Tuesday’s Headlines: The Public Advocate Starts Advocating Edition

A scene that can be seen every day: a New Yorker trying to avoid a huge pile of trash on the sidewalk. File photo: Gersh Kuntzman
A scene that can be seen every day: a New Yorker trying to avoid a huge pile of trash on the sidewalk. File photo: Gersh Kuntzman

It only took five months and 19 cyclists dead this year, but Public Advocate Jumaane Williams — who has long been inconsistent on street safety issues (as well as a horrifically reckless driver himself) — will ride over the Brooklyn Bridge on Tuesday with cycling advocates, his office said in a press release.

“The bike tour will conclude in front of 1 Centre Street with a press conference, where the group will discuss steps the city must take to help prevent further tragedy,” Williams’s office said in its press advisory — the first statement of any kind from the public advocate in a year when blood is literally running in the streets and everyone else but Williams has been advocating for the public.

Better late than never, Mr. Advocate. Welcome to the fight for livable streets!

OK, we’re off the soapbox for now. Here’s the news:

  • It was nice to see the Daily News putting pressure on the NYPD to throw the book at driver Umar Baig, who killed Jose Alzorriz on Coney Island Avenue on Sunday — and sad to realize that if history is any guide, the “book” will be a very thin sheath of traffic summonses.
  • Fare fight? Transportation Alternatives is planning to rally in front of Arthur Schwartz’s house on Wednesday, making the lawyer the focus of anger over West Village residents’ successful court victory against the city’s plans for a car-free busway on 14th Street. “[That] this small group of West Village residents and their lawyers have used every dirty trick in the book to delay and forestall needed improvements is shameful,” TA said. Schwartz sees it differently: “Picketing a lawyer’s house to force him to stop representing clients is something the Klan did in the 1960s,” he told Streetsblog. Should be a fun night: Wednesday, 6:30 p.m., Schwartz’s place on W. 12th Street. [UPDATE: Schwartz is holding a counter-rally on Tuesday morning in front of TransAlt’s Manhattan headquarters, blasting what he called the group’s “undemocratic bullying.” Should be a fun morning: Tuesday, 11:30 a.m., TA’s place on John Street.]
  • If you missed 54 days of work last year, you’d be fired. But you’re not an MTA employee. (NY Post)
  • The Post’s Jekyll and Hyde team of David Meyer and Rich Calder took on Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s waffling on the 14th Street busway — as did Streetsblog’s Dave Colon and gentleman scholar Vin Barone at amNY.
  • Gothamist did some deep sea diving into MTA finances and found there’s a lot of red ink.
  • So, a drunk firefighter was caught driving 100 miles per hour in a 50 miles per hour zone. What do you think will happen to him? Well, he got two summonses, but will he be fired? We’ll keep you posted. (NY Post)
  • We were so happy to see the New York Times take on the issue of New York’s garbage problem with a truly repulsive (in a good way!) interactive photo feature. It’s truly repulsive (in a bad way!) what we put up with in this city. But we would be remiss if we didn’t remind reporter Winnie Hu that ignored the angle, as Streetsblog reported in June, that the best way to solve New York’s five o’clock shadow  — i.e. garbage-covered sidewalks — is to take space away from car owners, who for some reason think the curbside space exists solely for the storage of their private property.
  • Speaking of the Times, the Paper of Record certainly knows who to call when it needs to mainline some uncut livable streets advocacy. The latest example? Deservedly well-liked Azi Paybarah called our editor to help frame the busway story for the Gray Lady’s readers.
  • And in case you missed it, a pedestrian was struck and critically injured in increasingly dangerous Chelsea over the weekend. (WABC7)