Monday’s Headlines: Everyone Loves Summer Streets (So Why Can’t We Have it All the Time?) Edition
One thing everyone can agree on: The first of two installments of Summer Streets was a huge success on Saturday as the city barred cars from a corridor between the Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park.
Now the bad news: it was just six hours.
First, in fairness: Summer Streets is a great thing, and it requires a large effort by DOT (though why it requires so many cops is a question for the next audit of police overtime that future Comptroller Brad Lander should do). Tens of thousands of people enjoyed walking and biking along Park Avenue, Lafayette Street and Centre Street from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday.
If you need convincing, check out Clarence Eckerson’s definitive Streetfilms video here.
But after enjoying a car-free day in Manhattan, you could be forgiven for wondering why Summer Streets isn’t every Sunday, as it is in Bogota, Columbia — and why is it just one corridor instead of several? The answer is simple: If the city makes biking so pleasant and safe on a Saturday and a Sunday, all the people who biked will want to do that on Monday, too — meaning the city will have to make cycling way more safe, which it is not prepared to do.
Still, here are our favorite tweets demanding more Summer Streets than just 12 hours a year:
Far more people out moving on Park Ave S this morning for #summerstreets than you could possibly fit here in cars & SUVs. Why can’t it be like this all the time?? Or at least more than 2 mornings a year? @UnionSquareNY @CarlinaRivera pic.twitter.com/GfBQsVSEYg
— Car-Free Manhattan Majority (@12stTales) August 7, 2021
Thousands of people come out for zero-emission transportation/recreation solely because cars aren’t allowed to ruin *one* of our like 15 major north-south avenues — could this city survive making this permanent?? someone help me out pic.twitter.com/HNbBoqeNs0
— Travis R. Eby (@travis_robert) August 7, 2021
I LOVE NYC Summer Streets!
We should expand it to more areas (just Manhattan? Really?), more days (every weekend!) and more hours (7am to 1pm is embarrassing).
Here's to hoping that the DOT doubles down on this program. It's such a joy to experience! pic.twitter.com/j0DSd45QPy
— Samir (@lavingiasa) August 7, 2021
@NYC_DOT @NYCMayor Why is this only twice a year? You could transport SO SO SO many people on bikes and e-scooters through here all year round….. and still have space for pop up shops, out door dining, and events. https://t.co/X4XWWRLANX
— OurBikelaneNYC (@ourbikelanenyc) August 8, 2021
— Streetsblog New York (@StreetsblogNYC) August 7, 2021
In other news:
- Gov. Cuomo has lost his most loyal aide, Melissa DeRosa (NY Post, NY Times). Well, he still has his brother shilling for him (NY Post).
- We’re still upset about the death of Barry the Owl in Central Park last week. Our first-day story (which you may have
missed late on Friday afternoon) remains the only piece to seriously question how and why a worker killed the beloved barred owl (aka Strix varia). Seriously, other outlets refused to take up the issue — central to Streetsblog’s mission — that car and truck drivers should stop driving recklessly and killing animals, human or otherwise. That said, Gothamist did a nice tribute and a preview of today’s vigil.
- We expect this kind of pro-car crap from Tom Wrobleski of the Staten Island Advance (whose latest piece argues that Democrats are engaging in a war on cars when in fact, they are engaging in an epic battle to reduce car pollutants that are destroying life on this planet), but we don’t expect a similarly deplorable support for entitled car interests from the Times national desk. But that’s the only way to read Adam Nagourney’s piece that suggested that the city of San Francisco was taking the side of elite cyclists against disenfranchised museum operators when it closed a road inside Golden Gate Park to cars. The key graph comes as Nagourney suggests that the all-powerful bike lobby has more voice in the halls of government than the likes of the massively endowed de Young Museum: “The museums and their supporters may be outmatched in this fight — an old guard using old-school techniques as it confronts a coalition of well-organized, passionate advocates who have packed meetings of the board of supervisors and have stunned museum executives with barrages of attacks on social media.” Trust us — a family on bikes or delivery workers don’t have more power than the elites who run museums … and cities. Sometimes, they’re just wrong.
- Open streets advocates and Council Member Danny Dromm fought back and won when opponents briefly convinced the 115th Precinct to turn the 34th Avenue open street into a car-choked roadway on Sunday because of the annual Ecuadorian Day parade a few blocks away. Apparently, the precinct listened to a few anti-open street people and decided all by itself to turn the city’s “permanent” program into a police matter. Fortunately, Dromm made calls and got the whole thing sorted out. The open street remained open. (And, interestingly enough, the cops had a great time at the parade!)
- Wai Wah Chin of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance Greater New York tried to drag all the conservative bete noirs about liberals — their supposed anti-police, anti-working people elitism — into an op-ed opposing the city’s plan to make Seventh and Eighth avenues in Brooklyn safer and more transit-friendly for, wait for it, the very working people Chin claims he speaks for. Further undermining Chin’s argument is the photo that illustrated the article: it was filled with working people who will benefit from the plan. (Also, what’s with all the first-name references to DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman?) (NY Post)
- DOT has begun the final stretch of the needlessly delayed Queens Boulevard bike lane. (Queens Eagle)
- City Limits followed Streetsblog’s coverage of the Story Avenue bus lane project as part of a broader look at how the DOT has failed to serve Bronx bus users. In its reprehensibly badly reported version, News12 took the revanchist, pro-car view, basing an entire story on the view of one car owner resident and ignoring the needs of tens of thousands of bus riders.
- One more thing about Summer Streets: At the event, Paul Krikler of the NYC People’s Choice Awards presented activists Jim Burke (34th Avenue open street), Sophie Maerowitz (Avenue B open street) and CJ Wojtkowski (Queens) with awards for their work.
- Make sure you don’t unlock the wrong Citi Bike — scammers are swapping QR codes. (NY Post)
- The protected bike lane on Avenue C is taking shape (Choresh Wald via Twitter). Of course, people who would prefer to use public space for storing privately owned cars are upset. Hey, Pat Kiernan, are you aware of this pro-car story on your beloved NY1?
- Speaking of privilege, some people in Chelsea want the local heliport — which serves the wealthy — shut down. (Chelsea Community News)
- The weekend carnage:
- And, finally, please do not do this:
— Noah Goldberg (@Noah__Goldberg) August 7, 2021