This is the latest installment in our spotlight series on StreetsPAC endorsed candidates.
Mark Levine strongly supports improving travel times for all 125th Street bus lines through implementation of Select Bus Service. He’ll champion the expansion of Citi Bike to all of northern Manhattan and work with community stakeholders to extend northwards the complete-streets package of pedestrian safety improvements, landscaping, protected bike paths and other amenities that have already taken root on Columbus Avenue.
StreetsPAC: What is the biggest transportation issue facing your district?
Mark Levine: 125th St. is a vital commercial corridor uptown, but vehicle congestion there is so bad that currently buses there travel on average slower than walking speed. One great way to improve this situation: establish Select Bus Service with a dedicated bus lane stretching along the full length of 125th St. from river to river. The Deptartment of Transportation recently proposed creating just such a service on the M60, but the plan was recently shelved because of lack of support among local elected officials. I strongly believe this SBS plan should be immediately implemented, for the sake of local residents, local businesses, and the environment.
SP: How do you make the case to residents, community board members, and business owners that livable streets are good for the district?
ML: Everyone agrees that safety is a priority, and livable streets give bicyclists and pedestrians space to move with less fear of confronting vehicle traffic. Nearly all voters value the environmental benefits of people moving out of private cars onto foot / bicycles / mass transit. And businesses embrace livable streets when their legitimate need for access to delivery trucks is accommodated, and when they realize such changes draw more potential customers to their doorstep.
SP: What do you think New York City streets will look like four years from now? What about twenty years from now?
ML: I hope--and believe--that this will be an ever more walkable and bikeable city, and that we will continue to improve all forms of mass transit, including subways, busses, ferries, bike share, and even street cars. This will make our streets safer, more lively, and more livable.
SP: What are some of the best places to visit by bike in your neighborhood?
ML: There is nothing like a ride along the Hudson river waterfront from the Upper West Side all the way up to the George Washington Bridge!
SP: What street in your neighborhood/district do you think is a model for what you'd like to see elsewhere?
ML: At the present moment there is not a single dedicated (separated) bike lane in the 7th District. But this will be changing soon as the Columbus Ave. bike lane is extended from 96th St. up to 110th St. I hope this will be a model for similar improvements in other parts of the district.
SP: Everyone has a memorable story to tell about being on the subway. What's yours?
ML: One of my favorite moments was on a ride on the A train when my then 8-year old son turned to me and said he felt sorry for people who live in places without subways!
Join StreetsPAC volunteers Monday 8/26 6-8pm at Mark's campaign offices, 601 West 136th Street, for a night of phone banking and canvassing. RSVP with email@example.com