Almost 200 people came to the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch (many of them by bike) on Tuesday night to hear advocates, experts, and political leaders strut their stuff on the livable streets movement, specifically the needs of families, and how much more the city can improve. We sent Julianne Cuba and she gave us the highlights:
greatest craziest moment was when Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso anointed Streetsblog Editor Gersh Kuntzman as a folk hero for his ongoing campaign of “criminal mischief” against scofflaw motorists who illegally obscure or deface their license plates. To Reynoso, our old man editor is not only a one-man “crime” spree, but also a spotlight on a substantial problem.
Reynoso argued that the NYPD could crackdown on reckless drivers if someone (looking at you, Mayor Adams) told them to do so.
“It’s political will. If they want to do it they can send the NYPD out to do enforcement. [Instead] we got Gersh running around. The cops should be the ones. … Gersh shouldn’t be out there fixing license plates. We have an issue and it’s a politically messy thing to do,” he said to a round of applause. “If you had a leader in place that wanted to ask the NYPD to actually do the enforcement it will be done. Mayor Adams needs to tell NYPD.”
It almost seemed like Reynoso had seen one of Kuntzman’s criminal mischief posts from his long bike ride to Harlem on Tuesday, like this one, where he caught an FDNY scofflaw:
This afternoon, I caught an @FDNY firefighter with a defaced plate and a LOOONG record of camera tickets that suddenly stopped last year — presumably when he figured out the trick of scratching out the #s. Don't worry — he'll how get all the tix he deserves! CRIMINAL MISCHIEF! pic.twitter.com/HmuvKKtUvb
— Gersh Kuntzman (@GershKuntzman) January 17, 2023
Reynoso also called on all cyclists to apply to their local community boards to change that political capital and political will.
Influence and political capital is not equal across #Brooklyn. @BKBPReynoso Neighborhoods that might not like a #BikeNYC #deliverista & this get treated like policy. @TogetherRyan impressed this is the same office that had M Markowitz only a decade ago. #FamiliesBikeBrooklyn
— Hilda (she/her) (@HildaBikes) January 18, 2023
Other highlights? Park Slope Council Member Shahana Hanif, whose district includes the spot where 37-year-old Sarah Schick was killed last week, told the crowd that she is focused on getting the Parks Department and Prospect Park Alliance to end the ban on e-bikes — which are legal to ride in New York City — in the green space. Hanif said the ban only hurts riders, including delivery workers on whom the elites of Park Slope rely.
“It is only right that we come up with a thoughtful policy that really addresses these needs,” she said. “I’m going to continue to push to make sure e-bikes are not banned from Prospect Park, but that we utilizing a policy that is inclusive of all riders in the park.”
And as for DOT’s Chief of Staff Ryan Lynch, well, he didn’t say much. What was it that Reynoso said about political will again?
Lynch mentioned a new task force at City Hall focused on all types of e-mobility devices (which Dave Colon covered here). But he was clear that the city is nowhere near announcing any new policies.
“We’re working together to frame the regulatory framework that’s never really been done before,” said Lynch. “We have nothing to announce tonight, but this is something that the city is working on actively, to find a way ensure that we can all use the roads and infrastructure in a safe way.”
In the end, it was a great pep rally for the movement. And we all know who to thank at the end of the day: Kathy Park Price, the Brooklyn organizer for Transportation Alternatives, as Jackson Chabot pointed out:
— Jackson Chabot (@chabot_jackson) January 18, 2023
In other news that didn’t involve our editor:
- First, a save the date! Our parent company, Open Plans, will host its inaugural Public Space Awards to honor the people and places that define and enliven New York City on Thursday, March 2. For now, just tell Siri to put the night aside. There’ll be more info soon.
Nolan Hicks got a second day of his shaming of the MTA for alleged waste. (NY Post)
- It’s unclear if Sen. Chuck Schumer likes Gov. Hochul’s Penn Station plan or wants her to do better. (Crain’s).
- Wow, here’s some funky ass graffiti. (NYDN)
- How about this: If the outbound Holland Tunnel is closed for repairs, maybe fewer people will drive in from Jersey in the morning! (NY Times)
- On the downside, service on the 7 train is being completely cut for six weekends. (amNY)
- Caroline Spivack is all over the Interborough Express. (Crain’s)
- Do not miss the vigil for Norm Fruchter on Thursday:
On 1/19, join @PACParentAction, @NYC_SafeStreets, @Sen_Gounardes, B.R.A.K.E.S., and others for a vigil commemorating the life of legendary education reformer Norman Fruchter, killed by traffic violence in Bay Ridge.
— Thomas DeVito (@PedestrianTom) January 17, 2023