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Monday’s Headlines: Good News/Bad News Edition

We have some good news and, given who we are, some bad news about road violence. Plus other news from a busy weekend.

Graphic: Streetsblog Photoshop Desk|

This is a composite image of DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez at last year’s Dusk and Darkness presser with our chart of road injuries photoshopped in. To see the original, click the photo credit.

We have some good news and, given who we are, some bad news.

Let's go with the good news first: Pedestrian deaths through the first nine months of the year are at an all-time low (except for the pandemic year when there were very few pedestrians). The Adams administration has been touting that number repeatedly over the last few weeks, and Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said it again on Thursday, so let's repeat it: Fatalities for people on foot are down this year, as you can see from this DOT chart:

This is data through Nov. 2 of every year.Chart: DOT

Now the bad news. In a city of more than 8,000,000 people, the difference between 78 pedestrian fatalities and, say, 93 pedestrian fatalities doesn't really provide a clear picture of the dangers we all face on the streets due to the domination of — and post-pandemic increase in — automobiles in transit-rich New York City.

To see the full carnage caused by cars, one needs to look deeper. So here's the bad news: Injuries are rising. So we asked Rodriguez about that on Thursday. Here's the full exchange (read it all the way — there will be charts after!):

Streetsblog: Commissioner, you mentioned that the pedestrian fatality numbers are historically low, and which is obviously good news. But one of the things though that doesn't seem to change — in fact, this year, it's a little higher — is overall injuries to pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and [users of] other vehicles. I'm wondering if you could talk to us a little bit about what you think is driving (and that's obviously a pun that's intended) the increase in injuries.

Rodriguez: New York City is a challenging place. New York City is a place where we not only have 8.6 million residents, but we have 50 million visitors per year. And different from the 1980s, we now have over 100,000 bike trips [per day]. ... So the reality is that every day we are doing more, widening the bike lane because we are also sharing the space to provide a service to those New Yorkers. Eighty percent of New Yorkers are placing an order [for delivery] once at once a week, and 22 percent are placing an order four times a week. ... So I'm happy with the work that we are doing: with redesigning, with engineering, with the educational, with enforcement. Traffic violence is another type of violence we are committed to eradicating, so we're doing everything; we are using all the tools that we have in our box. And it's working when it comes to the reduction of pedestrians death. However, we continue to have reckless drivers, drivers who are drinking and driving, driving while speeding, so everyday we work to do the best we can to use all the tools to reduce the death of pedestrians.

Took him a while to get to the reckless drivers, but it was worth the wait, wasn't it?

So here's what the Adams administration's historic reduction in pedestrian fatalities looks like from the perspective of the thousands of vulnerable road users who are merely injured:

And here's another view, with motorist injuries included.

Bottom line, there are a lot of injuries on the roads of this town. A lot.

In other news:

  • In a Daily News op-ed, legendary traffic macher "Gridlock" Sam Schwartz pointed out some of the flaws of the Adams administration's "unlimited" EV taxi plan — as Komanoff did in our pages last month.
  • Hell Gate and Streetsblog covered the breaking news story of a big e-Citi Bike expansion. But then we did a follow-up, too.
  • In case you missed it, the Daily News and Streetsblog made a big deal about the Brooklyn senior who was killed by two hit-and-run drivers last week.
  • Speaking of the ICYMI file: You really have to take a second look at the car-loving New York Times's appalling pre-Marathon coverage, featuring a reporter who drove the route, though why, we can't tell you (perhaps it's simply that Times editors can only see the city as a series of streets they can drive on). The smug headline said it all, "Why Run the New York City Marathon When You Can Drive It?"
  • There was also some positive Gateway news last week (NYDN, NY Times, amNY) and on the Second Avenue Subway (NY Post, amNY, Gothamist).
  • We broke the story last week about the demise of Revel, the moped company, which Gothamist promptly followed. The Post and amNY followed up on Sunday.
  • Now 12-year-olds are driving recklessly and hitting people! (NY Post)
  • Our Chicago colleague John Greenfield visited New York ... and reminded us that, hey, maybe it's not so bad here (StreetsblogCHI). And Janno Lieber agrees (amNY).
  • That said, the foot-traffic numbers in Lower Manhattan aren't great, reports the Post. Obviously, given the city's own economic data, it's time to pedestrianize everything south of Chambers Street (though the Post turned the news into yet another opportunity to rail about congestion pricing).
  • Interestingly, Bloomberg had the right take: Urban centers are doing just fine on the weekends.
  • Today is your last day to submit public commentary on the Adams administration's effort to rid the city of onerous and expensive mandatory parking minimums in new developments. Check out Open Plans's petition.
  • Covered and defaced plates are becoming a thing in San Francisco. But of course — California just legalized a speed camera pilot. (NY Times, which interviewed, but didn't quote me.)
  • Former federal transit man, Larry Penner, looks back on why it took 50 years to get new subway cars on the Rock. (Mass Transit)
  • In case you can't get enough of Gersh Kuntzman in a sweater, check out my appearance on NY1 from last week.
  • From the assignment desk, Manhattan Community Board 6 (East Midtown) will be discussing Council Member Bob Holden's bill to require all electric bikes to be licensed and plated like cars. Click here for info on the 7 p.m. hybrid meeting. The bill was gathering steam, but late last week, Council Member Rita Joseph apparently pulled her support. We reached out to the Brooklyn lawmaker over the weekend (we never stop!), but didn't hear back. Maybe today?
  • And, finally, is there anything as loathsome as a New Yorker "Talk of the Town" piece featuring an aged celebrity returning to his old New York neighborhood yet is so pressed for time that he can’t be bothered to even get out of a car before being spirited to a fancy meal? Ladies and gentlemen, Barry Manilow! (New Yorker)

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