Friday’s Headlines: A Little Case of Congestion Edition

Congestion pricing headlined the news yesterday, a trend Streetsblog helped set in motion on Wednesday with a Charles Komanoff-penned op-ed showing how Mayor de Blasio, or perhaps presumptive Mayor Adams, could get the stalled ball rolling through the mechanism of “home-rule tolling.”

The mayor frequently has caviled — to little effect — about the lateness congestion-pricing plan, which was supposed to begin in January but foundered on the shoals of COVID-19, Trump administration inaction and the apparent backsliding of Gov. Cuomo. Still, reporters yesterday insisted on painting Hizzoner as the hero of an effort to resuscitate the tottering program (even if he was playing catch-up to Adams, who raised the issue with the governor last week).

“De Blasio is hoping to pressure the MTA to move forward — and more quickly — with its congestion pricing program,” intoned a hopeful Gothamist. The mayor “reiterated his push” for the central business district tolling scheme according to amNY. The Daily News at least led with news, that de Blasio had picked a nominee for the congestion-pricing board, and tempered the development by noting that the program thus “inched forward.”

That left Streetsblog to identify the true torpor of the actions that the mayor was putting behind his symbolic pronouncements. “We need congestion pricing so urgently that … it can wait until next July, Mayor de Blasio said on Thursday morning,” we wrote, calling that timetable “lethargic.”


In other news:

  • The Times used the recent tasering of a Black rider to examine the disproportionate policing of people of color in the subway, even as the NYPD tried (badly) to do damage control by releasing body camera video.
  • “Gridlock Sam” Schwartz explained in a radio interview why we have the worst gridlock — and why the mayor’s policies are stoking traffic deaths. He also demanded (surprise!) that we move on congestion pricing. (WNYC)
  • Cuomo’s MTA transformation plan was off-track even before COVID, per critics. (TheCity)
  • More than 400 subway entrances — that’s 20 percent — could be under water if we have “extreme rain.” (RPA)
  • Crashes put two females in critical condition on New York’s deadly roads, a motorist in Queens and a 4-year-old passenger in Staten Island.
  • Here’s a post-mortem on de Blasio’s unlamented BQX, with pungent quotes from a certain former federal transit man. (QueensChron)
  • Well, we guess it’s now all in the open that the 34th Avenue “compromise” group leader Gloria Contreras never wanted to compromise.
  • The Community Board 3 hatefest against outdoor dining, which we covered on Wednesday, still resounds. (Curbed)
  • Hat tip to Kent Sprague for finding a novel example of placard abuse: a USPS sign (looks like it was cut from one of those plastic mail baskets) shoved on the dashboard of a Lexus. (Via Twitter)
  • In more Twitter news, a viral tweet apparently shamed the powers-that-be into providing the missing seating in Moynihan Station. Or maybe not. (Curbed)
  • The organization 21 in ’21 is feting the 30 women candidates it helped to win City Council primary bids — the likely new majority on the 51-seat body — at a downtown Manhattan boite on July 21. Safe-streets activists will see many familiar faces at the celebration: StreetsPAC endorsed 15 of the women.
  • Some friends of Streetsblog are promoting biking among observant Jews (and others with large families) in a new podcast. (Via Twitter)