This is the latest installment in our spotlight series on StreetsPAC endorsed candidates.
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.
StreetsPAC: What is the biggest transportation issue facing your district?
Carlos Menchaca: Decreasing traffic accidents/fatalities due to fast traffic and commercial trucks.
SP: How do you make the case to residents, community board members, and business owners that livable streets are good for the district?
CM: Show the numbers. I plan to conduct surveys and use city wide and national data to show how livable streets are needed and are effective. Small Pilot projects will also help show how livable streets work- we can do that in the district.
SP: What do you think New York City streets will look like four years from now? What about twenty years from now?
CM: Four years from now we'll have our streets will be a place we will want to traverse with pleasure, comfort and security. Vehicular speeds will be significantly slower, bike lanes will be welcomed throughout the neighborhoods and recreational areas will be make out streets welcoming to families. In 20 years, I hope neighborhoods can decide to become car free zones with emergency vehicle access. Deliveries to small businesses will be coordinated and made off peak use hours. Bicyclists will obey all traffic laws with glee and pride. We will have zero traffic fatalities. An extensive network of public transportation will stitch our communities together, especially in Brooklyn from the north to the south. Joy will run our streets in NYC in 20 years.
SP: What are some of the best places to visit by bike in your neighborhood?
CM: Sunset Park, with those gorgeous views the final trek up that hill is worth it. Valentino Pier in Red Hook, the final block is cobble stone on Coffey Street but worth the bumpy ride. Ikea greenway is magical at sunset. A perfect spot for romance or recharging after a long day at work.
SP: What street in your neighborhood/district do you think is a model for what you'd like to see elsewhere?
CM: We need so much more infrastructure so I will say that the best models we have are currently the livable street activists like Gene Aronowitz who travel the city visiting senior centers to increase awareness on street safety. We need more people like Gene.
SP: Everyone has a memorable story to tell about being on the subway. What's yours?
CM: Witnessing my 4 year old nephew Seth's first encounter with the subway. It was his first time in New York City. He loves trains. His expression was priceless: awe and reverence. Once inside, he did what any New Yorker did, held on tight to the rail - he was a natural straphanger. I'm so proud of him.