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Tuesday’s Headlines: More Pro-Car Garbage from the Times Edition

Man, the New York Times needs an ombudsman! Plus other news.

Graphic: Streetsblog Photoshop Desk|

These are all recent pro-car stories from the pro-car Times Metro section. The Times really needs an ombudsman to question the paper’s car sympathies.

Man, the New York Times needs an ombudsman!

We've long become accustomed to the paper's car-sympathetic Metro section promoting auto ownership and whining about how difficult it is to own a car in the city, but yesterday's revanchist piece on parking went too far. "But now, inflation, the housing crisis and post-pandemic aftershocks have made what was already an urban blood sport nearly untenable," reporter Sarah Maslin Nir wrote. "Drivers who find themselves priced out of expensive-as-rent garages are forced to hunt for parking spots increasingly crowded out by dumpsters, dining sheds, bike lanes and a glut of cars."

Nir also reported, "Competing for space by the curb are delivery hubs, bikes and dining sheds, which have chewed away at an estimated 8,000 of the city’s free street side parking spaces. There are now about 2,000 Citi Bike bicycle rental docks, and counting."

But so much of that is sheer misinformation, whining and car culture revanchism: the "problem" of parking is not due to inflation, housing problems, the fallout from the Covid pandemic, delivery hubs (where exactly are those now?), dining sheds (of which there are fewer than during the pandemic), "bike lanes" (which rarely remove much parking anyway) and Citi Bike racks (hundreds of which are on sidewalks not roadways): The sheer fact — unmentioned by the Times — which didn't bother linking to Crain's seminal report or the paper's positive coverage of the car boom — is that there are tens, if not hundreds, of thousands more cars in New York City now than there were just a few years ago.

By failing to report the car population explosion, Nir leaves herself wide open for classic Times pro-car spin — seeking villains (real and imagined) that are primed to "take" more of the Times readers' parking: "A study of the feasibility of installing rat-resistant garbage dumpsters by the Department of Sanitation showed such containers could claim another 150,000 spaces if implemented." (Perhaps Nir should have re-read her colleague Emma Fitzsimmons's far-more-balanced piece on the trash proposal earlier this year. She could have also read last week's story about how cars are a fiscal albatross for working class people, but then again, so few of them read the Times, so why bother?)

Here's your daily reminder that after Oct. 26, New York City will no longer be requiring the most reckless drivers to take a safety course. The Times hasn't covered that either.

It's really so sad how a paper with New York in its name continues to cover the city as if it's basically a car-dependent suburb instead of what it really is: A place where owning a car is a bad lifestyle choice made (in most cases) by people who have lots of alternatives but want the rest of us to subsidize their driving anyway.

The story came just a few hours before Wednesday's rally by Transportation Alternatives, Open Plans and other groups to protest the Adams administration's failure to protect cyclists, who have been dying in historic numbers this year (perhaps fewer cars would help?). For more info, click here.

And speaking of that rally, today we published an op-ed from Frédérique Uster-Hug about her husband, who was killed by a truck driver earlier this year. "Mayor Adams doesn’t care if it’s safe," she writes. "He doesn’t care if families are afraid to bring their children to school. He doesn’t care if bike lanes are filled with double-parked cars. He doesn’t care if trucks kill even more of us. If he did, he’d stop talking about it and actually build the infrastructure that keeps us safe."

In other news from a holiday Monday when most of the media was focused on major international news:

  • The Times did an interesting story about California's long-overdue bid to add speed cameras on the streets of San Francisco and Los Angeles. But the story would have benefitted from some math. New York City, with speed cameras, lost 118 pedestrians on the street last year, while San Fran, without cameras, 20 pedestrians were killed last year. If New York death toll per capita was the same as San Francisco's, our death toll would have been 207, not 118.
  • Crain's followed our story about the city's coming ban on all vending on the Brooklyn and other bridges.
  • From the assignment desk: Here's a story we'll have to look into today:
  • Also for Brooklyn reporters: Bay Ridge residents will want to tune into the Ben-Max-moderated debate between Council Members Justin Brannan and his Democrat-become-Republican challenger Ari Kagan. It's not live, but will go up on his podcast around midday, he said.
  • Since there was so little local livable streets news, you have lots of time to watch Clarence Eckerson's latest Streetfilm about all the micro-mobility methods on the street right now — and why pedestrians are both confused and afraid out there:
  • And, finally, I had an interesting exchange with a plate-covering perp while walking home from the laundromat yesterday. Touchy, touchy:

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