Thursday’s Headlines: ‘Get On With It, Already!’ Edition

The New York League of Conservation Voters and other groups rallied to support the 14th St. busway yesterday. Photo: New York League of Conservation Voters
The New York League of Conservation Voters and other groups rallied to support the 14th St. busway yesterday. Photo: New York League of Conservation Voters

What are all these judges waiting for? There are three pending lawsuits challenging the city’s right to make basic transit or safety improvements — one seeking to block the Morris Park Avenue “road diet,” another trying to block (and undo) the Central Park West protected bike lane, and a third blocking the city from implementing its car-free bus route along 14th Street in Manhattan.

All suits hinge on whether (hold onto your hat) state environmental law requires the city to do a full environmental review on such projects (never mind that all of them seek to reduce car use, increase cycling and improve transit — obviously positive environmental outcomes).

People, this isn’t so difficult! Earlier this week, a Queens judge took all of about 20 minutes to rule against opponents of a city bus lane on Fresh Pond Road. The judge had read both sides’ briefs and done a site visit before declaring that the city bus lane is “rational” and makes “perfect sense.” Case dismissed!

Activists were out in force on 14th Street on Wednesday, begging the judges in that case to get on with it. And, while we’re at it, it’s time for Bronx Judge Lucindo Suarez (who heard arguments in July!) and Manhattan Judge Lynn Kotler (who heard the CPW case during that same month) to get on with it! If a car-loving Queens judge can cut through the legal crap, so can you.

OK, off the soapbox. Meanwhile, here’s the news:

  • In case you missed it, the Post put four reporters on the big placard-abuse crime of the week: a single case of an MTA chaplain from Long Island (still, it’s a great read).
  • None of this year’s MacArthur Foundation “geniuses” are doing anything about unsafe streets or lousy transit. So in what way are they geniuses? (NYDN, NY Times) (That said, artist Mel Chin did do a nice global-warming piece in Times Square once, and landscape artist Walter Hood sometimes works in urban public space.)
  • Gothamist added some coverage (albeit a day late!) to the appeals-court ruling in favor of the city’s right-of-way law.
  • The MTA board rubber-stamped the $51-billion capital plan (WABC, NYDNamNY, NYP, Streetsblog, and others) — although Politico reports that strife looms.
  • In more MTA news, transit workers demanded action on the agency’s asbestos-contaminated Brooklyn bus depot (amNY), which was exposed thanks to an investigation by the Daily News. And the MTA’s cop-hiring spree will push its deficit over $1 billion in coming years, per the Tabloid of Record.
  • The Times did a nice feature on one of the last motorcycle-garage owners in Manhattan — if you’re into that kind of thing.
  • A cyclist was injured by a driver along a strip in Downtown Brooklyn that’s so dangerous that our editor calls it “the Sluice” for the way it resembles the route a cow takes through a slaughterhouse. (Brooklyn Paper). Post reporter David Meyer pointed out that the city has long given up hope of making the area safer.
  • City and State interviewed Port Authority honcho Rick Cotton, but didn’t ask him the crucial question — when will there be more secure bike parking on PANYNJ properties?  C&S also pondered the perilous future of the Gateway rail tunnel.
  • Staten Islanders must wait still more for an alternative to their unloved private bus service. (The City)
  • Is it possible that bike riding ruined the band Kraftwerk? (Frank Stallone via Twitter)
  • From the assignment desk: Riders Alliance will be protesting outside the governor’s office in Midtown at 11 a.m. today. And DOT will show off its Willoughby Street pilot “shared-street” project in Downtown Brooklyn at 11:30 a.m. today.
  • Finally, IKEA is coming to Queens — and cyclist/lawyer Peter Beadle had the best damn reaction.