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Morning Spew

Blame Eric Adams for the Next Death on McGuinness Boulevard

The mayor laughs at your safe streets petition.

9:45 AM EDT on July 11, 2023

Eric Adams gives a thumbs up on a Citi Bike.

(Ed Reed / Mayoral Photography Office)

On the campaign trail, Eric Adams won the endorsement of safe streets advocates by promising a great many things. 

He was going to install 300 miles of protected bike lanes and more than 150 miles of bus lanes. He would allocate municipal funds to Citi Bike, and build "bike superhighways" under the city's elevated bridges. He supported a plan to transform 25 percent of New York City's public space that is currently reserved for vehicles into stuff that is actually useful—parks, seating, bike parking, outdoor dining.

Adams was never a big safe streets advocate—this is a guy who racked up speeding tickets and let his public servants illegally park all over Brooklyn Borough Hall. But Adams's entire campaign was about public safety, and with traffic fatalities rivaling shooting fatalities in the five boroughs, redesigning our city's streets is a matter of life and death. Adams would fulfill his campaign promises once he was in Gracie Mansion…right?

Nearly halfway into his first term as mayor, Adams is nowhere close to meeting his bike and bus lane goals. He hasn't said a word about funding Citi Bike or the "bike superhighways," and he has gleefully taken a sledgehammer to outdoor dining sheds to make way for more car parking.

One of the biggest obstacles to safer streets? Car owners, who despite the fact that they are a minority of New Yorkers, are able to thwart long-discussed and labored-over plans laid out by the Department of Transportation. 

Instead of trusting the planners, engineers, and outreach workers who work at his own DOT, Adams has embraced a method of government where powerful constituents can override meticulous planning to maintain the status quo. 

The latest example: Last week, the Adams administration scrapped a plan to redesign Greenpoint's deadly McGuinness Boulevard, a plan that had been in the works for more than two years, and that had the support of the neighborhood's City Councilmember, Assemblymember, and 7,000 people who signed a petition.

Why did Adams reverse course? A powerful family with business interests in the neighborhood didn't like the changes, and threw a ton of money into fighting them, culminating in a June "community meeting" they hosted, where members of the public were barred but where the DOT Commissioner appeared and bent a sympathetic ear.

On Monday afternoon, a reporter asked Mayor Adams about his McGuinness Boulevard about-face. "Yeah. Four hundred people went to a meeting and they raised their concerns. And I listen to New Yorkers," Adams replied. "I'm not going to force-feed communities, I'm not going to do that."

When the reporter pointed out that many more people supported the plan, including the local City Councilmember, Adams laughed, and moved on.

Remember this laugh when another New Yorker dies another senseless death on McGuinness Boulevard.

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