Tuesday Headlines: Traffic Violence of Multiple Varieties Edition
The transportation chattering classes were focused on Monday on three very different — but equally troubling — instances of violence resulting from the mismanagement of our streets in favor of cars and speed over safety.
In Connecticut, a family mourned the loss of five children, ages 8 to 17, who died in a collision on the Hutchinson River Parkway on Sunday morning in which the driver, a 16-year-old boy, had neither a driver’s license nor a learner’s permit. The boy’s father had urged his son several times not to drive, according to the Post, while the Times reported that the location of the crash was on a 2015 list of the state’s most-dangerous roadways.
City residents, meanwhile, coped with a deadly crash of our own in Brooklyn — plus an outrageous caught-on-camera and published-by-the-Post assault in which a 30-year-old man and 27-year-old woman allegedly stabbed and beat a man with a baseball bat over a free curbside parking spot in Sunnyside, Queens. The pair’s victim, 28, suffered brain damage from the bloody beatdown.
The incidents may seem unrelated at first blush, but they’re par for the course for a city, state, and country that treats driving and parking as God-given rights, and safe road design as a luxury.
In all three cases, the prerogative to drive and use a car won out over responsible decision-making — with deadly consequences. Yet one of NYPD’s top officials on Monday defended his notoriously recklessly driving police officers who park on sidewalks near precincts, claiming cops “park as appropriately as possible” while insisting on their need to drive.
“We’re trying our best, in terms of just our officers parking as appropriately as possible. I know it’s difficult,” Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey said during a City Council hearing, according to amNY.
“A lot of people work at the precinct and there’s not enough parking spots.”
In other news:
- Cops believe the young driver in Westchester was either distracted or asleep at the wheel at the time of the crash, the Daily News reported.
- In yet another horrific instance of traffic violence, a speeding driver jumped the curb and killed two people in broad daylight on 64th Street near 18th Avenue in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Cops arrested the driver on manslaughter and driving without a license. (NY Post, Brooklyn Paper, NBC New York)
?#BREAKING: Multiple pedestrians have been hit and killed after vehicle crashed onto a curb
??#Bensonhurst | #Brooklyn
Police are reporting that Two people have been killed and five 5 others have been injured, with two critically, after a speeding car traveling at a high rate… https://t.co/Hq1527u2zK pic.twitter.com/eYJXSFULFg
— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) March 20, 2023
- New York City has a new slogan and it’s almost exactly like our old slogan, but worse. (Curbed, NYT)
- City Hall’s push to “involuntarily commit” homeless New Yorkers may have been over-stated. (Gothamist)
- New Jersey’s oldest commuter bus company will no longer run buses in and out of the city, citing a major drop in ridership since Covid. (NJ.com, NYT)
- MTA officials scramble to figure out charging ahead of purchase of 470 electric buses. (Gothamist)
- … while CEO Janno Lieber assures LIRR riders his team will “adjust service as needed” after a bumpy rollout of new schedules last month. (AMNY)
- From the assignment desk: City officials including Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez will cut the ribbon Tuesday on $231 million worth of water system fixes — and upgraded protected bike lanes — on 9th and 10th avenues in Hell’s Kitchen.
- Outlets including Gothamist, NY1, CBS New York, and others followed Streetsblog’s coverage of the mayor’s big lithium-ion battery announcement. But there is much more to come on that, we promise.
- Renaming a street — notoriously difficult, yet somehow still easier than installing a bike lane on one. (The City)