Wednesday’s Headlines: Subway and Scooter Hell Edition

Photo: Revel
Photo: Revel

Two big stories dominated the news yesterday:

  • Scooter-share service Revel shut down operations in the city after at least two recent crash deaths.
  • The Republican Senate gave a big “F-U” to cities, by excluding any money for transit in the new COVID relief bill, the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability protection and Schools Act.

Revel’s move occasioned much handwringing by Mayor de Blasio about the brash service’s lack of safety precautions, and most outlets simply reported the story straight (NYDN, NYP, Gothamist). But Streetsblog and at least one Twitter observer pointed out that car drivers regularly kill and injure many more people than die or are hurt in scooter mishaps. (The Daily News editorial board went full bore the opposite way.)

Gov. Cuomo’s threat to raise transit fares and tolls to cover the MTA’s budget shortfall, meanwhile, got pride of place in the local stories about the HEALS Act (NYP, amNY). It also raised the ire of transit activists, such as Riders Alliance, which argued that Cuomo should tax the rich or create other revenue streams, such as a commuter tax, before dunning strapped workers.

In other news:

  • AOC to GOP: Don’t put LGA AirTrain in COVID relief bill. (NYDN)
  • Gothamist used the new ProPublica database to uncover the seven city cops with the most substantiated complaints per the Civilian Complaint Review Board (at least six each!): “All enjoyed high-ranking positions as of last month, according to the dataset. All are white men. Some have been the subject of extensive news coverage.” 
  • In new NYPD outrages, plain-clothes cops forced a protester in Manhattan federal-style into an unmarked van. SRG cops with bikes assisted. The NYPD said the woman it seized was wanted for damaging police cameras near City Hall (Twitter, NY1).
  • Fresh off of columns extolling the post-car urban future, the New York Times has reverted to car-loving form, pushing family road trips in the Business section.
  • A federal judge ruled that New York State must immediately pay Uber and Lyft drivers unemployment benefits, contra the directive of the governor (Gothamist).
  • Outdoor dining could become a permanent feature of New York City, as architects come up with innovative modular “kits” to build out restaurants (The Architect’s Newspaper).
  • Professional runner Mary Cain gave New Yorkers the skinny on the best places for pedestrians to rock out while avoiding cars (Gothamist).
  • Finally, the mayor unveiled a plan to help minority- and women-owned businesses hurt by the pandemic (NYDN, amNY). Of course, Shabazz Stuart of Oonee schooled Hizzoner on just this problem last week in Streetsblog.