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Wednesday’s Headlines: On the Road Edition

12:01 AM EDT on August 9, 2023

People love the bus in Buenos Aires.

I was privileged enough to get away for a few days to South America and, man, there were so many highlights. Iguazu Falls? Skiing in the Andes? Ipanema Beach?

No, the kids were traveling with the editor of Streetsblog and the only thing he (in this case, I) wanted to see was the Bus Rapid Transit in Buenos Aires. And what a wonder it is: multiple roadways of the Paris of the South have four lanes swiped away from cars in favor of paired, two-lane, car-free busways!

It's the most amazing thing I ever saw ... alas, because I'm a New Yorker and we don't have such things.

Funny thing is, I found the lanes just as exciting as Clarence Eckerson Jr. (aka The Orson Welles of the Street) found them when he did this Streetfilms video nine years ago:

Yes, nine years ago! It's astounding to come back from seeing such a simple and elegant solution to the car-era problem of slow buses and realize that the best that the Adams Administration can do (nine years later!) is a watered-down Third Avenue plan or a completely punted Fordham Road debacle.

Yes, the new Northern Boulevard bus lane — an exciting project that was rightfully trumpeted in a DOT press release yesterday, and by Gothamist and the Queens Post — will help. But it's worth noting that the project was delayed more than a year because of reported interference from Council Member Francisco Moya. It's also worth noting that it's not a busway, but merely a dedicated bus lane that can still be blocked by double-parked cars.

In any event, something's gotta give because bus speeds have dropped 5 percent since Mayor Adams took office, according to the MTA's numbers.

This 10-mile uninterrupted bike boulevard was in the Godoy Cruz section of Mendoza.

It's not just bus speeds, of course, but Adams is failing in so many other ways, as my colleagues pointed out during my vacation: cyclists deaths are up, the McGuinness Boulevard safety plan has been ruined, a program to rein in rogue drivers has failed, and know-nothing pols still exert undue influence inside City Hall.

So don't get me started about my trip, which also included riding on a bike superhighway in Mendoza (seen in the photo). Recall: bike superhighways were one of Mayor Adams's campaign promises, about which he has said nothing since the election.

But that's what vacations are for, I suppose: seeing what other cities do better — and fighting to get what we deserve (and, yes, that includes replacing smoke-belching ice cream trucks with electric-powered versions, something that has become the latest (and perhaps strangest) battle in the Culture Wars):

In other news:

  • The Times did an explainer on the Union Square level-four mobilization last week that really glossed over a lot of things.
  • A driver was arrested for killing Brooklyn grandmother Verna McKnight last year. (NYDN)
  • A ferry contract that doesn't give taxpayers enough for their buck has been extended, with good framing by amNY's Ben Brachfeld (the NYDN also covered).
  • Vendors have been ostensibly kicked out of Washington Square Park, too. (Village Sun)
  • I was away as you might have heard, but someone finally got around to covering the crucial report put out by City Comptroller Brad Lander about how the city and state are misusing federal Biden Bucks to entrench another generation of bad highway projects. (Gothamist, Crain's)
  • Here's a weird way to die in a motor vehicle crash on the Manhattan Bridge. (NYDN, NY Post)
  • There was other road carnage reported yesterday:
    • A man on a stand-up scooter was killed by a bus driver. (NYDN, NY Post)
    • Two kids were killed in separate crashes on Long Island. (NY Post)
    • amNY rounded up the other crashes.
    • Oh, but not all of them — a senior citizen was killed by a truck driver in the Bronx. (Norwood News)

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