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Carnage

Monday’s Headlines: Another Weekend, and Quarter, of CARnage Edition

Sarah Schick was one of the nine cyclists who have died so far this year.

Fifty-one people — including a record-high nine people on bikes — were killed on the roads in the first quarter of 2023, which is 11 percent higher than the Vision Zero-era average for the same period. If nothing changes, 2023 will be the deadliest year for traffic violence since 2014.

That's from Transportation Alternatives' quarterly body count, which is being released today. But it doesn't even include some of the worst carnage from the weekend, which included at least two deaths. Anthony Lardo was killed by the driver of a Toyota SUV as he ran across 41st Avenue in Flushing on Friday night. The Daily News covered it, but conveniently left out that the driver has 56 camera-issued speeding and red light tickets dating back to 2014, including nine speeding tickets in the past year. Oh but camera-issued tickets don't count as points on a driver's license, so killers like this will continue to stalk us ... at least until the State Legislature passes Sen. Andrew Gounardes's bill on this.

In another weekend crash, Darryl Younger was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Queens early on Friday (NYDN). (amNY rounded up both deaths.)

The TA report offers that broad overview, but also these scary specifics:

  • Nine bike riders were killed in the first quarter, a record under Vision Zero — and more than the first three months of 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 combined.
  • Eighteen people were killed in Queens, which is 33 percent higher than the average first quarter from 2014 through 2022. It's also the most first quarter fatalities in the borough since 2013.
  • Serious injuries and fatalities increased 7.3 percent compared to the same quarter last year, according to DOT data.
  • Council District 31, represented by Council Transportation Committee Chair Selvena Brooks-Powers, had the most fatalities of any Council district — with six. Going further: the district has just 2 percent of New York City population, but more than 10 percent of all fatalities this quarter.

The only good news (if you can call it that) is that this was the safest first quarter for pedestrians since Vision Zero started. Still, 23 pedestrians were killed in the first quarter of the year, and 2,255 have been injured — which is 25 deaths or injuries every single day.

The level of carnage has certainly been noticed by lots of Times reporters, the latest being Ginia Bellafante, who devoted her Sunday opinion column to the carnage. Maybe the paper's Metro editors will order up some news coverage (in the manner of Kevin Duggan's weekender about more demands for safety on Atlantic Avenue). And maybe the Adams administration will meet its legal requirement to build 30 miles of protected bus lane and 50 miles of protected bike lanes this year. (We'll see — there are ongoing staffing problems which reflect what Streetsblog has previously reported, but on the other hand, again, the DOT says it is going to do more bike lanes this year than ever before, as the Daily News previously reported.)

In other news:

    • Speaking of staffing, man there are a lot of job openings at the DOT right now. (DOT website)
    • The MTA's budget picture looks good thanks to the handshake deal reached late last week in Albany — but city residents will shoulder the entire burden of a small hike in the payroll mobility tax, which businesses in all 12 MTA counties must pay. New York City's hike will be 0.24 of a percent (from 0.34 to 0.6 percent), while the suburbs were spared. Initially, all counties were going to be hiked 0.16 percent, but now we're shouldering it all. It may not sound like much, but the suburbs will save $200 million, while New York City employers get socketed with a 75-percent tax hike instead of an across-the-board 47-percent hike. (NYDN, NY Times)
    • Meanwhile, amNY focused its budget coverage on the five-route free bus pilot, while Crain's revealed that Madison Square Garden still gets its massive tax break.
    • The Adams administration will hand out 500 free Apple tracking devices to Bronx car owners worried that their wheels will be swiped. Cyclists will no doubt mutter, "What about us," given that lots of bikes get stolen every year (and they're often not covered by insurance). (NY Post, amNY, Gothamist)
    • The Post doesn't seem to think delivery workers deserve decent pay, judging from the tone of its coverage of the proposed minimum wage.
    • Subway riders are really angry that the MTA's Twitter notifications have ceased because Elon Musk wanted to charge the agency. Those public updates were uniquely helpful. (The City)
    • Our editor had lots of fun doing his campaign of repainting or uncovering police officers' defaced license plates in a bid to get arrested for criminal mischief, but over the weekend, a cop really was arrested for criminal mischief (though it involved breaking his mom's door). (NYDN)
    • The Post covered that bizarre lawsuit against the open streets program that we covered in much greater depth last week.
    • The next frontier of lithium-ion battery headaches: the trash. (Gothamist)
    • And, finally, Friend of Streetsblog Jehiah Czebotar posted this horrific video from 11th Avenue in Manhattan:

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