Monday’s Headlines: Day of Remembrance Edition

Members of Families for Safe Streets used 214 pairs of shoes on Sunday to mark the lives lost this year to traffic violence. Photo: Families for Safe Streets
Members of Families for Safe Streets used 214 pairs of shoes on Sunday to mark the lives lost this year to traffic violence. Photo: Families for Safe Streets

Once again, the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims came as the city finds itself in the midst of a blood tide of violence on our streets. The death toll so far this year — 214! — is far ahead of where it was at this time last year, despite (or perhaps because) of the fact that so many people are on lockdown during a pandemic that shows no sign of abating.

The city, of course, has failed — epically — to get closer to the zero in Vision Zero. But the days leading up to Sunday’s memorial event hosted by Families for Safe Streets at City Hall Park, New Yorkers got repeated reminders of why the carnage never ends. It is partly for lack of trying.

On Thursday, a truck driver making an illegal turn (one enabled by an unprotected “protected” bike lane) in Astoria killed delivery worker Alfredo Cabrera Liconia — at the very spot on Crescent Street where elected officials and activists had already urged the Department of Transportation to bolster protection for cyclists. Assembly Member-elect Zohran Mamdani went to the crash site the next day and posted a video of himself knocking over a flexipost with a child-like amount of effort.

“When we mourn Alfredo’s death, we must know … that he wasn’t simply killed by a reckless truck making a turn onto Crescent Street. He was killed by reckless set of policies created and implemented by the Department of Transportation and permitted by the mayor of New York City.” It’s powerful stuff:

And the Remembrance Day event took place just a few hours after the NYPD blamed the now-dead victim of a bike crash earlier this month in East New York, more evidence that the police department takes a windshield-eye view of crashes (the Daily News also covered). Juan Tiu-Caxaj is the 22nd cyclist to die so far this year. No wonder Comptroller candidate Brad Lander announced on Sunday that he wants to get the NYPD out of traffic enforcement (Streetsblog, Politico, NY Post, amNY). (Ironically, Lander and City Council candidate Tiffany Caban visited the site of Tiu-Caxaj’s death … and discovered cops writing up moped riders instead of truckers. He also linked to the GoFundMe page for the victim’s family that Mamdani set up.)

And in other road unsafety news: It even took nine 311 reports to get the city to tow away an abandoned car blocking one of its newest bike lanes last week! And an immigrant construction worker was crushed between two trucks in Brooklyn (NY Post).

We can’t solve this problem fast enough, people. In other news:

  • Speaking of cops, the New York Times investigated how often police who are charged with serious misconduct get punished. It’s not very often at all! Such a routine outcome “has left the Police Department facing a crisis of trust in its ability to discipline its own,” the paper said, in typical understated fashion.
  • Larry Penner says it’s time for businesses that benefit from public investment in transit to kick back some money for the good of their region. (Mass Transit)
  • Surprise, surprise: Entitled drivers and their enablers are arguing that we don’t need congestion pricing because driving patterns have changed due to COVID-19. (Newsday)
  • Manhattan Council Member Ben Kallos wants the city to create a universal app so yellow and green cabs will show up on the same screens as Uber and Lyft. Taxi advocates think that’s great … but not nearly enough. (NYDN)
  • The 20th Precinct still has possession of W. 82nd Street for no reason. (Patch)
  • We covered the demise of the Main Street busway on Friday. On Sunday, Gothamist and amNY got around to it, too.
  • In case you missed it, for some reason, the Daily News gave would-be COVID super-spreader (and Council Member) Joe Borelli a platform to not just thumb his nose at the governor, but basically make up stuff about the coronavirus.
  • Hat tip to David Zipper for finding this old windshield perspective comic in the New Yorker.
  • The DOT did a nice job on the Zion Triangle in Brownsville. (Bklyner)
  • For the record, something doesn’t smell right about this story of the really rich guy who claims kids stole his $100,000 Lamborghini. (NY Post)
  • And, finally, you can’t miss this video of a rat on the subway (trigger warning: it’s not gross!):