Monday’s Headlines: Appreciating David Byrne More Edition

In case you missed it last week, cyclist and musician David Byrne was on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” to hype his Broadway musical, “American Utopia.” Of course, he rode onto Fallon’s stage on a bike — that’s Byrne’s thing — but it was refreshing to hear him speak so normally about using a bike as his “main mode of transportation.” And when Fallon appeared confused about why anyone would do that, Byrne’s tone was just perfect, reminding us anew that it’s not crazy to want to bicycle in an American city — in fact, it’s crazy that the entire system has been designed to make it easier to drive a car. The problem is that we’ve all been gaslighted by auto makers and anti-transit politicians to see car-choked streets as “normal.”

In any event, the segment is worth watching — and is embedded below today’s headlines:

  • Kudos to Gridlock Sam for reminding drivers: do us all a favor and don’t drive this week. (NYDN)
  • Firefighters union chief Gerald Fitzgerald is ranting that Mayor de Blasio’s very solid pedestrian safety plan in Rockefeller Center will lead to deaths as FDNY trucks will get caught in traffic “river to river.” OK, Gerry, if you really believe that, how about working with us towards a Midtown car ban during the holidays? (NY Post)
  • Meanwhile, the Times’s coverage of Mayor de Blasio’s plan for more pedestrian space in the area continued the Paper of Record’s clueless pro-car bias when it comes to all streetscape issues, with reporters Winnie Hu and Andrea Salcedo calling the plan a “groundbreaking step of removing or severely limiting cars on several streets, including an iconic stretch of Fifth Avenue.” Groundbreaking? Limiting cars is literally done in every city on Earth — and, reminder, Fifth Avenue was iconic long before cars ruined it. Why is the Times constantly gaslighting us?
  • From the assignment desk: Someone at the Post left out about 1,000 more words on this story about people spotting FedEx delivery robots in Lower Manhattan. It’s hard to know if this delivery Wall-E is real or not, even. Can’t wait to see the second-day piece. (NY Post)
  • Is Vision Zero dying? City Lab takes a deep dive.
  • Two dozen NY Waterways ferries were taken out of service over the weekend for safety issues. Monday’s commute is going to make passengers want to jump in the river. (NY Post)
  • Council Member Brad Lander’s “Reckless Driver Accountability Act” has inspired a copycat bill in Washington, D.C. Too bad it can’t inspire Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Mayor de Blasio to just pass the damned thing. (Curbed)
  • Free parking isn’t free — nor should it be, as this Crain’s op-ed argues. And Ben Kabak also tossed in a reported piece about how it’s time to finally abolish free parking in New York City. (Curbed)
  • Kyle Smith may disagree, but ending road violence is a worthy fight. Indeed, we live in a nation where our lives are saved sometimes by mere luck, as this NBC crash video shows.
  • More overpolicing, this time in Queens, as cops handcuff a homeless woman. (NY Post)
  • A New Jersey woman who killed another woman because she was texting while driving became the first person found guilty of the crime under a 2012 law. Seven years to collar a distracted driver on his or her phone? It could take seven minutes to find one. The NY Times shows just how rare these kinds of prosecutions are.
  • The NYPD’s ongoing crackdown on completely non-violent, non-threatening, much-loved criminals in the subway reached its moment of peak idiocy as the Post-It Note guy is busted. (Gothamist)
  • Friend of Streetsblog Charles Komanoff provides insight into why no one should get too carried away about Mike Bloomberg’s qualifications as a climate change warrior. (Inside Climate News)
  • There is WAY more to this story about the Trump-sticker-covered car in Carroll Gardens that just “burst into flames.” First of all, parked cars don’t just self-immolate, do they? (NYDN)
  • In case you missed it, the president of the Old Astoria Neighborhood Association had a reasonable, albeit a bit unrealistic, op-ed about bike lanes in the Queens Daily Eagle.
  • And, finally, we mostly focus our coverage on humans who are hit by reckless drivers, but last week, a police horse was injured by a distracted driver near Central Park. The NY Post played it for laughs, but that horse could have been a kid.