After a biker was badly injured by a speeding motorist on Gerritsen Avenue in Brooklyn, a jury in 2011 held New York City legally responsible for not having more speeder-unfriendly street design. The city is now instituting such changes, which according to one advocate should no longer be deemed “subject to debate.” The city was held 40 percent liable, but paid 95 percent or $19 million of a $20 million settlement. “‘This ruling from New York’s highest court puts an end to the notion that traffic safety improvements should be subject to debate and contingent on unanimous local opinion,’ said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. ‘The scientific verdict has been in for several years: traffic calming works to save lives and prevent injuries.'” [Alissa Walker, Curbed]
Twenty-five years ago the Manhattan Institute, with which I was affiliated for many years, launched its extremely successful periodical City Journal. (Longtime editor Myron Magnet, now editor-at-large, has an account here of some of its triumphs.)
The very first issue had a piece from me on alternate side of the street parking. Contributors to that first issue, under founding editor Richard Vigilante, included William Tucker, Rick Brookhiser, Terry Teachout, Carolyn Lochhead, Mark Cunningham, Peter Salins, Rupert Murdoch (!), and others. My work appeared in City Journal most recently this summer with a profile of the work of Eric Schneiderman as New York attorney general (“Inspector Gotcha”) and you can read all of my contributions to the magazine here, on topics ranging from the case against slavery reparations to the struggle between Westchester County and HUD.
Congratulations to this excellent magazine as it enters its second quarter century under editor Brian Anderson.
The town of Perrysburg, Ohio, wants to use a “quick-take” procedure to condemn land on one side of a road so as to widen it and add a sidewalk or bike path. But some of the land is in adjoining Middleton Township, not in Perrysburg. Can they even do that? [Maggie Thurber, Watchdog]
Marshall, Texas, famed as patent plaintiffs’ forum of choice, returns a $663 million False Claims Act verdict against Trinity Industries in guardrail supply case [Insurance Journal; earlier on the unique qualities of the Eastern District of Texas, earlier on the Trinity litigation here and here]
And more Marshall fun: Texas patent holding company files 49 lawsuits in a week, isn’t listed on own office building’s directory [Legal NewsLine]
“Dominique Sharpton posted pictures to Instagram showing she completed a difficult mountain climb in Bali, Indonesia — even though her suit says that ‘she still suffers’ debilitating pain after twisting her ankle in a street crack in Soho last year.” [New York Post and more (“Al Sharpton’s daughter sues city for $5M after spraining ankle”)]
They say the neon lights are doomed on Broadway:
The feds say many of Times Square’s huge and neon-lit billboards must come down or the city will lose about $90 million in federal highway money.
The edict comes from a 2012 law that makes Times Square an arterial route to the national highway system. And that puts it under the 1965 Highway Beautification Act, which limits signs to 1,200 square feet. It took the feds until now to realize that Times Square was included, Kramer reported.
Blame lawmakers, not the current DoT administrators, says Marc Scribner of CEI:
This is a classic example of Congress passing stupid laws, ordering regulators to implement them stupidly, and then forgetting about them until unintended consequences spring up down the line.
- Driver’s license suspensions, which many states use to punish unpaid court debt and other offenses unrelated to driving skill, can accelerate spiral into indigency [New York Times]
- Your war on distracted driving: woman says she received $200 ticket “for putting on lip balm at a red light.” [KLAS Las Vegas, Nev.]
- “Of Course We Have No Ticket Quotas, But ….” [Lowering the Bar; Edmundson, Mo., in St. Louis County; Mariah Stewart, Huffington Post on revenue generation in Berkeley, Mo., and other neighboring towns; Scott Greenfield (“Ferguson: Where Everyone’s a Criminal”)]
- Yet more on St. Louis County: it started with a “defective muffler” stop in Florissant [Riverfront Times]
- NYC: “Speed cameras lead to surge in tickets and $16.9M in revenue for city” [NY Daily News]
- New Los Angeles parking signs explain it all for you, also recall design of craps table [Mark Frauenfelder, BoingBoing]
- Virginia: “How Police Drones and License-Plate Readers Threaten Liberty” [A. Barton Hinkle; related, Jim Harper/D.C. Examiner]
At least one contributor to the NYT’s “Room for Debate” roundtable seems confident lawmakers can finesse the First Amendment dangers of proposals broad enough to criminalize some instances of saying “hello” to a stranger on the street. Scott Greenfield offers one criminal defense lawyer’s perspective.