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Thursday’s Headlines: Election Shows Support for Open Streets Edition

You won't be surprised at our election spin, but the post-mortem is clear: old-school car enablers lost and open streets won.

12:01 AM EDT on June 29, 2023

Election winners included (from top) Shekar Krishnan, Chris Banks and Yusef Salaam (plus the open street program).

You won't be surprised at our election spin, but the post-mortem is clear: old-school car enablers lost and open streets won.

Exhibit A: the Democratic primary victory of Council Member Shekar Krishnan over challenger Richard Pacheco. This race was billed — by Krishnan's opponents — as a referendum on the 34th Avenue open street. But guess what? Not only did Krishnan win big, but the vote totals show that he won biggest in the election districts directly along the open street. The places were Krishnan did worse were the places furthest from Paseo Park.

Meaning? People who experience the city's gold-standard open street every day love it. And the only people who don't are people who grouse from halfway across the neighborhood. Neighborhood open streets advocate Bill Bruno crunched the numbers and found that Krishnan got 65 percent in the area along the open street. Krishnan even got 72 percent of the vote in the election district that formed the absolute heart of the neighborhood's limited opposition.

Check out the interactive map here or click on the screenshot below.

Krishnan election districts are in yellow (darker yellow means a more decisive win). Pacheco is in blue (lighter for a less decisive win). The empty space on the eastern part of the open street was a tie.

Exhibit B: Yusef Salaam defeated the much-backed Inez Dickens, long an opponent of street safety in her neighborhood (and in her own driving). The Post and covered that race. Dickens said in a NY1 interview that she opposed bike lanes and a bill to let New York City set its own speed limits. A few days later, she lost resoundingly.

Exhibit C: Canarsie power broker Charles Barron, also no great friend of the livable streets movement, was defeated by Chris Banks. Not much is known about Banks, but on issues of street safety, he's expected to be far better than Barron, who once told Streetsblog that road redesigns and bike lanes are not big community issues. The Post and the Brooklyn Paper also covered.

Basically, people wanted change from old-school thinking, as Crain's and the Times put it.

In other news:

  • The big story yesterday was new renderings released for Penn Station and the almost ridiculous claims being made by their creator, the Italian company, ASTM (with former MTA Chairman Pat Foye involved). As the Daily News put it, "The plan ... would cost about $6 billion and take six years to complete." Mark those words. The Post, the Times, amNY also covered.
  • The other big story was the mayor's announcement of new containerized trash rules for commercial garbage. Ethan Stark-Miller did a good job for amNY, and Gothamist also covered but we were the only outlet that covered the real story: Pedestrians are still shit out of luck.
  • The Times did an explainer on how congestion pricing will work, though many details remain unclear.
  • Like we did on Tuesday, Gothamist wrote about the growing pressure on Mayor Adams to add funding to the Fair Fares program.
  • Eventually, Pete Davidson and Colin Jost's floating white elephant will be an entertainment complex. (Daily Beast)
  • Times columnist Ginia Bellafante did a second-day tribute to Richard Ravitch.
  • The Post continues its inane fight against clean air.
  • The new mayor of Toronto doesn't have a driver's license. (Twitter)

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