Tuesday’s Headlines: Streetsblog Gets Action Edition

The New York Times at its best.
The New York Times at its best.
It's our December donation drive. Your gift helps us do these kinds of important stories. So please click here.
Our December donation drive kicks off officially today. Your gift helps us do important stories. So please click here.

You’re welcome, America.

Our years of ceaseless coverage of the movement for livable streets continue to pay dividends, most recently with Monday’s editorial in the New York Times, which, at times, sounded like it was dictated by our publisher and old man editor (albeit through a crackly cellphone connection).

In a clarion call broadside, the Times argued (as we have been) that the pandemic presents New York City with a chance for a do-over to, to paraphrase Joe Biden, build New York back better. Here were the highlights of the stirring call to arms:

  • New York City “roadways can do more than move cars and trucks.” (We pushed that button back in May.)
  • “One solid step would be making expansive outdoor dining a permanent fixture of New York life. But there are more urgent tasks — such as protecting pedestrians and cyclists from vehicles.” (That’s every day for us.)
  • “The city can reinvest in its aging subway system, harden critical regional infrastructure and expand its bus network to areas of the city that are less accessible, like eastern Queens.” (You mean like all the busways we’ve been championing?)
  • “How about making New York’s notorious trash problem part of the solution? Instead of letting those stinky piles of refuse pile up at the curb, why not put the city’s trash into critter-proof enclosures.” (Box checked.)

The piece did have one sour note — and it’s the same discordant sound we keep hearing from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“We have smog in peoples’ backyards,” Ocasio-Cortez told the paper. “If you drive 40 minutes upstate, it’s almost shocking what fresh air feels like.” (Drive? Did she say, “Drive“? Reminder: if you drive anywhere, you are contributing to something not shocking at all: air pollution. AOC, call us. We still need to talk.)

In the Metro section, the Times also devoted substantial space to our other pet issue of 2020: advocating for better treatment of New York’s heroic delivery workers. The Times story didn’t only look at how little these workers earn and the danger they face on the city’s mean streets, but the Paper of Record hinted at the coming battle to come, as Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and others gear up to fight efforts in Albany to give these “independent contractors” status as real employees instead of gig workers with limited benefits.

So, all in all, good coverage from the Gray Lady.

In other news:

  • As expected, Mayor de Blasio released his plan for keeping crowds in Rockefeller Center at bay during the holiday season. (NYDN)
  • The Post followed the Daily News’s story yesterday about how congestion pricing may be delayed until 2023.
  • There was more driver-on-driver violence in Brooklyn (NYDN), and another reckless driver killed his own passenger in a high-speed crash (NYDN, NY Post).
  • Council Member Bob Holden — hardly a street safety advocate — went off on the Department of Transportation at a Council hearing on Monday, complaining that the agency isn’t doing enough to prevent cops from illegally parking everywhere around station houses. The law and order Holden admitted of the cops, “They’re not going to enforce their own laws.” (amNY)
  • A drunk FDNY firefighter killed a woman with his car on Long Island, authorities say. (NYDN)
  • You’ll notice the yellow “donation” bug on the top right of this page — so it’s officially our December donation drive. We’d like to thank all of our readers who got the ball rolling yesterday — Thanks, David! Thanks, Juan! Thanks, Dad! Thanks, Donny! Thanks, Christopher! — and hope more benefactors will emerge.
  • And finally, David Prowse, the actor who played the Green Cross Code Man, a superhero who promoted road safety in England, has died. Oh, he also portrayed Darth Vader. (NY Times)