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Monday’s Headlines: No Holiday on the Safe Streets Beat

The big story in our world over the weekend was a rally in response to Streetsblog's late Friday exclusive that the Adams administration won't finish the Ashland Place bike lane project.

12:00 AM EDT on October 9, 2023

A few dozen street safety advocates called on the mayor to finish the Ashland Place bike lane on Sunday.

We have no words to add to everything that is being said about the situation in Israel and Gaza, but if you've clicked here, you want news from the local transportation world, and that's our job, so here you go:

The big story over the weekend was Sunday's rally in response to Streetsblog's late Friday exclusive that the Adams administration had decided not to include the southernmost block of Ashland Place.

Dozens of protesters rallied on the block below Lafayette Avenue rolling out a new monicker for the dangerous roadway: Crashland. (Indeed, according to city data, since Jan. 1, 2020, there have been 42 reported crashes on just the southernmost block of Ashland Place, injuring four cyclists, one pedestrian and 11 motorists. That's more crashes than on any other block of Ashland.)

"War on Cars" podcast co-host Doug Gordon rallied the crowd on Sunday.Photo: Kathy Park Price

The mayor's flip-flop (just the latest of several that we've reported on) is particularly galling, given that the Department of Transportation made such a compelling argument for the necessity of the project in a presentation to locals more than a year ago:

Here are all the reasons why DOT wanted to fix the southernmost block of Ashland Place. All of those reasons still exist. Yet the changes won't happen.Chart: DOT

Meanwhile, 26 cyclists have been killed this year, the highest at this point in any year on record. That's why activists will protest once again, this time on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Union Square, followed by a bike ride to City Hall. It's all there on the Streetsblog calendar. For even more information, click here.

And speaking of the rally, it's worth noting that the Dangerous Vehicle Abatement Program, which allows the city to take action against drivers with extensive records of speeding or running red lights, will expire in 17 days unless the City Council acts to reauthorize it. We covered Speaker Adrienne Adams's methodical approach to the issue last week, but our Photoshop team has been working daily to get the word out about the impending sunset:

In other news from a disturbing weekend:

  • New York City has lost another great resident to road violence. Lori Kleinman, 76, was struck by an SUV driver at the intersection of Greenwich Avenue and West 10th Street last week, and died the next day, the NYPD said on Saturday. The Village Sun had the full story about a true elder stateswoman of the Village — but no mention that Kleinman is at least the 66th pedestrian killed so far this year, according to city stats. The Daily News also covered the death, but offered no details about the grim toll either.
  • The News had more information about another road violence victim, Emanuel Patterson, the 56-year-old cyclist who was killed last week. This time, the paper reported the bigger picture: Patterson is the 26th cyclist to die on New York City roads this year.
  • The West Side Rag is very excited that the Parks Department bought 86 more Ford F-150 electric pickup trucks. Not noted in the gushy press-release-style story is the cost of each of the trucks (they start at $50,000), their road-crushing weight (they start at 6,015 pounds) or why the Parks Department needs so many vehicles to begin with (the Rag story pointed out that the agency has 600 EVs now ... in a fleet of more than 1,650 vehicles!).
  • New Jersey authorities are taking another look at a fatal crash involving Nadine Menendez, the wife of Sen. Robert Menendez — a crash that involved a classic (classically bad) on-scene investigation that seemed designed to clear the killer driver. (NY Times)
  • Speaking of the Times, this piece about the future of the transit system seemed to be little more than a summary of the last six months of coverage in all the other papers, including Streetsblog. (Read us every day and you won't miss a thing.)
  • On the plus side, the Times did a great job showing the onerous burden of car ownership on working people — though we couldn't help noticing that the paper sheathed its investigative sword with this sentence about a New York City public school teacher who lives in Staten Island, yet works in Brooklyn: "She could take a pay cut and return to teaching in a school closer to her house on Staten Island, and save some of the $200 a month she spends on gas." Memo to the Department of Education: How about incentivizing teachers to work near where they live? Transportation Demand Management anyone?
  • Here's what's open (the Staten Island Ferry) and closed (Streetsblog) during today's Indigenous Peoples' Day holiday. (Gothamist)
  • Speaking of the holiday and Staten Island, Rock Council Member Joe Borelli opened the holiday with a really bad take:
  • And, finally, we were happy to see that NYC FC made its way to its Washington, D.C. road game in the only logical way on Saturday. Alas, the boys in blue lost, 2-0.

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