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Today's Headlines

Tuesday’s Headlines: Community Input Edition

It's hard to know what to make of Bronx Council Members Althea Stevens and Oswald Feliz's broadside attack on the Department of Transportation yesterday. Plus other news.

12:01 AM EDT on August 15, 2023

It's hard to know what to make of Bronx Council Members Althea Stevens and Oswald Feliz's broadside attack on the Department of Transportation yesterday.

It all started when the DOT tweeted an update on some safety improvements it will begin this month on Park Avenue:

The project was first introduced via presentations to three Bronx community boards in 2021. And it was re-presented in April of this year when the DOT announced its projects for this year. The Park Avenue safety initiative was crucial, the agency said, because Stevens's district is a "Priority Investment Area" and the Adams administration is keen on improving safety in "underserved communities."

Nonetheless, Stevens tweeted, "Just wish the community would have had an opportunity to have input…" She added emojis of exasperation and sadness.

Later, as supporters weighed in on the side of safety, Feliz suggested in a tweet that those supporters have "issues with minority communities asking for an opportunity to provide input." (He added a side-eye emoji.)

The fact is that the community to which Feliz and Stevens is referring has had all too much input on road safety — in the form of death and injuries under the wheels of cars. The neighborhood is almost entirely Black and Latino, which means that the majority of the 514 people injured in crashes so far this year are also likely Black and Latino — though only 25.6 percent of households have access to a car.

Also, the Park Avenue project merely calls for converting an existing painted bike lane into a protected bike lane "without removing parking or travel lanes," the DOT said.

We couldn't tell whether Stevens was opposed to street safety or merely the process by which DOT decided what streets to make more safe for the majority of residents who don't drive, so we reached out her. Neither she nor her office responded, but we're hoping to get an answer today.

Update: Stevens did tweet back at me:

It's worth noting that two years ago, students in the neighborhood begged the DOT to create safer streets, which sounds like real community input.

In other news:

  • Speaking of community input, the DOT finished a major pedestrian safety project in Jamaica and that neighborhood's Council Member Nantasha Williams cheered. (QNS)
  • It was hard to beat the Times's headline on the "Deputy Mayor for Communications" story.
  • Curbed offered a heartbreaking look at the lives of people who sell candy on the subway.
  • Long Island City is getting an 824-unit residential skyscraper with surprisingly not so much parking. (NYDN)
  • Another police chase leads to another car crash. (NYDN)
  • A senior citizen was killed walking on a Queens highway. (NYDN)
  • Those Montana kids won! It's unclear if a series of pro-environment rulings will follow, but it's worth reading the Times's coverage if only for the sneering contempt for climate science from the Montana attorney general's office.
  • Like Streetsblog, the Daily News, Gothamist and amNY also covered the city's efforts to allow for wider cargo bikes.
  • Finally, if you missed Jesse Coburn's story on how a big Brooklyn real estate developer and Mayor Adams's adviser Ingrid Lewis-Martin delayed part of a crucial safety redesign, you should read it now. City & State obviously liked it:

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