Friday’s Headlines: ‘Home Rule’ Rocks Edition
How many state legislators does it take to change a light bulb — er, a speed limit?
Way too many, according to Transportation Alternatives, which argues in a new report that the number should be zero. The report, “‘Home Rule’ Means Safe Streets: The Deadly Impact of Albany’s Control Over New York City Streets” marshals persuasive evidence that New Yorkers are dying in traffic violence because of outdated provisions that allow Albany to restrict the city’s use of crucial street-safety tools.
Indeed (as we have reported many times in these pages), the Legislature won’t let the city set its own speed limits or determine the number, location, and operating hours of speed and red-light-enforcement cameras. It also restricts the number of red-light enforcement cameras and the use of enforcement cameras in bus lanes. Meanwhile, according to TransAlt:
- Even as speeding figures in about 80 percent of fatal car crashes, almost 40 percent of the fatalities in non-highway city crashes in 2020 were people who died in speed-safety-camera zones during hours when Albany said the devices may not operate.
- Albany allows us to deploy red-light cameras at a paltry 150 of our 13,250 signalized intersections, so 99 percent remain unprotected — even as red-light violations have skyrocketed.
- Bus-lane-enforcement cameras catch 115 malefactor motorists blocking our beleaguered buses for every one nabbed by the cops — but Albany still dictates many aspects of such cameras’ use.
TransAlt wants immediate home rule and for the Legislature to pass the entire eight-bill Crash Victims Bill of Rights and Safety Act, so that New Yorkers can act quickly to beat back the epidemic of traffic violence that made 2021 the deadliest year since the start of Vision Zero. To which we say, “hear, hear!” The Post also covered.
In other news yesterday:
- How many subway sleepers went to shelters the first week of Mayor Adams’s crackdown? A total of 22. (NYDN)
- The crackdown on subway crime yielded 143 arrests so far. (Brooklyn Eagle)
- The MTA’s chief, for his part, wants the power to ban repeat offenders. (NYDN, amNY)
- A police chase led to a crash that damaged the fronts of two homes in Staten Island. (SILive, plus the Post, following Streetsblog)
- Brooklyn Paper goes hard on the Grand Street bike-lane story. So did we.
- Gothamist got in on the LaGuardia transit options news.
- Bed-Stuy is aghast at the misogynistic art on this van parked by a school. (Patch)
- City Limits reported that ticketing of street vendors has climbed back to pre-pandemic heights (even though enforcement was handed to the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection) on the same day that our Julianne Cuba witnessed a cop ticketing a vendor in the subway at Jackson Heights. The harassment irked many, including State Sen. Jessica Ramos, who tweeted:
Explain to me how issuing this woman a ticket is a better option than licensing her business, regulating it, and giving her an opportunity to continue her honest work free from harassment. #PermitsNotTickets @VendorPower https://t.co/P6WPpwFy7y
— Jessica Ramos (@jessicaramos) March 3, 2022
- Finally, RiseNY dedicated one of its new Times Square exhibits to the 1950s kitchen of Ralph Kramden, sit-com TV’s most famous city bus driver. (Via Twitter)
— Roger Clark (@RogerClark41) March 3, 2022