Tuesday’s Headlines: Sharpen Your Pencils Edition

The sudden return of seasonal weather is always accompanied by the sound of the pencil sharpener in the Streetsblog newsroom and old-timey reminders from our old man editor that pens clog up on your notebooks once the weather gets below 40. “I don’t want to hear that you couldn’t take notes,” he bellows (he obviously is too old to know what Otter is).

So we share that leaden reminder with our fellow reporters before getting to the news digest from a very busy yesterday:

  • Our friends at amNY joined us in covering the DOT’s efforts in Grand Army Plaza, but repeated Gothamist’s flawed premise that the large traffic circle will someday be “car-free” (Our story was a bit more nuanced.) A car-free Grand Army Plaza is about as likely as Mayor Adams having a quiet evening at home.
  • Aaron Gordon’s long-awaited must-read Vice piece on the failure of “public feedback” in the age of Trump is finally out. The takeaway won’t surprise anyone whose been to even one community board meeting: “The community feedback process is an inconvenient annoyance that brings out the worst in people. It is also at the heart of why U.S. cities can’t build new housing or transportation. … The problem with community feedback is not the concept itself, but the way it is executed. We do it too often, for too many things, for too long, and in the wrong manner. We ask the wrong questions of the wrong people and use the answers in the wrong way.” Is there anything more depressing than such a massive breakdown of democracy … as it tries to do democracy?
  • Like Streetsblog, Gothamist covered the expansion of the Bronx scooter pilot.
  • And like Streetsblog, Gothamist and amNY also covered the Council’s anti-e-bike battery hearing.
  • Hat tip to Hell Gate for jumping all over the arrest of lawyer Adam White for fixing a perp’s license plate (to make it readable!). This is a story you must read (we’re also on the case).
  • Jay Leno’s gross car obsession caught up with him in the worst way. (TMZ)
  • The Times did an explainer on lithium-ion batteries, which we did a long time ago.
  • Wired looked at what cities had great pandemic-era bike booms … and which ones let them go to waste. Paris and Tuscon are both mentioned, but New York isn’t even name-checked. Ouch!
  • Friend of Streetsblog (and of Queens) Peter Beadle is kicking off the “car-free Austin Street” movement with this petition: