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Home Rule Rules Edition – Streetsblog New York City

From the dispatch office: The mayor hasn’t done much to keep the streets safe since he was sworn in, but he will be heading to Brooklyn’s Ditmas Park neighborhood this morning to demand that lawmakers of Albany give the city control of its automated speeding, red-light monitoring systems and bus lanes, as well as the ability to set its own speed limits.

It’s a key part of the safe streets movement’s agenda — hats off to Transportation Alternatives — but it all leaves us feeling a bit disappointed. After all, there are loads of things the mayor can do to make the roads safer, our communities more livable, and improve bus service without having to worry about what Albany does or doesn’t do. So, fair warning, we’ll ask the presser about it. And we’ll also try to ask about our scoop this week on the NYPD’s failure to really crack down on reckless drivers.

That said, Hizzoner picked a good spot to ask for house rule on speed cameras because last month a pedestrian was run over and killed by a speeding driver just five blocks away. The member of the council of the region is delighted:

“Traffic violence is a silent killer in our neighborhoods, and we need to work to address it as soon as possible,” Council Member Rita Joseph said. “Albany must give New York local control to end road violence or more lives will be needlessly lost. I thank Mayor Adams for using his platform to speak boldly and decisively on this issue. I fully support his efforts to try to get Albany to pass local traffic enforcement.It doesn’t make sense for Buffalo politicians to decide on speed limits in Brooklyn.

In other news from a busy daytime:

  • In a major change, yellow cab drivers will now be able to register with Uber, which some experts say will help them get more rides, but some feared it could lead to lower wages. (NY Post, amNY and NY Times following the Wall Street Journal; Gothamist wisely did a second-day take.)
  • Councilman Bob Holden of Queens continues to make progress towards the livable streets movement, thanks to a resolution he introduced yesterday calling on Albany to pass legislation that would punish drivers who incorrectly register their cars off the State. (NYC Council)
  • In a related, albeit contrary, move, council member Nantasha Williams, also from Queens, introduced a bill that would allow the DOT to issue parking signs for pregnant women (and which would expire within 30 days of the due date). What could go wrong with the show of tens of thousands After placards? (NYC Council)
  • A man shot and killed another man after a simple clash. (NYDN)
  • Speaking of insane road rage, Council member Justin Brannan tweeted some details about a fight over a parking space, which the Daily News eventually covered:
  • Well, at least one reckless driver — in this case, the donut-making dick who allegedly ran over a man in Lower Manhattan — has had his license temporarily suspended. (NYDN, New York Post)
  • There weren’t many details, but the Post is confident Governor Hochul’s Interborough Express could somehow provide service to LaGuardia Airport. That’s a bit of old news because, as reported by Streetsblog, the Port Authority has previously said it’s considering several routes, including some from the Roosevelt-74th Street station in Jackson Heights. At amNY, Kevin Duggan’s coverage was a little brighter.
  • Sometimes you wish the DOT would defend itself better against community boards that allow cars and parking-obsessed pols. When residents of Maspeth complained at a community board meeting that some “parking spots” would be lost to accommodate the next phase of Citi Bike’s expansion, it would have been nice to hear a DOT spokesperson say, “Citi Bike has just come off a year with record ridership, and the system, which is a vital part of the transit system, has been a lifeline during Covid and will help us reduce car use, which will improve the quality of life and help ward off the adverse effects of climate change. And, yes, we’re talking to you, council member Holden. But they never do that! (Long Island City Post Office)
  • Blue gold! Brace for land rape to come for battery minerals like cobalt and lithium as President Biden prepares to evoke a national emergency (The Intercept)
  • The Post is always keen to point out how New York is dying. First, he reported (again!) on our epic population loss during Covid, then, in a follow-up, blamed the crime.
  • If you want to hang out with some nice people, our friends at Open Plans will be at Saturday’s “Spring Celebration” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on W. 103rd Street in Manhattan, which everyone (except a few NIMBY block associations) wants to be transformed into an open street from park to park. Make your opinion known to the DOT while enjoying live music and dance performances (you to know Jody Sperling will be there!).
  • But if you’re in Brooklyn on Saturday and Sunday, stop by Pacific Street for dozens of front porch sales in support of Ukraine. (Lincoln Restler Council Member)
  • And, finally, we’re not going to suggest that President Biden has had more than 14 flawless months in office, but criticizing him for riding a bike sounds a bit like toxic masculinity, especially coming from the son of a president known for playing a lot golf.

Teresa R. Cabrera

The author Teresa R. Cabrera