‘Sir. Barkan Goes to Washington’ Edition – Streetsblog New York City


New York Magazine inserted a sly reference to Robert Moses in the title of its sweet offer, an exclusive with Secretary Pete Buttigieg, calling the former political mayor a ‘power broker’ due to the billions Washington lavishes on transportation .

Writer Ross Barkan’s article served up the basics — Mayor Pete’s “ambitious plan to drastically reduce traffic fatalities nationwide” — and some references to gossip about Buttigieg being “on the road.” shortlist of all potential presidential candidates” and to “talk about a future matchup with Vice President Kamala Harris. It was classic New York Magazine fare for intellectuals and moderates. A delicious soup.

What was less appetizing were Barkan’s occasional references to his own conduct, which were rendered without his usual insight. A friend of Streetsblog, Barkan’s career has truly flourished since his aborted run for Marty Golden’s Brooklyn State Senate. Its copy is everywhere – and rightly so. He has a real voice and real insight into Democratic politics in this city. He charges his Substack newsletter, Political Currents, and it’s worth every penny of the subscription cost.

That’s why we wish Barkan (in said newsletter) had missed the chance to skewer his own privilege:

“A word about the automobile: I like public transportation and I like long car trips,” says the Brooklyn resident. “If I have the choice, however, between Amtrak or my Hyundai, I will choose the latter. Long journeys can be clarifying. I listen to music – CDs if the player is working and Sirius XM radio – and let my thoughts take me where they should. On the trip to DC I rediscovered an old favorite, Paul and Linda McCartney’s RAM. Sometimes, as the music plays, I partially write articles or stories in my head. A wide road without traffic on a freeway relaxes. It’s you, the car and America, and sometimes that’s all it takes. »

It’s far too late for rhapsodies about the internal combustion engine and the “open road” (if such a thing ever existed). The federal government built these highways over the graves of our 19th century cities, often for the express purpose of disenfranchising the people (black, brown, and needy) on them. And as a self-proclaimed lover of cities and their walkability, Barkan doesn’t see the irony that his driving is contributing to the decline in walkability of most of America.

In addition, there are 39 daily trains to DC And you can listen RAM and do a lot of work on them.

In other news:

  • Now we are progressing! The MTA has taken a public stand against sign abuse, confirming (via Twitter below) that any “MTA” or “New York City Transit” sign is fake, that MTA employees and contractors cannot park illegally at work and that the agency will take action against such employees or contractors. Now if we could get it to punish the ubiquitous use of “anti-theft vests” …
  • No surprise: All these years later, “broken windows” still target low-income people of color, a Daily News op-ed claims.
  • Thanks Dot! More than a decade later, we’re still hanging on for those street pissoirs. (The city)
  • The Daily News does three stories about Mayor Adams’ removal of homeless encampments from the streets and subway.
  • Polly’s replacement on the MTA board quits. (amNY)
  • Our old editor wasn’t impressed with the DOT announcement “Car Free Earth Day” (Streetsblog) Meanwhile, amNY’s Kevin Duggan played it candidly.
  • Open Plans is looking for the next generation of livable street advocates, hiring three to five college or graduate students this spring for part-time paid internships ($20/hour). “Engagement and Advocacy Interns” will work in the in the field and attending rallies and meetings for two or three monthsfrom May or June, for 10 to 20 hours per week.


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