There’s an old saying in the news business that “news” is anything that an editor is interested in.
Well, back in August 2020, our editor was out covering Tropical Storm Isaias (remember him?) and that the strong winds had knocked down a very large sign at the intersection of Prospect Park West and Prospect Park Southwest.
Here’s what that looked like:
It’s a critical sign for drivers at a dangerous intersection that involves multiple light timings, a traffic circle, weird crosswalks and roads with similar names. Drivers don’t often know where they’re going even in the best case, but since the sign fell, the road has become more treacherous, as drivers sometimes changes lanes abruptly when they realize where they are (or should be).
For years, our editor has wondered quietly to himself why the Department of Transportation has had such a difficult time replacing the sign (whose collapse he been reported to 311).
The other day — more than 27 months after the storm — we realized that the sign had still not been replaced, despite two generations of Streetsblog interns coming and going (and not getting to the bottom of the story). So, our editor sicced new reporter Kevin Duggan the story.
Double Duty Duggan reached out to DOT on Tuesday, Nov. 22 and again on Monday, Nov. 28. After several back and forths, DOT spokesperson Scott Gastel told us on Tuesday, Nov. 29 that the agency had recently inspected the location and had indeed confirmed that a new sign was needed.
After several more emails, Gastel said that a sign would be installed later that week. It was. Not the original grand sign, of course, but a smaller green sign that was installed on Friday, Dec. 2 (photo, right).
Gastel didn’t answer why it took nearly 28 months to replace a sign at a busy roundabout. But it was replaced, albeit after we started asking about it. So, you’re welcome, New York, we suppose.
And speaking of saying thanks, we have to take a second to honor yesterday’s contributors to our December donation drive, our annual pixelthon to drum up support for the great work we do. Thanks, Hsi-Pei! Thanks, Jehiah! Thanks, Christopher! Thanks, Katherine!
In other news:
- What’s the deal with all the terrible people in Mayor Adams’s personal circle? (NY Times)
- And the inner circle has some quiet powerbrokers we don’t know enough about either. (City and State)
- A pick-up truck driver ran over a woman in Lower Manhattan yesterday. The Daily News covered it (no one else did, alas), but failed to point out that the truck had a temporary Pennsylvania paper plate on the back — and it appeared to our eyes like a fake.
- Speaking of violent traffic crime, the NYPD put out its monthly crime numbers for the mainstream press (which Gothamist covered), but we would be remiss if we didn’t point out, as we often do, that the press releases never seem to mention the other epidemic: road violence. So while murders are down more than 10 percent and shootings are down 16 percent this year, injuries to pedestrians are up 16.5 percent this year, and injuries to cyclists are up almost 3 percent, according to numbers that the NYPD did not put in its press release yesterday. The blood is being shed worst in Queens, where pedestrian injuries are up 25 percent this year. Perhaps Council Member Vicki Paladino has something to say about that?
- The Hell Gate got a second day out of Gothamist’s recent discovery of pay toilets — run by a private vendor named Uncle John — at the Manhattan foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. The better question: Why can’t New York City have real public toilets at its major attractions. Right now, the Brooklyn Bridge looks like a hodgepodge (but a great place to get counterfeit Mets hat or a dollar bottle of water when you really need it).
- MTA CEO Janno Lieber recently told us that he would be laser focused on getting new revenue for his cash-strapped agency. But he took a day off from that to push for expanding a state law that allows for the banning of some criminals from MTA trains and buses. (NY Post)
- Getting Lieber back on topic, Senate and Assembly lawmakers called on Gov. Hochul to find more money for the MTA, the Post reported … before allowing to Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island) to grandstand that the MTA already gets too much money (and ignore that plummeting post-pandemic ridership has seriously cut into the MTA’s revenue).
- Continuing on the MTA topics, could a new turnstile design cut down on fare evasion? (NY Post)
- So much for broadband for all — the Adams administration nixed its predecessor’s initiative. (Gothamist)
- Common ground between the Village Sun and Streetsblog? Like the restaurant-shed-hating local paper, we also support another hearing on open restaurants before the Council makes a final decision. We even published an op-ed by Council Member Carlina Rivera saying just that (in case you missed it).
- Our old man editor recently posted one of his “criminal mischief” videos about abandoned cars in Queens. The Department of Sanitation couldn’t do anything in that case (the cars were valued at above $1,250), but the agency did remove some derelict vehicles in Upper Manhattan. Streetsblog gets action? (Sanitation Department via Twitter)
- If you needed any more evidence that the Daily News is on a respirator, consider this: Much-respected Editorial Page Editor Josh Greenman just jumped ship to join Vital City. That’s no knock on Vital City — it’s a great publication with an interesting take. But with one stroke of a pen, Greenman went from a newspaper with tens of thousands of daily readers and 816,900 followers on Twitter to a website and journal with 698 Twitter followers (as of Monday afternoon). Please follow Vital City here and increase the volume of Greenman’s megaphone.
- Who needs the Brooklyn Bridge when we’ve got the Willis Avenue Bridge!
? ? A new top ? bridge! @NYC_DOT installed the Bronx’ 1st bike counter at the BX end of the Willis Ave Bridge at end of summer! ?
— Bike New York (@bikenewyork) December 5, 2022