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Wednesday’s Headlines: Head-Scratcher Edition

Three items crossed our desk yesterday that simply need to be addressed. Plus other news.

File photo: Gersh Kuntzman|

Roadways in transit deserts tend to be jammed up.

We are loath to give bad actors any publicity at all, but we're also keen on exposing the hypocrisy or bad judgment of people who should know better. Along those lines, three items crossed our desk yesterday that need to be addressed.

The first was a rally featuring convicted domestic abuser and frequently defeated pol Hiram Monseratte that protested the long-overdue expansion of Citi Bike into Elmhurst.

The press statement was laughable. Monseratte objected that there's now a Citi Bike rack on the same block where Malcolm X once lived — suggesting (I'd argue wrongly) that the slain civil rights leader and champion of working people was anti-bike.

The statement also complained that Citi Bike racks take up parking (forgetting of course that a Citi Bike rack creates far more parking than it removes), yet it also quoted Frank Taylor of the Ditmars Block Association saying that people who own bikes in Elmhurst keep them "in their garages." Well, if everyone has a garage, why is the neighborhood so worried about parking?

No one at the rally said it, so I will: Citi Bike is a vital part of the transportation network that connects people — people who may not be able to afford cars or simply don't want the aforementioned hassles or environmental disaster represented by cars — to transit and jobs. Citi Bikes are ridden tens of thousands of times per day — and each trip relieves overcrowding on subways and buses or removes a car (from being in the way of other cars).

Another bizarre item — spotted by my colleague Dave Colon — was a demand from Brooklyn Community Board 17 to not build more transit, specifically the long-sought extension of the 4 train deeper into the neighborhood, which its elected officials have long complained is a "transit desert."

Colon spotted this buried on page 28 of the board's annual "statement of needs" (emphasis added): "The Board continues to receive complaints regarding congestion on Utica Avenue, double-parked cars, blocked businesses, and parked on the sidewalk have become the norm in the district. ... The idea for a potential subway extension will only increase the volume of traffic along this corridor, causing double parking and negatively impacting businesses. Additionally, there is a need for improved bus services throughout the district."

It's a bizarre statement, given that additional subway service, almost by definition, would reduce car traffic and improve accompanying bus service. It's also a position contrary to that of then-Borough President Eric Adams, then-Council Member Jumaane Williams, and locals who signed a petition circulated by Black Mind. And it's a weird position to take, given that more than half of the households in the district do not have access to a car, according to the Census.

And, finally, our friend Michael Kaess, who has tangled with the anti-housing and anti-bike forces in the Bronx, pointed out that he's hearing NIMBY talk about development near the four forthcoming MTA Metro-North stations in the Boogie Down. Borough President Vanessa Gibson will be hosting an info session tonight, and it's looking like opponents will argue that the current zoning proposal — which YIMBYs say is underwhelming — will create "overdevelopment."

There are always legitimate concerns about gentrification, but dense development near transit is essential if our city is to win both crises: climate change and soaring housing costs.

That makes tonight's meeting extra spicy. Tune in. (Details are on the Streetsblog calendar.)

In other news:

  • Everyone covered the mayor's trash containerization update yesterday, though the Daily News, amNY and GGG didn't really get the angle right (as we did): Pedestrians need more space!
  • Like Streetsblog, Hell Gate went front page with the civil rights lawsuit filed by lawyer Adam White, who was the inspiration for my "criminal mischief" campaign (and earworm song) against license plates scofflaws.
  • The Daily News had more on Josue Mardoqueo Vicente Yac, who was killed by a pickup truck driver on Saturday — a death that some law-and-order pols were quick to blame on the victim (even though opening a door into traffic is illegal):
This tweet by this Council candidate was later taken down.
  • Hat tip to disability leader Joe Rappaport for pointing out that congestion pricing will be good for people who get around in wheelchairs because it will lead to more elevator construction in the subways. (NYDN)
  • Police released images of the suspect who allegedly killed Priscilla Loke with a Citi Bike. (NY Post, amNY)
  • Whatever happened to that light rail line in Bergen County? Therein lies a great story. (North Jersey)
  • The latest Nolan Hicks exclusive looks like more Penn Station than we need. (NY Post)
  • From the Assignment Desk, DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez will be on Soundview Avenue in the Bronx to celebrate the agency's new protected bike lane, something we'd been calling for to accompany the e-scooters that the agency unleashed in its Bronx pilot. The DOT said it would make the road safer ... and it has.
  • Subway ridership is rebounding. (Crain's)
  • And, finally, apparently there's now an official Citi Bike song:

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