "freedom" of the open road: "For many low-income and minority Americans, automobiles have been turbo-boosted engines of inequality, immobilizing their owners with debt, increasing their exposure to hostile law enforcement, and in general accelerating the forces that drive apart haves and have-nots."

Our only criticism? Even as Ross and Livingston exposed the onerous burden of car ownership, they forgot many of the most deleterious effects of widespread car ownership: sprawl, congestion and the disproportionate impact of pollution and road violence on communities of color.

Maybe next time?

In other news:

    • Let's start with our daily honor roll of our December Donation Drive contributors: Thanks, Pedro! Thanks, Jeff! Thanks, Mary Beth! We appreciate all you do! (And anyone else who wants to donate merely needs to click here.)
    • The MTA Inspector General put out a report about those faulty cameras that failed to capture the Sunset Park shooting. (NYDN, NY Post, Gothamist)
    • The Times did a nice tribute to one of our favorite community boards — CB4 in Manhattan.
    • Speaking of community boards, though this time about bad ones, Queens Community Board 5 is still fighting Citi Bike because of ... parking. (QNS)
    • A day late, but amNY looked at Queens pol Zohran Mamdani and Mike Gianaris's free bus plan. Meanwhile, Bloomberg had a nice take on the New New York report.
    • Good news for the Billy Never Idles crowd — the Council is eyeing higher fines for burning fuel for no reason. (Gothamist)
    • More short-sighted e-bike bans are on the horizon — but this one is big. (The City)
    • Finally, we went to the mayor's annual cocktail party last night, which is an annual off-the-record event that allows reporters and the city government elite to mingle and see each other as humans for a change. It usually the best night of the year — a regular Gracie Mansion bacchanal. But this year's edition was no fun — vegan appetizers and no hard liquor. Worst, the mayor didn't even bother to press the flesh with the ink-stained wretches (even stiff ol' de Blasio used to hang out and allow us to drunkenly tell him how to run the city). On the plus side, our editor captured a classic "criminal mischief" video on his way out (and don't forget that Gothamist ran the print version of Stephen Nessen's radio report on our old man editor's "criminal mischief" series):

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