If de Blasio Had a Coherent Transportation Policy He’d Stand a Chance Against Cuomo

Photo: Mayor's Office
Photo: Mayor's Office

Sandwiched around the terrific news that Prospect Park will soon be car-free forever, it’s been another exasperating week for streets and transportation policy in New York. Mayor de Blasio put out one dud of a traffic management plan, while Governor Cuomo aimed a firehose of petty aggression in the mayor’s direction.

Generally speaking, Cuomo doesn’t occupy the moral high ground in these confrontations, but he’s been able to land more punches since he staked out a position in support of congestion pricing. We still don’t know exactly what Cuomo has in mind, but congestion pricing is a major policy reform that the enlightened political commentariat and a broad coalition of advocates can rally behind.

What New Yorkers need is a mayor who can engage in these tactical fights with the governor while looking out for the public interest. We don’t want to just watch a bloody political melee about how to fix transit and traffic in NYC — we want transit and traffic to get fixed. Unfortunately, de Blasio is almost always off-balance and unable to steer Cuomo’s aggression in a productive direction, even when opportunities present themselves.

Last night I posted a Twitter thread about this dynamic, and why the mayor’s position vis a vis Cuomo would be stronger if he was firmly anchored to basic principles of good urban transit and transportation policy.

We’re knee-deep in preparations for our Streets Ball benefit (get your tickets while you can — it’s a great cause and you’ll have a great time), so instead of translating the thread into an 800-word post, I’m going to embed it all right here. Apologies for the limitations of the format.