Wednesday’s Headlines: Aaron Gordon for the Win Edition

We were all so pleased to read Aaron Gordon’s latest piece in Jalopnik, which dissected the failure of Vision Zero from multiple angles including, but not limited to, the city’s “paint and prayer” bike lanes, community boards, the NYPD, local prosecutors, the absence of bike parking, and a safety strategy that seems only to kick in after a cyclist has been killed.

“By targeting safety, and only safety, it … dis-incentivize people from riding bikes more regularly,” Gordon writes. “And by targeting deaths, and only deaths, Vision Zero has nothing to say about all the near misses, close calls, and stressful interactions with multi-ton vehicles looming mere inches away from them, which is all according to plan as far as DOT is concerned.”

Gordon’s piece follows similar outrage in other media as cyclist deaths soared to 19 (so far!) in a year soaked in blood. The only thing missing from Gordon’s piece was a stinging indictment of the mayor’s complete disregard for reducing the number of cars in the city — an indictment handed up last month by a grand jury named Dave Colon.

But why quibble? Gordon’s piece sets the bar. Perhaps the mayor could vault it — if he was in town and not on the campaign trail (he’s in Iowa in the morning and New Hampshire at night on Wednesday).

And now, yesterday’s news:

  • In a Day Two story, Denis Slattery and Guse at the Newsuh found Republicans who accuse Gov. Cuomo of a money-grab over the state’s new license plates (the Post obviously had that angle, too). Meanwhile, Streetsblog’s Gersh Kuntzman played with Photoshop to create what he considers realistic license plate images.
  • The City’s Yoav Gonen has the scoop on a City Council bill that would require the cops to track the race and ethnicity of drivers they pull over — which could really put a crimp on the NYPD’s automotive version of “stop and frisk.”
  • The City also reported on a renewal of dockless bikes in the Rockaways.
  • Friend of Streetsblog Clarence Eckerson Jr.’s latest Streetfilm is about Transportation Alternatives’ effort to make all of University Place — instead of just one block (once the busway starts, that is) — a “shared street.” We, of course, favor full pedestrianization of University Place, plus about 1,326 other New York City roadways, but you gotta start somewhere.
  • Benjamin Kabak of Second Avenue Sagas opines in Curbed that the fight over 14th Street busway could determine the future of city transit, citing a Streetsblog article by Noah Kazis.
  • The Post’s David Meyer and Alex Taylor beat a favorite drum at the Tabloid of Record, caviling about the thievery of MTA employees. This time, it’s toilet paper and sundries.
  • Sometimes you get sick of the New York Times’s backbending on road safety. The Paper of Record looked into how the criminal justice system completely absolves drivers who kill, but ended up absolving the powers that be — even quoting the notorious lawyer who defended the bus driver who killed Dan Hanegby! (The story prompted an epic Twitter thread by Streetsblog.)
  • Gov. Cuomo signed the bill banning floating billboards (NY Post), though Gothamist has really been the Website of Record on the floating billboard story.
  • CBS2 covered Tuesday’s court hearing on the Central Park West condo board’s lawsuit against a bike lane … without covering the hearing at all. (Need a primer on the case? We got you covered.)
  • The MTA says buses on 14th Street have gotten faster, albeit only incrementally so. Here’s hoping the DOT doesn’t abandon its quest for a car-free busway, as Arthur Schwartz hopes. (NYDN)
  • The city’s library systems are pitching in to help Citi Bike’s outreach to low-income New Yorkers — who can get a month of free rides. (QNS)
  • CNBC tests different methods of getting to the airport and finds that a helicopter trip is only 14 minutes faster than transit, but $213.07 more costly. Time is money, but why would you spend $15.21 a minute to shave a quarter-hour?
  • NBC4 reports that a rider fell from a New Jersey Transit train when the wrong door opened. Yikes!
  • And, finally, some sad personal news. (NYDN)


Tonight: Tell Mayor de Blasio to Step Up for Vision Zero

Mass Bike Ride #Sept15 to Protest Spike in Cyclist Deaths, Hit-and-Runs #RideTogether — TransAlt (@transalt) September 14, 2016 With New York City losing ground in the effort to eliminate traffic deaths, officials will join street safety advocates and victims of traffic violence tonight for Transportation Alternatives’ mass bike ride on Fifth Avenue. The event is […]

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 […]

Adding Curb Space for Cars vs. Space for Bikes — DOT’s Double Standard

Thanks @NYC_DOT for removing the loading zone on our block to gain two parking spaces. Guess what happens now? — Brooklyn Spoke (@BrooklynSpoke) April 15, 2016 Whenever curb space is reallocated for bike parking in New York City, the process is intensive. Getting NYC DOT to install a bike corral usually involves lots of signature gathering, and […]

Good News: New York City Cyclists Have All But Achieved Vision Zero

Yesterday the 104th Precinct, in Queens, tweeted a photo of officers giving a ticket to a cyclist. The precinct deleted the tweet when it triggered blowback from street safety advocates, but you can see it at the end of this post. “Bicyclists are no exception to Vision Zero,” it read. “Ride safe!” If NYPD’s goal is encouraging cyclists […]

To Make NYC Streets Safer, Focus on the Cause of 98 Percent of Harm

On Wednesday, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer spoke in support of legislation that would create a “bicycle safety task force.” The language of the bill, introduced by Council Member Rosie Mendez at Brewer’s request, says the task force would make recommendations for improving bike infrastructure. But in testimony to the council transportation committee, Brewer suggested the panel would […]