Tuesday’s Headlines: Signs Say No Edition
Remember how we were musing last week about the spate of unauthorized “No Motor Vehicle” signs that had sprung up on so many protected bike lanes in town? And remember how we were sad because we didn’t get an answer back from one of the people who claimed responsibility? Well…
We’ve heard back! The person identifying himself as “Croustibat” on Reddit responded to some, if not all, of our questions.
First, “Croustibat” identified himself as a native of Paris who “exclusively uses bikes for transport in New York City.” He and his co-conspirators wanted to remain anonymous, he said, but also said they are “planning another round” of sign-posting soon on protected bike lanes.
Why do they do it? “Motorized vehicles have no place in bike lanes at all,” Croustibat said. “The vehicles are heavier, less nimble wider and faster than bikes. This becomes an even bigger issue on the narrower protected bike lanes such as Flushing Avenue or the bridges. … We need to show that these lanes are safe even for the most novice bikers.”
And he was certainly on point about one thing: “The city isn’t doing much to discourage” moped use in bike lanes.
Then he moved onto the harder question we asked about how we can make the city safer for the many delivery workers who use motorized vehicles — and often choose the protected bike lanes for their own safety. Croustibat said he does “empathize with delivery workers [whose] work is hard [and] the current infrastructure in New York City doesn’t support them.”
But he didn’t address our main point that roads must be made safe for sustainable transport first and foremost, concluding only that “as long as [delivery workers] are under the 20 mph, they are welcome to share [the road] with everyone else.”
Our answer: Yes, and…? Until this question is answered, we’re nowhere. (The DOT got back to us and said it has been removing the unauthorized signs “when spotted as part of the agency’s day-to-day operations.”)
In other news:
- The biggest story of the day was the massive belt-tightening ordered up by Mayor Adams, forcing agencies to permanently cut half of all currently vacant jobs and not undertake any new initiatives. We’ll be following what this could mean for the DOT. (NYDN)
- The City did a deep dive on electric bike fires, but we were most interested that the outlet finally started writing about possible solutions to the problem of battery fires, because a ban is simply a non-starter.
- Delivery workers are still pushing for a fair minimum wage, plus money for their high expenses. (The City)
- It initially looked like someone was speeding recklessly, by the looks of this crash (NYDN), but the NYPD now says the driver crashed because he was shot. More tomorrow.
- The Post didn’t add any more details to Gothamist’s Sunday story about a cycling advocate who was injured on his way to a Day of Remembrance event.
- The cost of widening the Jersey Turnpike has gone up again — and that’s not even including the cost of all the extra pollution, congestion and traffic. (NJ.com)
- Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Adriano Espaillat are trying to get more resiliency money for the MTA, reports amNY. FWIW, we had this story three weeks ago.
- Gothamist got into the “Gridlock” Sam business, with its Thanksgiving traffic report. The story didn’t mention bikes at all and barely mentioned transit. In other words, useless.
- And, finally, we mentioned in Monday’s headlines that CB7’s joint Parks and Transportation committee meeting would be a revanchist shitshow because board members seemed poised to forcefully reject a resolution passed in September by Manhattan Community Board 8 that demanded “fully protected crosstown bike lanes approximately every 10 blocks between 60th and 110th streets … on both sides of the park, and a two-way protected bikeway around Central Park.” Fortunately, in the end, the proposed resolution never made it to a vote once members of CB7 realized they were wrong in thinking their neighboring board was calling for protected bike lanes every 10 blocks inside the green space, rather than just on city streets.Nonetheless, some familiar bike antagonists spoke up throughout the meeting, throwing around words like “terrorizing,” but the majority of participants — including the boyfriend of Carling Mott, who was killed while biking on the Upper East Side over the summer — spoke in favor of crosstown bike paths and against the now-tossed CB7 resolution. In the end, as our own Julianne Cuba reported, Parks committee co-chairs Natasha Kazmi and Susan Schwartz agreed to withdraw the resolution and draft new, clarifying language about keeping pedestrians and cyclists safe in the park.But think about it: the boyfriend of a woman killed by a truck driver had to waste his time to prevent a community board from moving ahead with a resolution that originally even opposed the “addition of a two-way protected bikeway around Central Park.”