Tuesday’s Headlines: Sympathy for Arthur Schwartz? Edition

Arthur Schwartz. Photo: @advocat4justice/Twitter
Arthur Schwartz. Photo: @advocat4justice/Twitter

Just in time for today’s court hearing on in a wealthy community group’s lawsuit to stop the city’s bus- and truck-only design for 14th Street, the lawyer for the rich West Village and Chelsea residents dumped a motion that made us rethink our initial complete and utter disgust.

Lawyer Arthur Schwartz’s self-serving lawsuit (he lives on 12th Street, after all) initially argued that the city’s busway plan is illegal because it did not undergo a rigorous environmental review — which is deeply ironic because the plan will boost transit, which is good for the environment. But late on Friday, Schwartz dumped a new motion arguing that the city’s own numbers show that local roadways in the Village and Chelsea will be deluged with cars exiled from 14th Street if the busway plan goes ahead.

We think Schwartz makes a good point; in fact, the way we see it, even one car is too many on those historic West Village and Chelsea streets. So today in court, we’ll ask car-owner Schwartz if he and his wealthy clients will be willing to give up their vehicles and their chauffeured taxi rides for a car-free Manhattan below 14th Street.

It should be a fun hearing. Streetsblog’s Dave Colon will be in the saddle. (Meanwhile, Julianne Cuba will be covering the driverless car farce at the Navy Yard.)

For now, here’s the news:

  • Also timed to today’s busway arguments, Riders Alliance calculated all the time that 14th Street bus riders have lost on their delayed commutes since July 1, when the busway would have begun if not for Schwartz’s suit. It added up to a year! (NYDN, NY Post, amNY, NY1)
  • Bike Snob confirmed what we already reported: Mayor de Blasio’s “Green Wave” plan for cycling safety is more like a small tidal swell. (Outside)
  • We appreciate that the newly revived Brooklyn Eagle interviewed incoming Transportation Alternatives’ Executive Director Danny Harris, but the piece still suffered from the newspaper’s persistent windshield perspective. Reporter Jeffrey Harrell mocked the idea that Canarsie residents should give up their cars because “a commute into Manhattan by bike is not feasible for most people,” but failed to remember that roughly 4 percent of Canarsie commuters drive to Manhattan as it is. Open your mind, Brooklyn Eagle, to the fact that most New Yorkers don’t “need” their cars as much as the city’s auto-media complex believes they do.
  • It’s really hard to believe that debris is still falling from elevated trains in Queens. (NYDN)
  • Was the MTA really considering naming the new fare collection “pretzel”? The Wall Street Journal’s Paul Berger has the scoop.