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Monday’s Headlines: Big Day at City Hall Edition (You’re Welcome)

We've been waiting for months for the City Council to finally take up two issues about which our staffers have been justifiably obsessed. But today, it's on.

You can thank Streetsblog for today’s Council hearing.

We've been waiting for months for the City Council to finally take up two issues about which our staffers have been justifiably obsessed: ghost plates (a particular focus of investigative reporter Jesse Coburn) and covered or obscured plates (which generated a lot of buzz thanks to Editor Gersh Kuntzman's one-man "criminal mischief" wave ... and hit song).

Today, the Council addresses both issues with a 10 a.m. oversight hearing at City Hall. On the agenda? First, the Council Transportation Committee will take up the issue of enforcement against people who willfully deface or cover their plate. Then, the committee will take up two bills by Council Member Oswald Feliz: one to make it illegal to "operate a motor vehicle with a fraudulent license plate ... or an expired license plate," which we're pretty sure is already illegal, and another to make it "unlawful to sell or distribute a fraudulent license plate," which, again, we're pretty sure is already unlawful.

Still, we're pleased that the Council is acting. And, apparently, will continue to act; Bronx Council Member Rafael Salamanca teased on Twitter late last week that he also wants in on the ghost plate crackdown business (as we have reported, the state legislature would have to give the DSNY the right to tow cars that are valued at more than $1,250, which it can't currently do):

In other news from a busy weekend:

  • Another New Yorker has been killed by a driver as she was just standing at a bus stop. The driver who hit her was just 19 — and a review of the driving record on the car revealed one speeding ticket last month (not that the Daily News or Post mentioned that).
  • NYCHA complexes will start getting the promised e-bike charging stations (NYDN, amNY, Gothamist), which, if you recall, the agency promised partly thanks to Streetsblog's critical coverage of NYCHA's original proposed "solution" to the lithium-ion battery crisis: a complete ban on all e-bikes.
  • The bus improvements that were promised for the route between LaGuardia Airport and the Roosevelt-74th Street subway station in Jackson Heights are starting. (Gothamist)
  • In case you weren't in the Garment District on Saturday, you missed a great time hosted by Charlie Todd's Improv Everywhere:
  • The Belt Parkway did what it does best. Again! (NYDN, NY Post)
  • A statue of slaver Philip Schuyler was removed from its perch outside Albany City Hall, the Times reported. Here's hoping the trend continues and the names of other enslavers like Jefferson, Nostrand and others can be stripped from New York streets and parks.
  • In response to the latest city effort to clean their of pollutants and greenhouse gases, the Post of course found people to complain of the loss of their freedom. Just once, wouldn't it be nice, to hear an American agree to give up some tiny part of his or her luxury lifestyle in support of the greater good?
  • Get ready for the worst part of the lifeguard shortage: public pool closures. (Hell Gate)
  • Times columnist Ginia Bellafante weighed in on the BQE's inevitable demise. We always enjoy Bellafante's prose, but her creativity really stood out when she said the decision of whether and how to fix the BQE requires "a resolution to questions around urban identity and the extent to which we want to articulate it through submission to an idle, habitual and environmentally exhausting style of consumerism." In short: cars suck. (Our only quibble: Bellafante's piece relied a lot on our previous coverage, though it was uncredited.)
  • Curbed and Streetsblog covered the big Transportation Alternatives' report on overweight cars and trucks — and two pols' efforts to rein them in.
  • The guy who helped create the Transit Museum has died. Don Harold was 91. (NY Times)
  • And, finally, next time someone says to you that open streets, bike lanes, public plazas and other streetscape changes are "killing" New York City, show them this latest Streetfilms video by Clarence Eckerson Jr.

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