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Wednesday’s Headlines: Get the Buses Moving Edition

Let's focus on a little footnote from Marcia Kramer's damn good interview on WCBS2 on Sunday with MTA CEO Janno Lieber. Plus other news.

MTA CEO Janno Lieber parried Marcia Kramer’s questions on CBS2’s “The Point” on Sunday.

Let's focus on a little footnote from Marcia Kramer's damn good interview on WCBS2 on Sunday with MTA CEO Janno Lieber. After dispensing Kramer's questions about some environmental ramifications of congestion pricing, Lieber got down to one of his (and our) concerns about the transit service he provides:

"I'm in the transit business. I want to grow service," he said. "I want to make sure there are more buses out on the streets, although part of the challenge with bus service is not how many buses you have there, it's whether the congestion is clear. We got to deal with that street congestion."

And by "we," he really means Mayor Adams, who controls the city's roadways and the congestion thereon. Later, Lieber said, "We need more bus lanes."

As has been well-reported by Streetsblog and pretty much everyone (even the Times!), the Adams administration is violating city law with its failure to build dedicated bus lanes.

So we threw a few questions over to the City Hall press shop:

  • Lieber specifically said that his buses are stuck behind NYC traffic. Does the mayor have a plan to deal with that?
  • Lieber specifically said that we need more bus lanes in NYC. Can you document for me the mayor’s plan for bus lane construction in 2024?

City Hall declined to answer either question directly. But spokesperson Liz Garcia did offer a statement.

"In two years, the Adams administration has made our streets safer and improved commutes for nearly 700,000 daily bus riders by building and enhancing bus lanes from the North Bronx to southern Brooklyn," she said, possibly referring to the few bright spots that City Hall and the Department of Transportation refer to a lot (for lack of other bright spots). "And with our partners in the state legislature, we delivered a major win with five free bus routes starting last fall. We continue to work with our partners in the MTA and with communities across the city to build on this record of success."

Success? Weekday local bus speeds, which were 7.7 miles per hour on average when the mayor took office have fallen to 7.5 miles per hour — a small drop, but a meaningful one. And people on Fordham Road are still waiting for their improvements.

In other news:

  • City and State took a deep dive on the "patchwork" nature of efforts to solve the lithium-ion battery problem.
  • We mentioned the NYPD's new "dashboard boot" yesterday, but amNY looked into it with a full story.
  • Should the mayor ride the subway every day? Don't be "unrealistic!" (Gothamist)
  • Long a dream of former Mayor Bill de Blasio, pay-by-plate is here. Now, will it lead to a crackdown on placard abuse as the ex-Hizzoner promised? (NY1)
  • Council Member Shaun Abreu has what looks like a good bill to make sure delivery workers get the tips you offered. (Gothamist)
  • Crain's covered the Council's efforts to rein in last-mile warehouses.
  • The website I Love the Upper West Side gave some love to Streetopia UWS's plan to remake W. 72nd Street into something good.
  • And some people think delivery workers on e-bikes are a menace! The real problems are the ones in cars. (NY Post)
  • Hell Gate says its eclipse experience was better than mine. Really? Did Hell Gate's daughter get featured in Vermont Public Radio as she took a freezing cold totality dip in Lake Chaplain? This was pretty classic:
That's a classic totality photo.
  • And, finally, this doesn't look like a fair allocation of lanes on Second Avenue:

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