This morning, The New York Times featured StreetsPAC's first round of endorsements in the 2013 elections that places support firmly behind two candidates running for open City Council seats, Costa Constantinides and Antonio Reynoso; two challengers to long-time Council incumbents, Carlos Menchaca and Vince Morgan; and one incumbent Councilmember seeking re-election, Melissa Mark-Viverito. Though these candidates cover a wide range of New York City, they all share a commitment to improving street safety and have made StreetsPAC's mission one of their campaign's top priorities.
Here’s a round-up of the five City Council candidates receiving StreetsPAC’s initial endorsements:
Costa Constantinides, Council District 22, Queens (Open Seat) –
Constantinides, running to replace term-limited Councilmember Peter Vallone, Jr., is a Democratic District Leader and experienced City Council aide with a strong record of community organizing, who believes that “safe streets are the lifelines of every thriving neighborhood." He’d like to see traffic-calming measures implemented on main thoroughfares such as Astoria Boulevard and 21st Street, and wants to see the city’s nascent bike-share system expanded soon to western Queens.
Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council District 8, Manhattan/Bronx (Incumbent) –
Mark-Viverito, a two-term incumbent representing East Harlem and the South Bronx, has a formidable livable-streets resume. She’s been a staunch advocate for protected bike lanes on First and Second Avenues, Select Bus Service and congestion pricing. The Councilmember would like to see significant improvements to pedestrian access to her district’s East River Plaza shopping mall, and better bicycle and pedestrian access to the Willis Avenue Bridge.
Carlos Menchaca, Council District 38, Brooklyn (Incumbent: Sara Gonzalez) –
Menchaca, who spent several years working in the Brooklyn Borough President’s office, has most recently served as an aide to Council Speaker Christine Quinn. A regular bicycle commuter, Menchaca looks forward to working to extend the Brooklyn Greenway from Red Hook to Sunset Park, and to launching a community-led initiative to transform the space beneath the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway along Brooklyn’s Third Avenue.
Vince Morgan, Council District 9, Manhattan (Incumbent: Inez Dickens) –
Morgan, a former banker, is challenging two-term incumbent Inez Dickens for this Harlem seat. Morgan is sharply critical of Dickens’s opposition to safety upgrades on Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard, a six-lane road that’s been one of New York City’s deadliest for pedestrians and which his children cross on their way to school. Morgan also intends to win M60 Select Bus Service for the entire stretch of 125th Street in District 9, only half of which is slated to receive the faster service.
Antonio Reynoso, Council District 34, Brooklyn (Open Seat) –
Reynoso, who’s been Chief of Staff to Councilmember Diana Reyna for the past four years, sees truck-route calming and enforcement as well as expanding the bike lane network for Bushwick and Ridgewood as huge opportunities to improve life in his district. Keeping trucks on redesigned, designated routes will improve street safety for local residents, while an expanded bike lane network would link residents to transit and local jobs. Reynoso has commuted by bicycle since selling his car to campaign full-time, a change that has transformed the way he looks at and experiences city streets.