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E-bike, e-scooter legislation gets a second chance in New York

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Plus, “Bird God” vandal strikes the Grand Army Plaza arch again—and more intel in today’s New York Minute news roundup

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Good morning, and welcome to New York Minute, a new roundup of the New York City news you need to know about today. Send stories you think should be included to tips@curbed.com.

Gov. Cuomo spells out proposal to legalize e-bikes and e-scooters

After vetoing a bill that would legalize e-bikes and e-scooters late last year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced a new bill in the 2021 budget that would legalize the vehicles. At a Thursday press conference touting the legislation, Cuomo knocked Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “arbitrary” crackdown on immigrant delivery workers who use the electric two wheelers and said he is urging the legislature to quickly pass the bill before the April 1st budget deadline.

The measure’s language is similar to the one he vetoed, except that it would mandate helmets for e-scooter riders under 18 as well as for those riding e-bikes that can travel up to 25 miles per hour. It also bars e-bikes and e-scooters from sidewalks.

Under the proposed law, e-bikes are divided into three categories: Class 1 pedal-assist models with a top speed of 20 miles per hour; Class 2 throttle bikes with a top speed of 20 miles per hour; and Class 3 throttle models with a top speed of 25 miles per hour. E-bike and e-scooter ridership would be restricted to New Yorkers 16 and older, but e-scooter operators under the age of 18 would be required to use a helmet.

And in other news...

  • The vandal accused of co-opting a cherry picker last month to scrawl “Bird God” on Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza arch struck again Thursday—this time using a ladder and a Sharpie to scrawl a bizarre bird-themed rant on the landmarked arch’s walls.
  • Frederic S. Berman, a former state legislator who was a key player behind the rent stabilization law, died on Sunday in Manhattan. He was 92.
  • Some lawmakers are calling for a city takeover of the state-run MTA’s subways and buses in the wake of transit chief Andy Byford’s Thursday resignation.
  • The real estate industry is seeking changes to a bill that requires most properties larger than 25,000 square feet to limit their greenhouse emissions.
  • Green card holders and immigrants with work visas would receive the right to vote under a new City Council bill introduced on Thursday.
  • The New York Times calls a new book chronicling the history of Lower Manhattan “a visual time capsule.” The book “A Century Downtown” by Matt Kapp is out February 4.
  • Married actors Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick are selling their West Village townhouse for $19 million.
  • On the topic of celeb sales, hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs also sold his Park Avenue megamansion for $24 million.