Friday’s Headlines: Requiem for a Little Angel, Plus Some Janno News
The big story this weekend will be on Sunday, when friends and family members gather at an Astoria playground to remember Dolma Naadhun, the 7-year-old girl killed a week earlier by a reckless driver.
A lot has been written about the crash and the Tibetan family’s horror and sadness. Meanwhile, activists and local pols beg the Department of Transportation for safety improvements along Newtown Road, which cuts a diagonal across Astoria. In 2022, there were 24 reported crashes on just the 10-block strip between 30th Avenue and Northern Boulevard, injuring 11 people. And if you go back to 2019, there have been 113 reported crashes in those four years, injuring 41 people.
To mark both imperatives, neighbors will support each other at the Astoria Heights Playground at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Show your support.
In another noteworthy story from yesterday, we sent Dave Colon to the MTA Board meeting and he brought back a great story about how MTA CEO Janno Lieber’s frustration at suburban lawmakers kinda boiled over.
Earlier in the day, anti-congestion pricing lawmaker, Rep. Josh Gottheimer (Know Nothing Party —N.J.), held yet another press conference demanding that Garden Staters get to continue their annoying habit of clogging up Manhattan with their cars and then taking their tax dollars back to New Jersey. Well, Leiber was asked about Gottheimer’s latest parade of fabrications and he promptly took aim at Gottheimer, a member of a House caucus that prides itself on its problem-solving talents.
“I just find it slightly amazing that the self-styled leader of the Problem Solvers Caucus in Congress is against solving small problems like climate change, congestion in the United States’s largest city that prevents ambulances from getting the hospitals and police from getting the crimes in progress,” Leiber lambasted. “Small issues like that. It’s a head scratcher to me. I know that this Congressman sort of styles himself as super bipartisan, but it mystifies me that he would choose to follow the motto of the prior administration in New Jersey, ‘Time for more traffic problems in Fort Lee.'”
The Daily News also covered.
But what Lieber left out of his monologue is something that otherwise might have been glossed over were it not for the fact that we know our stuff over here. In his press conference, Gottheimer said that he was concerned that the Port Authority would lose $125 million annually in its own toll revenue if the congestion toll deterred Jersey residents from driving into the city (which is, after all, one of its main goals).
Funny that Gottheimer would say the thinking part out loud: He’s a Jersey politician who says congestion pricing is unfair to Jersey drivers — but he’s really only concerned that Jersey keep the toll revenue. So here’s Gottheimer’s bizarre new math: Continued traffic + Port Authority tolls – quality of life for New York City residents = more money for Jersey. Disgusting.
In other news from a very transit-dominated day:
- Lieber also made it clear that if the MTA falls off the fiscal cliff, it’s the state legislature’s fault (NYDN) — or it’s the suburbanites’ fault (Crain’s).
- MTA elevators are getting a lift. (amNY)
- In case you missed it, Hell Gate also covered the long process to reform commercial waste collection in this city, which we also had.
- The City finally got around to discussing the elephant in Gov. Hochul’s budget: getting the city to pay the full cost of Access-a-Ride.
- We’ve been documenting the amazing public realm improvements being made by (alas private) business improvement districts for months now, but amNY joined the fun.
- Major environmental groups jointly came out against the Army Corps of Engineers’ $52-billion sea wall flood plan. (Gothamist)
- And, finally, we couldn’t ignore today’s developments in the Murdaugh murder trial down in South Carolina:
We don't usually weigh in on national stories, but placard abuse made it into the Murdaugh trial today as Alex took the stand and admitted that cops treat him better when he flashes his fake badge: https://t.co/ytGA1Zxb5C
— Streetsblog New York (@StreetsblogNYC) February 24, 2023