Albany Shame; Summer Streets with a Twist; Reynoso Resolute; Rosenthal Fundraiser

Albany to New York City Street Users: Keep Being Dropped Dead!

The 2015-2016 legislative session in Albany came to a close several days ago, and shamefully, the State Legislature failed to act on a number of measures that would have made streets safer for New York City residents and visitors.

Legislation supporting the Move NY Fair Plan, which would equalize tolls on New York City's bridges and simultaneously reduce traffic congestion in and around Manhattan while creating a vital funding stream for the MTA, never made it to a vote.

Neither did a bill that would have increased the number of speed safety cameras deployed in New York City, while eliminating restrictions on their hours of operation.

Nor did the legislature act on a bill that would have ended New York City's stipulated fine program. Or a bill that would have made it faster and cheaper to complete important infrastructure projects.

But take heart! A chance for New York's voters to convene a state Constitutional convention is less than 500 days away! As Crain's New York Business reported yesterday:
Albany’s control over procurement—as well as tolls, traffic lights, schools, rent laws and even fees on plastic bags—will be open for reconsideration in November 2017, when New Yorkers vote on a constitutional convention referendum. The vote, which is held every 20 years, could initiate a larger conversation on the appropriate distribution of power and authority between the state and its municipalities. Constitutional reform could ensure that decisions on laws like design-build—or Move New York's tolling plan—are decided in New York City, not 150 miles to the north.
We'll be keeping a close eye on the Constitutional referendum as November 2017 comes nearer.

In addition, and a good deal more immediately, the de Blasio Administration can take a number of street-safety matters into its own hands, as Streetsblog's Ben Fried opined last week.


More Shame on Albany: Results of Last Week's StreetsPoll

In last week's StreetsPoll, we asked you which transportation- or safe-streets-related item Albany lawmakers should be most ashamed about having let die in the just-concluded legislative session. With lots of shame to choose from, we had a tie — a third of you picked the legislature's failure to act on speed safety cameras, and a like number thought that Albany's inaction on the legalization of e-Bikes was the biggest miss.

Congratulations to Lauri Schindler of Brooklyn, the randomly selected winner of a StreetsPAC t-shirt from among last week's StreetsPoll respondents.

Summer Streets Gets a Twist this August

It's summer, and that means Summer Streets isn't that far off. And this year's Summer Streets will have a new twist — a car-reduced "Shared Streets" zone in lower Manhattan.SummerStreetsThumb.png

In addition to the now-traditional closing of seven miles of Manhattan streets from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park along Lafayette Street, Park Avenue and East 72nd Street on the first three Saturdays of August, the city will reduce car traffic within a 60-block portion of the Financial District from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 13.

Motorists entering the area will have to pass through NYPD-staffed checkpoints, where they'll be encouraged to keep their speed below five miles per hour, making the streets much more hospitable for people on foot, bike, scooter, skateboard and whatever other non-motorized means of mobility they might choose.

Click the image for a larger map, and check out Streetsblog's story for more details.

Reynoso: Safety Trumps Community Board Dithering

Brooklyn City Council Member Antonio Reynoso said last week that the New York City Department of Transportation should proceed with its safety plan for the busy Myrtle-Wyckoff transit hub with or without the endorsement of Brooklyn Community Board 4, whose Transportation Committee voted to oppose the plan on June 15. Three people have been struck and killed by turning drivers at the intersection since 2009.

Reynoso, who was among StreetsPAC's first endorsees in 2013, hasn't been shy about putting safety before parochial interests. "Ultimately the experts on how to implement safety in the city of New York is the Department of Transportation," and they should act as necessary to preserve life and limb, he told Streetsblog. The Transportation Committee of Queens CB5, which shares the Myrtle-Wyckoff-Palmetto intersection with Brooklyn CB4, voted in favor of the proposed changes last week.

Kudos to Council Member Reynoso for sticking to his principles!

Save the Date! Helen Rosenthal Fundraiser, July 21, 6:30 p.m.

We hope you'll join us at a fundraising event we're co-hosting on Thursday, July 21, for Upper West Side City Council Member (and 2013 StreetsPAC endorsee) Helen Rosenthal. Helen is a strong supporter of safe- and complete-streets projects and policies, including the recently finished Amsterdam Avenue protected bike lane, a car-free Central Park, and unfettered access to buildings for people with folding bicycles.

Please click the image below to RSVP. We look forward to seeing you on the 21st!

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StreetsPAC supports candidates for public office who will champion Safe, Complete and Livable Streets.