StreetsPAC 2020 Primary Election Voter Guide

New York State's primary election is today! Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and if you're registered with a political-party affiliation, you are eligible to vote in your party's primary.

For the past several weeks, we have evaluated responses to our detailed candidate questionnaire, conducted in-depth personal interviews with candidates, and deliberated at length over endorsement decisions. We've endorsed a total of 25 candidates for State Senate, Assembly, and Queens Borough President. Below, you can learn a bit about each of our endorsees, and the safe-streets and public transit issues they've committed to championing.

This primary will likely continue the trend of low-turnout elections, especially when factoring in the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic. That means that your vote for a candidate who supports safe, complete and livable streets, and reliable, efficient and affordable public transit, could very well be critical in deciding the outcome of a close race.

To check your voter-registration status, find your polling location, and to see a sample ballot, please visit vote.nyc (we've noted below that a few of the candidates we've endorsed do not have primaries, and thus won't appear on the ballot). We urge you to get out and vote today for the StreetsPAC candidate of your choice, but please be sure to wear a mask and adhere to safe social-distancing protocols.

Read on to meet StreetsPAC's 2020 endorsees!

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StreetsPAC Endorses 24 Candidates for State Senate and Assembly

We're excited today to announce 24 endorsements in State Senate and Assembly races, including six candidates for the Senate and 18 for Assembly seats.

Our endorsees are a diverse group, representing all five boroughs and including incumbents (several of whom have earned past StreetsPAC endorsements), challengers to sitting electeds, and candidates for open seats. A handful do not face primary races, which we've noted, so they won't be on the ballot until November's general election. We also anticipate making additional endorsements before November.

The majority of our endorsees, however, will appear on the Democratic Primary ballot on June 23rd. In-person early voting begins tomorrow, and all New Yorkers are eligible to vote by absentee ballot. You can check your registration status, find out where to vote, and learn how to request an absentee ballot at vote.nyc.

Read on to meet all our endorsees, who are listed below chronologically by district number, beginning with the Senate candidates.

State Senate

Julia SalazarJulia Salazar, 18th Senate District, Brooklyn (Incumbent) – Salazar was elected to serve North Brooklyn's 18th District in 2018, with StreetsPAC's endorsement, and she's proven herself to be a strong advocate for safer streets and better transit during her first term. She supported congestion pricing and the expansion of the speed camera program, and has been a fixture at rallies for safe-streets and better transit. She's insistent about the need to raise tax revenue to fill the MTA's budget gaps, and supports expanding Select Bus Service to alleviate transit deserts. Salazar would also like to see some of the city's Open Streets projects made permanent.

Rajiv GowdaRajiv Gowda, 23rd Senate District, Staten Island & Brooklyn (Challenger) – Gowda, a retired civil engineer, is challenging incumbent, and former IDC member, Diane Savino in a district that covers Staten Island's North Shore and a portion of southern Brooklyn. A former union leader and Community Education Council president, Gowda also chaired his Community Board's Transportation Committee. He's committed to fighting for a pedestrian and bicycle path on the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, reactivation of Staten Island's North Shore rail line, and major improvements to his district's bike lanes.

Jabari BrisportJabari Brisport, 25th Senate District, Brooklyn (Open Seat) – Brisport, a middle-school math teacher, is running in a three-way race for the seat currently held by the retiring Velmanette Montgomery. He's running on a detailed and progressive transportation platform, which includes advocating to expand the zone for congestion pricing, which he wants to see implemented on schedule, into Downtown Brooklyn. He also supports eliminating parking minimums across the city, completely connecting Brooklyn's bicycle network while adding many more miles of protected lanes, and improving bus service throughout the district.

RobertJackson.jpgRobert Jackson, 31st Senate District, Manhattan & Bronx (Incumbent) – Jackson, a 2018 StreetsPAC endorsee, is running for a second term in the State Senate. He supported the passage of congestion pricing and the renewal and major expansion of the city's speed camera program. He's committed to advocating for improved and expanded pedestrian and bicycle access on the George Washington Bridge, and will urge the city to resurrect and expand the Slow Zone program in his district. He also supports improvements to the Hudson River Greenway.

Luis SepulvedaLuis Sepúlveda, 32nd Senate District, Bronx (Incumbent) – Sepúlveda, who served three terms in the Assembly, was first elected to the State Senate in a special election in 2018. An early supporter of speed cameras, Sepúlveda also championed congestion pricing, and was the sponsor of the Green Light law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain driver's licenses, which has obvious street-safety benefits. A member of the Senate's Transportation Committee, he's interested in building upon the city's new Dangerous Vehicle Abatement Program, and working to reform the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Alessandra BiaggiAlessandra Biaggi, 34th Senate District, Bronx (Incumbent) – Biaggi, with StreetsPAC's endorsement, pulled off one of the biggest upsets of 2018, knocking off IDC leader Jeff Klein in her first run for office. She supported congestion pricing and the expansion of the city's speed camera program, as well as the legalization of electric bikes and scooters. She's interested in helping to reform the Department of Motor Vehicles, and has called for more investment in bus service in her district in conjunction with redesign of the Bronx Bus Network.

 

State Assembly


Nily RozicNily Rozic, 25th Assembly District, Queens (Incumbent) – Rozic, a past StreetsPAC endorsee, was the youngest woman in the Legislature when she took office in 2013. She represents a district that has no subway or train stations, but this hasn't stopped her from being a fierce advocate for transit. She led the fight in the Assembly for Select Bus Service, securing the first route in her district, and was a supporter of congestion pricing. She sponsored the Assembly version of the bill that led to the legalization of e-bikes and electric scooters, and has always been an advocate for cycling. Rozic also supports making sure that driver's tests include education about sharing the road. She does not have a primary challenge.

Khaleel AndersonKhaleel Anderson, 31st Assembly District, Queens (Open Seat) – Anderson is one of six candidates running for this open seat in Southeast Queens. He got his start as a teen activist with the Rockaway Youth Task Force, and serves on his local Community Board, where he's advocated for bike lanes. He fought successfully for extension of the Q52 bus to the Rockaways, and did constituent-service work for State Senator James Sanders, Jr. He wants to see bus service improved, including multiple SBS upgrades, and is an advocate for expanding the LIRR's Atlantic Ticket to the Rockaways. He also wants to see bike share returned full time to the district. We were impressed by all the candidates we interviewed for this seat, including Richard David, whom we endorsed for City Council in 2017, and Shea Uzoigwe, who has advocated for congestion pricing and better bus service, but we believe Anderson will bring a youthful energy to Albany that would greatly benefit the 31st District.

Jessica Gonzalez-RojasJessica González-Rojas, 34th Assembly District, Queens (Challenger) – González-Rojas, a reproductive health and immigrants rights activist, is one of four candidates challenging incumbent Assemblyman Michael DenDekker. She served for eight years as Queens's representative on the New York City Transit Riders Council, and in January proposed a bold plan to redesign Northern Boulevard, inspired by the success of the 14th Street Busway. She supports reallocating street space to make more room for safe walking and biking, and keeping buses free by instituting progressive taxes. We were also greatly impressed by Nuala O'Doherty-Naranjo, a former prosecutor and dedicated safe-streets and community activist, but in a tough multi-candidate race against an incumbent with a mediocre record on transportation issues, we believe González-Rojas has the best chance to prevail.

Aravella SimotasAravella Simotas, 36th Assembly District, Queens (Incumbent) – Simotas, who grew up in the district she represents, was first elected to the Assembly in 2010. She has sponsored legislation to elevate penalties for unlicensed drivers who injure or kill, began calling for Astoria's Shore Boulevard to be car-free back in 2015 (it was finally designated an Open Street by NYCDOT in April), and supported the push to pass congestion pricing in the last session. She supports reforming the Department of Motor Vehicles, including requiring the periodic recertification of drivers. She's also introduced a bill to give each borough a representative on the MTA board.

Mary JobaidaMary Jobaida, 37th Assembly District, Queens (Challenger) – Jobaida, who emigrated from Bangladesh in 2001, is one of two candidates challenging incumbent Catherine Nolan, who has held the seat since 1985 and has an undistinguished record on transportation issues. An activist and health care worker, Jobaida has always commuted by subway. In addition to believing the transit system should ultimately be free, Mary wants to grow and electrify the bus network, increase accessibility in the transit system, build out bike lane infrastructure throughout the district, expand the Fair Fares program, and reverse the hiring of 500 new MTA police.

Catalina CruzCatalina Cruz, 39th Assembly District, Queens (Incumbent) – Cruz, the first DREAMer to win elected office in New York State, earned StreetsPAC's endorsement in 2018. She supported congestion pricing, as well as the expansion of the city's speed camera program. She continues to be an advocate for improving subway and bus service, which is critically important to her constituents, and she's interested in working to reform the Department of Motor Vehicles. She'd also like to see the city create permanent Open Streets in her district.

Robert Carroll, 44th Assembly District, Brooklyn (Incumbent) – Carroll, who first won his Assembly seat in 2016 with StreetsPAC's backing, has proved himself a champion of public transit and safe streets. He was a leading voice for the passage of congestion pricing in 2019, and he's authored a number of bills aimed at getting dangerous drivers off the road, including a measure, spurred by a tragic fatal crash in his district, that requires doctors to provide notification when a patient develops a condition that might impair their ability to drive safely. He's also the sponsor of a bill that would levy a $3 online-package delivery tax, with all proceeds dedicated to improving the transit system. Carroll does not have a primary challenge.

Emily GallagherEmily Gallagher, 50th Assembly District, Brooklyn (Challenger) – Assemblyman Joe Lentol has served the people of his North Brooklyn neighborhood with distinction for 48 years. He’s a senior member of the Assembly’s Democratic leadership. He’s been willing to listen to and work with advocates, and has ably adapted over the past 15 years as his district has changed, lending his support to lowered speed limits and new protected bike lanes. That said, it feels like we’re at an inflection point, as a nation and a city. Change is unfolding all around us. Emily Gallagher has been in the trenches as an advocate for the past decade, often in a leading role. She’s built a passionate and devoted base of support among people who’ve dedicated themselves to improving the safety of our streets and the efficacy of our transit system. She’s a bike commuter, and has felt personal loss from traffic violence. Emily is prepared to go to Albany and be a voice for the very issues that motivated us to found StreetsPAC. She’s committed to fighting for better bike infrastructure and more reliable buses and subways. She supports implementing a busway on Bedford Avenue. Her agenda is our agenda. Given the record Joe Lentol has put together in Albany over his long tenure, this was our most difficult endorsement decision, by far. But Emily Gallagher is our choice in the 50th Assembly District.

Katherine WalshKatherine Walsh, 51st Assembly District, Brooklyn (Challenger) – Katherine is one of three candidates challenging long-time incumbent Félix Ortiz, whom we endorsed in 2014 and 2016. Born and raised in Sunset Park, she has spent the past 10 years working to address climate change with the Climate Disclosure Project. She's adamant that congestion pricing implementation should proceed on schedule, and that the funds raised must be fully dedicated to the MTA. With the explosion in trucking facilities in the district, she's committed to pushing for the electrification of delivery vehicles and the use of e-bikes for last-mile deliveries. She'll also advocate for reimagining the BQE corridor to promote more sustainable modes of transportation. Assemblyman Ortiz, who did not respond to our interview requests after submitting a questionnaire, has served well and admirably, but the 51st District seems ready for change.

Jo Anne SimonJo Anne Simon, 52nd Assembly District, Brooklyn (Incumbent) – Simon is running for her fourth term in the Assembly, and has received StreetsPAC's endorsement multiple times. She's a member of the Assembly's Transportation Committee, and was a strong supporter of both congestion pricing and speed camera expansion. Simon is the lead sponsor of a bill that would authorize the city of New York to pilot a residential parking permit system. She also wants to see Brooklyn's bus network improved, with better east-west connections and service between Brooklyn and Manhattan. Simon does not face a primary challenge.

Justin CohenJustin Cohen, 56th Assembly District, Brooklyn (Open Seat) – Cohen, a community organizer and education advocate, is running for the seat being vacated by Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright. He relies on the city's buses, subways and bike lanes to get around, and is committed to working to improve the transit and bicycle networks. In particular, he will advocate for improved east-west bus connections in Brooklyn. He supports further reductions to speed limits, and would like to see street redesigns that would further calm traffic and increase pedestrian safety. Cohen also believes in eliminating parking minimums, and supports better education for drivers during the licensing process.

Walter MosleyWalter Mosley, 57th Assembly District, Brooklyn (Incumbent) – Mosley was elected to the Assembly in 2012. He was a committed supporter of congestion pricing, and is the lead sponsor of a bill that would require pedestrian and cyclist safety instruction in the written state driver's test. He's also a co-sponsor of Jo Anne Simon's residential parking permit bill. He supports further expansion of the bike network, and would like to see bus service improved, especially with additional east-west connections and dedicated lanes similar to the treatment on Fulton Street. We were impressed by Mosley's challenger, Phara Souffrant Forrest, a nurse and housing advocate, but we believe Mosley has more than earned another term in Albany.

Yuh-Line NiouYuh-Line Niou, 65th Assembly District, Manhattan (Incumbent) – Niou, the first Asian American to hold this seat that includes Chinatown, was elected to the Assembly in 2016. She'd like to see Manhattan's bus network redesigned to rationalize routes and increase speeds and reliability, including more dedicated bus lanes. She's adamant about raising revenue to address the MTA's budget gaps, and is interested in the potential for shared-street treatments in the Financial District and Chinatown. Niou is also willing to advocate for expanded pedestrian and cycling space on the Brooklyn Bridge, which is fully in her district. She faces a credible primary challenge from Grace Lee, who impressed us, but Niou is deserving of re-election.

Dan QuartDan Quart, 73rd Assembly District, Manhattan (Incumbent) – Quart, who was elected to the Assembly in 2011, earned StreetsPAC's endorsement in 2014. He's been a staunch supporter of better public transit, and an advocate for holding dangerous drivers accountable for their actions. He's the lead sponsor of legislation that would make it easier to prosecute vehicular crimes, and stiffen penalties for drivers who injure or kill. He'd like to see Select Bus Service expanded to more routes on Manhattan's east side. We were impressed by his young challenger, Cameron Koffman, but even Koffman had to admit that Quart has done a good job on transportation issues. He's earned another term in the Assembly.

Harvey EpsteinHarvey Epstein, 74th Assembly District, Manhattan (Incumbent) – Epstein won his first full term in the Assembly in 2018 with StreetsPAC's backing, after succeeding Brian Kavanagh in a special election. Early in his tenure, he sponsored a bill that would remove caps on the number of red-light and bus-lane cameras in New York City, the latter of which is now law. He was a strong advocate for the 14th Street busway, which has just been made permanent, and is insistent about raising revenue to fill the MTA's yawning budget gaps. He also supports the retesting of drivers every five years. Epstein does not have a primary challenge.

Chantel JacksonChantel Jackson, 79th Assembly District, Bronx (Open Seat) – Jackson, a social worker at a public NYC high school, is one of six candidates vying to succeed Assemblyman Michael Blake, who has endorsed her candidacy. She commutes 18 miles roundtrip by bike to her school in Long Island City. She's committed to working to expand the Bronx's bike network, and to working to improve health outcomes in the Bronx, the least-healthy county in New York State. She'd also like to see improvements in bus service in conjunction with the MTA's redesign of the bus network. In addition to the support of the incumbent, she has the backing of progressive Bronx State Senators Gustavo Rivera and Luis Sepúlveda.

Jeffrey DinowitzJeffrey Dinowitz, 81st Assembly District, Bronx (Incumbent) – Dinowitz, who has represented his Bronx district for 26 years, championed the MTA "lock-box" bill that finally became law in 2019, and has been a strong proponent of speed and red-light cameras. He has even come around on congestion pricing, which he wants to see implemented as scheduled. He supported the Broadway bike lane over Community Board opposition, and advocated for Riverdale's Slow Zone. He wants the MTA to adopt transit-signal priority and all-door boarding to help improve bus service.

Amanda SeptimoAmanda Septimo, 84th Assembly District, Bronx (Challenger*) – Septimo, who ran for this seat on the WFP line in 2018, served as District Director for retiring Congressman José Serrano. As a teenage activist with the Point CDC, she helped secure improvements to bus service in the Bronx, and advocated for congestion pricing in its first incarnation. She wants the MTA to invest in better bus service as it redesigns the Bronx Network, consistent with her view that transportation is at its heart an issue of equity. She believes that, long term, transit should be free. She'd also like to see better public access to the South Bronx's waterfront. *Septimo is now the only candidate in the Democratic primary, as incumbent Carmen Arroyo was removed from the ballot for filing fraudulent petitions.

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Costa Constantinides for Queens Borough President

Saying a lot has changed since we endorsed Costa Constantinides for Queens Borough President on March 9th doesn't even begin to define "understatement."

But one thing that hasn't changed is our firm belief that Costa is the best person for the job.

While some misconstrue the offices of the five Borough Presidents as largely ceremonial, they in fact carry a good amount of influence. Borough Presidents play an important role in the city's land-use process, control relatively hefty discretionary and staff budgets, and have sway with city agencies and other elected officials. They can use the bully pulpit of the office to promote, or oppose, city policies and initiatives.

And perhaps most importantly, especially when it comes to street safety and transportation issues, Borough Presidents appoint the members of Community Boards.

For all those reasons, we believe that the upcoming June 23rd Democratic primary for Queens Borough President is an important one – and it's why we are endorsing Costa for Queens Borough President.

As the City Council Member representing Queens's 22nd District (Astoria and parts of Jackson Heights, Woodside, and East Elmhurst) since 2014, and as Chair of the Council's Environmental Protection Committee, Constantinides has been a leader in the city's effort to combat climate change, and he clearly understands the transportation sector's outsized role in carbon emissions. It's why he believes it's so important to get people out of cars, and onto public transit and bikes.

That perspective underscores his strong support for building a real, connected network of protected bike lanes, along with their obvious safety benefits. It's why he pushed successfully to turn a municipal parking lot on Astoria's 31st Street into a 100%-affordable senior-housing facility, with zero parking spaces. And it's why he's been a qualified supporter of the MTA's redesign of the Queens bus network (though he thinks there's plenty of room for improvement on the draft plan), and a proponent of the proposed Triboro rail line.

If elected Queens Borough President, Constantinides pledges he will:

  • Reform, professionalize and diversify the Community Board appointment process
  • Develop a borough-wide transportation plan
  • Advocate for improved cycling infrastructure on the RFK/Triboro and Ed Koch/Queensboro Bridges, and a protected bike lane to connect them
  • Seek to transform additional city-owned municipal parking lots into housing

"We have made Queens' streets more livable over the last six years, but the hard work is still ahead," says Constantinides. "As Queens Borough President, I plan to create a holistic transportation plan that makes it safer for cyclists and pedestrians alike. I am so honored to have the support of StreetsPAC to improve our streets and create a better mass transit system."

We believe unequivocally that Costa Constantinides is the best choice for Queens voters concerned about safer streets and better public transportation. We are proud to endorse him for Queens Borough President, and urge you to vote for Costa in the Democratic primary election on Tuesday, June 23rd (early voting begins this Saturday, June 13th). All New Yorkers are eligible to vote by absentee ballot.

Please visit vote.nyc to check your registration status, confirm your polling site, and find early voting hours and locations. Click here for absentee ballot info. To contribute to Costa's campaign, please visit secure.actblue.com/donate/costa-2021.

And check back here for more StreetsPAC endorsements coming later this week!

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StreetsPAC's Testimony to City Council on Open Streets

We testified today during the New York City Council Committee on Transportation's first-ever Zoom hearing, in support of legislation introduced this week by Council Member Carlina Rivera and Speaker Corey Johnson that would require the opening of 75 miles of city streets for walking and biking, to accommodate social distancing. Our testimony follows below.

StreetsPAC strongly supports Intro 1933, which would mandate the opening of a minimum of 75 miles of city streets for use by people on foot and on bikes.

We’re living in an unprecedented time. Finding enough space on a New York City sidewalk, which was merely an inconvenience less than two months ago, is now nearer to being a matter of life and death. Like many, we believe it’s ideal that New Yorkers stay home as much as possible in order to stem the spread of COVID-19, but essential workers have to get to their jobs, people need to be able to restock groceries, and for their physical and mental wellbeing, many folks need to be able to go for a walk or a run or just clear their heads, especially as weather improves.

That’s nearly impossible to do under current conditions. Well publicized maps circulated in the past few days show that many of our neighborhoods are nearly devoid of sidewalks wide enough for maintaining six feet of separation. At the same time, with motor-vehicle traffic having fallen by about 75% across the city, vast swaths of empty streets crisscross our communities.

We can address that imbalance by extending sidewalks into curbside lanes on wider avenues, by allowing people to open their streets block party-style to gain some breathing room, and by perhaps pedestrianizing traffic-light corridors like Broadway in Manhattan.

Mexico City, Berlin, Bogota, Montreal, Vancouver, Milan, Paris, Auckland, Denver, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Louisville and, most notably in the U.S., Oakland, among many other cities, have all opened, or are in the process of opening, streets to walking and biking. And they’re largely doing it with little or no police enforcement.

The only thing that makes New York essentially “different” in this context is the Mayor’s insistence that we can’t do it here, or can’t do it without thousands of cops. Neither of those claims stands up.

We close streets all the time for utility work or tree-pruning or block parties with a few cones and a sign or two. Further, there’s just no factual basis to believe that giving people some extra space will cause a rush of unsafe clustering. Those who would ignore social-distancing guidelines are going to do so on a narrow sidewalk or in the middle of the Great Lawn or Long Meadow. For the 99%+ of New Yorkers terrified of catching Coronavirus, we’re going to self-enforce proactively.

While we know that NYCDOT has been stretched and strained by COVID-19, we firmly believe they should lead the effort to open city streets. Many organizations stand ready to assist them, including numerous BIDs. And they, like we, believe much of this can be accomplished with minimal enforcement.

Let’s also make sure that we prioritize opening streets in those neighborhoods that have the least current access to green space, and in communities where the parks are being most heavily used.

Lastly, the effort to open New York City’s streets to people now will help guide us as we begin the effort to shape the post-COVID future, one that tilts the balance back towards people-powered uses. That’s a topic for another day, but we look forward to having that discussion with the City Council.

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Mayor Postpones March 24th Special Election for Queens Borough President

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that, in light of efforts to slow the spread of the Novel Coronavirus, the March 24th special election for Queens Borough President will be postponed indefinitely.

We believe that this is the right decision, however difficult, given the danger of community spread of the virus. We do not take deferring elections lightly, but New York City is dealing with extraordinary circumstances.

We'll update you when we receive any new information about the future date and circumstances of the election. Until then, you can get a refresher as to why we've endorsed Costa Constantinides for Queens Borough President here.

And from all of us at StreetsPAC, please take care, minimize unnecessary social contacts, and help out your neighbors however you're safely able to do so.

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Costa Constantinides for Queens Borough President

While some misconstrue the offices of the five Borough Presidents as largely ceremonial, they in fact carry a good amount of influence. Borough Presidents play an important role in the city's land-use process, control relatively hefty discretionary and staff budgets, and have sway with city agencies and other elected officials. They can use the bully pulpit of the office to promote, or oppose, city policies and initiatives.

And perhaps most importantly, especially when it comes to street safety and transportation issues, Borough Presidents appoint the members of Community Boards.

For all those reasons, we believe that the upcoming March 24th special election for Queens Borough President is an important one – and it's why we are endorsing Costa Constantinides for Queens Borough President.

As the City Council Member representing Queens's 22nd District (Astoria and parts of Jackson Heights, Woodside, and East Elmhurst) since 2014, and as Chair of the Council's Environmental Protection Committee, Constantinides has been a leader in the city's effort to combat climate change, and he clearly understands the transportation sector's outsized role in carbon emissions. It's why he believes it's so important to get people out of cars, and onto public transit and bikes.

That perspective underscores his strong support for building a real, connected network of protected bike lanes, along with their obvious safety benefits. It's why he pushed successfully to turn a municipal parking lot on Astoria's 31st Street into a 100%-affordable senior-housing facility, with zero parking spaces. And it's why he's been a qualified supporter of the MTA's redesign of the Queens bus network (though he thinks there's plenty of room for improvement on the draft plan), and a proponent of the proposed Triboro rail line.

If elected Queens Borough President, Constantinides pledges he will:

  • Reform, professionalize and diversify the Community Board appointment process
  • Develop a borough-wide transportation plan
  • Advocate for improved cycling infrastructure on the RFK/Triboro and Ed Koch/Queensboro Bridges, and a protected bike lane to connect them
  • Seek to transform additional city-owned municipal parking lots into housing

"We have made Queens' streets more livable over the last six years, but the hard work is still ahead," says Constantinides. "As Queens Borough President, I plan to create a holistic transportation plan that makes it safer for cyclists and pedestrians alike. I am so honored to have the support of StreetsPAC to improve our streets and create a better mass transit system."

We do want to recognize one of Constantinides's opponents, former Council Member Elizabeth Crowley, who impressed us with her commitment to better mass transit for Queens residents. She's been a strong proponent of reactivating the Long Island Railroad's abandoned Lower Montauk Branch as a new rail link serving multiple stops between Jamaica and Long Island City. Council Member Donovan Richards, another candidate for Queens BP, has also advocated for improved public transit and the safety of cyclists and pedestrians, but he declined to participate in our endorsement process.

That said, we believe unequivocally that Costa Constantinides is the best choice for Queens voters concerned about safer streets and better public transportation. We are proud to endorse him for Queens Borough President, and urge you to vote for Costa in the special election on Tuesday, March 24th (early voting begins March 14th).

Please visit vote.nyc to check your registration status, confirm your polling site, and find early voting hours and locations. To contribute to Costa's campaign (the final filing deadline, and last chance for 8-to-1 matching funds, is at midnight tonight), please visit secure.actblue.com/donate/costa-2021.

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Monday: Meet & Greet with Carlina Rivera

Tomorrow – Monday, March 9th – please join us in the East Village for a special safe streets- and transportation-themed meet-and-greet event with Council Member Carlina Rivera, co-hosted by Brad Lander, Jessica Ramos, Jon Orcutt, Ya-Ting Liu and Tom DeVito.

It will be a great chance to talk bike lanes, busways, and transportation policy with one of the City Council's most dynamic young leaders, and to help Carlina jump-start her 2021 re-election effort. 

Carlina has been an outspoken advocate for safer streets and better public transit, authoring the legislation that now requires contractors to create and maintain temporary separated bike infrastructure when a protected lane is displaced by construction work. She's the prime sponsor of a bill that would create an Office of Active Transportation – NYC's very own "Bike Mayor" – and has been the de facto Bike Mayor of the 2nd Council District, which she gets around every day on her bicycle.

Carlina was also an early and vocal proponent of the 14th Street Busway, as well as one of the first Council Members to sign on to Speaker Corey Johnson's Streets Master Plan bill.

We enthusiastically endorsed Carlina's run for the CIty Council in 2017, and we're grateful for the commitment she's demonstrated to safer streets and better transit since taking office. Please join us Monday evening to hear from her directly, and to share your ideas about how we can work together to make New York CIty a world-class place for walking, biking and public transportation.

We'll have free hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar with happy-hour prices. Please let us know you're coming at rsvp@carlinarivera.com

Carlina Rivera Meet & Greet
Monday, March 9th
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Pinks
242 East 10th Street

Additional details below.

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Join us Monday for a Meet and Greet with Carlina Rivera!

This coming Monday, March 9th, we're teaming up with some of New York City's best advocates, and State Senator Jessica Ramos and City Council Member Brad Lander, to host a special safe streets- and transportation-themed meet-and-greet event with Council Member Carlina Rivera!

Carlina has been a champion for safer streets and better public transit since her first day in the City Council in 2018. She introduced legislation requiring that contractors create and maintain temporary separated bike infrastructure when a protected lane is displaced by construction work, which became law in 2019, and she's the prime sponsor of a bill that would create an Office of Active Transportation, known colloquially as a "Bike Mayor."

She was also an early and vocal proponent of the 14th Street Busway, which runs through a good portion of her East Side district, and one of the first Council Members to sign on as a supporter of Speaker Corey Johnson's Streets Master Plan.

We were proud to endorse Carlina's run for the CIty Council in 2017, and we're grateful for the commitment she's demonstrated day in and day out since her election. We hope you'll join us Monday evening to hear from her directly, and to share your ideas about how to continue making New York CIty a world-class place for walking, biking and public transit.

Additional details are below. Please let us know you're coming at rsvp@carlinarivera.com.

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StreetsPAC's Testimony to City Council on Improving Street and Vehicle Safety

We were at City Hall today to testify at the New York City Council's Committee on Transportation oversight hearing on improving street and vehicle safety. Our testimony follows below.

Heavy vehicles accounted for a disproportionate share of pedestrian and cyclist deaths on New York City streets in 2019, and have been involved in a handful of deaths already this year, including the cement mixer whose driver struck and killed Judith Wieder on January 7th, and the DSNY truck whose driver ran over Shree Panthee and his mother earlier that day, killing the 10-year-old boy.

While Mayor de Blasio signed legislation in 2015 mandating the installation of side guards on all city vehicles exceeding five tons, with some exceptions, as well as requiring them on private carting trucks, that law granted nine years for implementation. Only a small fraction of private waste trucks have side guards today. The city has done better, but the need to accelerate implementation is clear. Lives hang in the balance.

Of course, side guards won’t save someone if they’re struck head on, which happens often. European and Asian cities are well ahead of New York in implementing life-saving technologies, including warning sensors that alert truck drivers to the presence of people on foot or on bikes, distraction and drowsiness monitors, and even intelligent speed assistance systems that limit engine power to ensure speed-limit compliance.

European and Asian trucks and buses are better designed, as well, with the cabs sitting over the engines to allow for much better visibility. We should be mandating such cab designs for city-owned and operated vehicles. We also need Albany and Washington to do their part to mandate better vehicle design and safety equipment, and we especially need the state legislature and the Governor to make licensing more rigorous, and to pass laws that hold reckless drivers accountable.

But heavy commercial vehicles are far from the only problem. More than 6,000 pedestrians were killed in crashes across the U.S. in 2018, the most since 1990.

The culprits, in many cases, were increasingly large and more powerful SUVs, equipped with big touchscreens and other distractions. NYCDOT has recognized that drivers of SUVs are responsible for an increasing share of deaths in New York, but we need more than awareness efforts and appeals to drivers’ better natures to deal with these deadly machines.

We’re at a point now that it’s time to begin regulating the types of vehicles that can be driven in densely populated areas of New York City. Manhattan is overrun with Suburbans, Yukons, and Expeditions, whose very names underscore their inappropriateness for urban streets. We must give serious thought to restricting the weight and size of the private vehicles that can be operated legally in the city, and we need to look to the EU’s requirement that all new vehicles sold beginning in two years have speed-limiting systems.

The technology exists to make city streets safer. We need the political will to require it. The future of Vision Zero lies in reducing the number and size of vehicles in New York City, and in interventions that will prevent drivers from speeding or operating those vehicles in dangerous and irresponsible ways.

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StreetsPAC's Testimony to City Council on School Bus Stop-Arm Cameras, Bike & Pedestrian Mayors

We were at City Hall yesterday to testify at the New York City Council's Committee on Transportation hearing on school bus stop-arm cameras, and bills that would create Offices of Active Transportation and Pedestrians. Here's what we had to say:

There are few transgressions a driver can commit behind the wheel of an automobile that are more egregious than passing a stopped school bus picking up or discharging children, and for that reason alone, we support Intro 1724, which would create a demonstration program to install stop-arm cameras on school buses. The danger of such driver action is underscored by the severity of the penalties for doing so: a $250 fine, five license points, and the possibility of 30 days in jail.

The act of passing a stopped school bus is born either from impatient, callous indifference to the dangers it imposes on others, or a degree of distraction so great that one fails to notice a big, bright yellow school bus deploying flashing lights and a large red stop sign. Neither is remotely acceptable, yet according to some reports, it occurs up to 50,000 times per day in the state of New York.

Fortunately, given the penalties, the rate of recidivism is low, as low as 2% to 6%, per statistics. But enforcement is also nearly non-existent; under current laws, a police officer must witness the infraction in order to issue a ticket. Stop-arm cameras have tremendous potential to improve enforcement, in the same way that school-zone speed cameras have begun holding dangerous drivers accountable.

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