Friday’s Headlines: Two Long Climbs Edition
Our assignment desk says it’s going to be a busy day today with two events that both involve arduous effort:
First, at 11 a.m., one of the great sporting events on the annual calendar — the staircase race from the street to the platform at the famously high Smith-Ninth Street station — will pit a variety of elected officials (our money is on State Sen. Andrew Gounardes or Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani).
Unlike other legs of the Frivolity Triple Crown — including the Idiotarod and the No Pants Subway Ride — this event at least has a purpose, according to Riders Alliance: “With Brooklynites bone tired of dashing up 90 feet above the Gowanus Canal to avoid a long wait for an infrequent F or G train, the race will show Albany leaders how a targeted investment in six-minute-or-better service would afford off-peak riders a more humane and dignified commute.”
Then at 1 p.m., Astoria activists (and a winded Mamdani) will gather at the intersection of 24th Avenue and 29th Street for a vigil to mark the one-month anniversary of the death of cyclist Tamara Chuchi Kao, who was killed by a cement truck driver on Jan. 5. Attendees say they will call on DOT to “build, at minimum, a north-south bike lane and an east-west protected bike lane in Astoria by September.”
The neighborhood has two of each — a north-south protected lane on Crescent Street and on Vernon Boulevard, plus an east-west lane on Northern Boulevard and on 20th Avenue — but it’s not enough (see map).
The DOT has already promised to make changes, but the process only begins there.
“This agency is committed to ending senseless traffic violence on our streets and, in addition to taking immediate action at this crash location, we plan to discuss new potential protected bike lanes in Astoria with residents this year,” spokesman Vin Barone said previously.
That’s all for later. For now, let’s go over yesterday’s news:
- Opposition to congestion pricing has always been a bit of a clown car, but it’s unclear why Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island) thinks she’s winning points by siding with congestion pricing foe Boris Johnson, the former British prime minister, who was forced out in infamy and whose name is forever linked with the word “scandal.” If the Congresswoman wants to argue facts, she should have asked Johnson to refute findings such as this: “Before the Congestion Charge zone was launched in 2003, private vehicles clogged the roads and the time lost to congestion cost the economy up to £4 million [nearly $5 million] per week.
Take it from PM @BorisJohnson, a NYC native who also served as Mayor of London – one of only a few cities worldwide that has Congestion Pricing: It’s just an extra burden on taxpayers. New York should NOT DO IT! pic.twitter.com/99puL77t7x
— Office of Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (@RepMalliotakis) February 1, 2023
- Hot take! Hell Gate has Gov. Hochul’s number, for real.
- So does Mayor Adams — he’s not that excited to pay more for the MTA. (Crain’s)
- The NYPD arrested a hit-and-run driver. (NYDN)
- But a state trooper who killed a kid upstate with his car got off. (NYDN)
- Police misconduct is terrible … and it’s also expensive to taxpayers. (Gothamist)
- Restaurant industry point man Andrew Rigie once again advocated for a robust outdoor dining program in a City & State op-ed, but the Council is still stalling a permanent plan. He made some good points. For example: “Pre-pandemic, there were only about 1,400 licensed sidewalk cafes under the old law, nearly all located south of 96th Street in Manhattan, compared to the nearly 13,000 establishments offering outdoor dining as part of the inclusive Open Restaurants program with participating small businesses in diverse neighborhoods throughout the city. It’s now 2023 and time for the city to begin the transition out of the temporary emergency outdoor dining program into a standardized and sustainable permanent system.” And this: “I’m the first to acknowledge that abandoned and dilapidated dining structures must be removed. [But] restaurants struggling to recover from the pandemic are hesitant to put time and money into their outdoor dining setups because they don’t want to be told that their investment was a waste and doesn’t comply with the forthcoming permanent standards they’ve been waiting to see for now over a year.”
- Our Streetfilms colleague Clarence Eckerson has posted another doozy!
Of all the stories written & videos posted about the gold standard open street on 34th Ave. in Queens, this @streetfilms video by @PurpleClarence may be the single most effective before-and-after demonstration of the horrible effect of cars on communities https://t.co/09DAWgZnTE
— Streetsblog New York (@StreetsblogNYC) February 2, 2023
- You lay down with batteries and you wake up with fleas. (Financial Times)
- Our old man editor was on the Capitol Pressroom radio show talking about criminal mischief and Gov. Hochul’s effort to rein in illegal plate covers. It’s worth a listen:
- Meanwhile, just like in “The Godfather III,” he wants to get out, but scofflaws keep pulling him back in. Here’s his latest video, plus some support from Council Member Bob Holden:
One day after @GovKathyHochul gave me a scoop on her plans to crack down on illegal plate covers, I caught a COURT OFFICER in Downtown Brooklyn once again using an illegal cover. This time, I didn't commit criminal mischief — but someone should! pic.twitter.com/mnza0Z7v7E
— Gersh Kuntzman (@GershKuntzman) February 2, 2023
It's time to put a stop to those who are hiding their license plates. We can't just let reckless drivers run red lights and speed while their plates are obscured. You either have something to hide or are doing something illegal—or both. @glorioso4ny (1/2)https://t.co/fOwrZl4RKj
— Robert Holden (@BobHoldenNYC) February 1, 2023