Tuesday’s Headlines: Polly Owns This One Edition

Monday's vigil for Ernest Askew.
Monday's vigil for Ernest Askew.

He broke it, now she owns it. We’ll be hearing a lot more today about the mayor’s long-overdue announcement that he’ll stem the tide of cyclist deaths with a new NYPD enforcement effort and a new cycling safety plan from the Department of Transportation. The NYPD has done periodic crackdowns on illegal parking and bus lane blocking, so clearly there’ll be a brief period of stepped up effort against rogue drivers.

But the key part of the announcement was more vague, with the mayor claiming he had “charged the Department of Transportation with developing a new cyclist safety plan to make biking in our city safer.” (The Post had coverage.)

So with 15 cyclists dead so far this year, the half-time, would-be president mayor is calling in his loyal relief pitcher: Polly Trottenberg. What will her “plan” be? When will we hear it? Tune in later.

For now, here’s today’s headlines:

  • As the mayor made his announcement, scores of cyclists were holding a vigil for cyclist Ernest Askew in Brownsville. Borough President Eric Adams, State Senator Zellnor Myrie, Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel and activists mourned with the victim’s aunt and older brother. Meanwhile, Make Queens Safer called on NYPD Transportation Chief Thomas Chan to resign for being “MIA” during this and past crises. “Isn’t there anyone in [the NYPD] that knows anything about cycling?” the activists asked (rhetorically, of course).
  • The Daily News added lots of solid reporting about Monday’s 15th cyclist death, including a quote from the cement truck company owner blaming the crash on “too many cyclists on the road.” (The Post had some good coverage, too, focusing on victim Devra Freelander, a respected artist. Gothamist did not update its story very smoothly.) Meanwhile, the same paper reported that New York is on pace for the lowest number of murders in decades — so, how about we convert all those unneeded homicide detectives to vehicular homicide detectives, Mr. Mayor?
  • So the DOT spent years trying to figure out how to fix the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, causing so much outrage in the process that the mayor appointed a special panel … which has now apparently thrown out both of the DOT’s proposals. So much for agency morale! (Brooklyn Eagle) Here’s a reminder: Just tear the thing down.
  • Streetsblog‘s Dave Colon and amNY‘s Vin Barone are competing to see who will be the Bard of the Busway. Colon focused on the poor bus service on 14th Street thanks to a judge’s ruling barring the city from starting the bus-and-truck-only route, while Barone covered Monday’s pro-busway rally.
  • Gotham Gazette newcomer Noah Berman, who gamely listened as our grizzled editor downloaded all his “life lessons” before a delayed City Hall hearing the other day, has published a piece about breaking the car culture.
  • Bike Snob Eben Weiss took on his Bronx neighbors with a Letter to the Editor of the Riverdale Press that called for a bus lane. Streetsblog has his back on this issue.
  • A writer for CityLab rode around on a scooter a lot, thanks to a monthly rental plan from Bird.
  • Our old-school editor offered the Daily Beast a not-so-fond remembrance of those times when he failed to stop Donald Trump in the first days of this century. (Subscribers only)
  • And in case you missed it, amNY’s Pulitzer-worthy cartoonist Jimmy Margulies reminded us all how lousy most bike lanes are:


NYPD Data Show Cracking Down on Cyclists Isn’t Preventing Cyclist Deaths

Eight months into Vision Zero, and after weeks of targeted enforcement during “Operation Safe Cycle,” department data show NYPD isn’t moving the needle much on cyclist injuries and deaths. Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg announced Wednesday that drivers have killed 17 city cyclists so far this year. That’s a 142 percent increase from the first nine […]