Wednesday’s Headlines: Glass Half Full Edition

A stretch of protected bike lane that the city built in The Bronx in 2020.
A stretch of protected bike lane that the city built in The Bronx in 2020.
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It was the ultimate glass-half-empty announcement: On Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio touted that his administration had managed to build 28.6 miles of protected bike lanes this year, despite COVID-19 staffing issues and budget cuts.

That’s a good number, which the mayor touted on Twitter (albeit with a picture of something that was not, in fact, a protected bike lane and was not, in fact, made safer for cyclists this year).

But if they weren’t ignoring the announcement entirely, reporters and activists found ways to complain about it. Yes, the 28.6 miles were a city record, but, as amNY’s Mark Hallum pointed out, they came during a year of horrific loss: at least 24 cyclists (our count is 25) have died on city roadways so far this year.

But most people focused their ire on the mayor’s press team, whose gloating about the 28.6-mile figure was too much for some to bear, given that most if not all of the bike lane projects were planned long before the pandemic and even the 28.6-mile figure paled by comparison to what the world’s capitals did when confronted with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make their roads immeasurably safer:

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle printed the city’s press release, which is its own form of ignominy.

In other news:

  • The year-end roundup from amNY’s Mark Hallum was definitely a glass-is-half-full take, highlighting the increase in road deaths.
  • Hallum also covered the city’s announcement that it would start its camera enforcement of the Jay Street busway, with actual tickets going out staring in 60 days. That’s going to be a cash cow for the depleted city coffers, given what we see every day on the Downtown Brooklyn street, where car drivers are supposed to make their first right to exit.
  • The city has extended the open storefronts program through to Sept. 30 (amNY). Here’s hoping someone at City Hall allows building managers and apartment dwellers to put their garbage in parking spaces instead of on sidewalks, too.
  • We object to the subhead in this Times story about the rise in shootings this year. We don’t agree that “some other types of crime plummeted”; from where we sit, there were tens of thousands of incidents of road violence committed by drivers this year that are completely off the radar screen of the car culture. That must stop, as our old man editor noted in his Cycle of Rage column.
  • In case you needed a reminder, Gothamist offered this review of just how badly the NYPD handles substantiated complaints of misconduct — by promoting the officers in question!
  • And, finally, our December donation drive is winding down and we have to say we’ve been impressed by the generosity of so many (but not all!) of you. So if you’ve missed your chance to make a seasonal, tax-deductible donation to Streetsblog and Streetfilms, why not click here now to get that out of the way before the year comes to a close? All donors get a nice shout out in the next day’s headlines — just as we’ll do now: Thanks, John H.! Thanks, Jeff N.! Thanks, Christopher T.!


As Citi Bike Expands, So Should NYC’s Protected Bike Lanes

When Citi Bike launched last year, ridership numbers quickly surpassed levels seen in other cities. New York’s system had a number of advantages — more stations, more bikes, more places to go, and more potential customers, for starters. But there’s another reason so many people felt comfortable hopping on the blue bikes: For years before […]