Monday’s Headlines: It’s a Great City … When All the Cars Leave Edition

Friend of Streetsblog Kevin Dann sent over this picture of a nearly car-free Grand Army Plaza. Photo: Kevin Dann
Friend of Streetsblog Kevin Dann sent over this picture of a nearly car-free Grand Army Plaza. Photo: Kevin Dann

Happy Memorial Day. We couldn’t help but notice all the chatter this weekend about how wonderful the city is when all the rich people take their cars away for the holiday weekend.

State Senator Jessica Ramos of Queens obviously noticed the phenomenon, reminding us via Twitter that politicians who care only about parking are basically saying they only care about the well-to-do.

Contrast that to what Council Member Ben Kallos and others experienced when they tried to use the city’s ferry system this weekend. As chronicled by the News and the NY Post), the would-be passengers complained of long lines and crowded boats — evidence that those of us who don’t have cars are treated as second-class citizens by our entire transportation infrastructure (and evidence that amNY should have buried its front-page story on how awesome the ferries would be during the weekend). And don’t forget that an LIRR derailment made it impossible to get by rail to the Hamptons and beyond all day Saturday.

Oh, and it’s no better for cyclists or pedestrians, as the New York Post pointed out over the weekend. The Tabloid of Record became the latest outlet to slam Mayor de Blasio for not doing enough to stop the carnage on New York City roadways. Yes, the paper that still employs Steve Cuozzo complained that deaths are up 22 percent this year vs. the same period last year.

Taken all together, it seems clear: the solution is fewer cars all the time, not just on holiday weekends.

Now, to jump off the soapbox, here’s the rest of the weekend’s news:

  • We were happy to see Clayton Guse at the Daily Newsuh follow our story about a lawsuit initiated by the family of dead pedestrian Sherena Hundalani. The more attention paid to deadly street design and poor enforcement, the better. (NYDN)
  • The LIRR says its failed Memorial Day weekend service will be restored in time for all those people to come back to town from the Hamptons on Monday. (NY Post)
  • Thanks to Politco’s Dana Rubinstein, we know why last week’s MTA board executive session went so long. That’s what happens when two board members go at each other’s throats!
  • Former DOT Deputy Commissioner Ryan Russo offered an epic Twitter thread about that time 10 years ago when then-Mayor Bloomberg and DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik Khan did something truly revolutionary — yet seems so far away, even in today’s Vision Zero city.
  • Want to see a car in flames in Queens? We all do! (NY Post)
  • Lime will add more dockless bikes to the Rockaways this summer. (Gothamist)
  • And there was more carnage in Jamaica. (NY Post)
  • Here’s a reminder that cities tend to design safe roads only in wealthy neighborhoods. (The Conversation)
  • And in case you missed it, State Senator John Liu talked to the Queens Eagle about his “distracted walking” bill.

The Streetsblog staff is off today. We’ll return, tanned, rested and ready, on Tuesday morning.