StreetsPAC's Testimony to DSNY on Draft Scope of Work for a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Commercial Waste Zone Program

Earlier today, we presented the following testimony at the New York City Department of Sanitation's public forum on the draft scope of work for the draft environmental impact statement on the city's proposed Commercial Waste Zone plan:

StreetsPAC strongly supports New York City’s proposed Commercial Waste Zone plan. As advocates for safer streets, we’re deeply concerned by the frequency with which commercial waste haulers injure and kill pedestrians and cyclists – private carters have killed nearly three-dozen people since 2010. The current system leads commercial drivers to make dangerous choices behind the wheel; running red lights, reversing through intersections, driving in the wrong direction and speeding are endemic, and epidemic. The current free for all also leads to dangerous fatigue, with many drivers and crewmembers working long overnight shifts of up to 18 hours.

While we support the proposed plan, however, we think it can go further. We urge the city to study an exclusive single-hauler zone option in the Environmental Impact Study. While the proposed non-exclusive plan is estimated to reduce nightly vehicle miles traveled from 79,000 to 29,000, an exclusive-zone option might be able to reduce that number even more, which could further improve pedestrian and worker safety, and would likely yield additional benefits in reduced emissions, improved routing efficiency and shorter distances between collection points. Given the potential reduction in crashes that an exclusive-zone system could deliver, it should be included in the EIS.

In addition, we believe any new zoned plan should also require private haulers to make safety upgrades to all commercial-fleet vehicles. The requirement for installation of life-saving side guards should be accelerated, and it should be mandatory for all vehicles to be equipped with state-of-the-art safety technology, including road-safety analytic systems such as those offered by ZenDrive, 360-degree cameras, and GPS tracking. Drivers should undergo extensive Vision Zero safety training, and rear-riding steps should be removed to increase crew safety.

The long-term stability created by an exclusive-zone system will best enable private haulers to amortize these investments in newer, cleaner, and safer trucks and technology thanks to the stable customer base, predictable revenue stream, and long-term, enforceable contract with New York City that such a plan would create. Again, we support the proposed semi-exclusive system, but strongly urge consideration of an exclusive, single-hauler option as the best possible alternative.

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StreetsPAC's Testimony to City Council on Fixing NYC's Mass Transit System

StreetsPAC submitted the following testimony today to the New York City Council's Committee on Transportation, in regard to its oversight hearing on fixing New York City's transit system:

We add our voice today to the chorus of calls for immediate and far-reaching action to fix New York City’s buses and subways.

As Monday morning’s subway meltdown demonstrated all too clearly, we have far too little to show for the almost year and a half since Governor Cuomo declared the subways in a “state of emergency” and the MTA announced the Subway Action Plan. New Yorkers continue to be saddled with miserable commutes. The drop in ridership as people seek alternatives to stalled trains and crawling buses means less fare-box revenue, and in turn, worsening congestion. Catch-up work leaves numerous lines out of commission every weekend.

The proposed Fast Forward plan holds promise, but until funding sources are laid out in detail, it’s hard to feel that there’s anything other than train traffic ahead. Despite lots of talk, we’ve yet to see any truly meaningful steps toward congestion pricing, which could begin to put a real dent in the MTA’s funding gap. We’re in a full-blown crisis, and it is existential.

Fixing this critical threat to New York City’s economic health demands decisive action. Governor Cuomo and the legislature must pass, and begin implementation of, a full-blown congestion-pricing plan first thing in 2019. The billion-dollars plus in annual revenue that such a plan would yield can be bonded in order to service some $20 billion in capital investment, which will go a long way to modernizing the subway system’s ancient signaling. It will also help speed up buses by reducing driving, especially into Manhattan’s core.

Making sure that a portion of the revenue generated by congestion pricing is invested immediately in projects that extend new service to transit deserts will help accommodate people who will choose to leave their cars at home. In turn, City Hall can take significant steps to help improve bus service, by ratcheting up the roll out of Select Bus Service, dedicating more exclusive street space to buses, making sure bus-only lanes are kept clear, and giving buses signal priority.

Most of all, fixing the MTA will require resolute political will. Some elected officials have said they oppose congestion pricing because it won’t completely solve the MTA’s funding problem on its own, which is a bit like declining chemotherapy because your cancer treatment also requires radiation therapy. No, congestion pricing alone won’t fix everything, but it’s a critical piece of a comprehensive solution to funding transit.

Governor Cuomo and the leaders of the Assembly and State Senate must act now to outline a plan that includes all the details of how the MTA’s budget needs will be met. We must be willing to do what it takes to fix our subways and buses – the future of New York City depends on it.

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StreetsPAC's Testimony to City Council on Curbs, Curb Extensions & the George Washington Bridge

StreetsPAC Executive Director Eric McClure presented the following testimony today to the New York City Council's Committee on Transportation, at its oversight hearing on curbs and sidewalks:

Thank you for the opportunity to share our thoughts on oversight of curbs and sidewalks. StreetsPAC would like to express its support for several of the measures under consideration today by the Committee.

Intro 0131-2018 & Intro 0953-2018 – Support

We support Intros 0131-2018 and 0953-2018, which together would place greater restrictions on the creation of curb cuts, and compel the restoration of illegally removed curbs.

There are likely thousands of illegal curb cuts citywide, many of which undoubtedly create unsafe conditions for pedestrians. We support requiring property owners to restore curbs where they’ve been illegally removed, as well as mandating community notification for planned curb cuts. Personally, as someone who tried in vain to oppose a neighbor’s curb cut – implemented on a block that already had two existing curb cuts, and for no other reason than the owner’s desire to have a private parking space – I urge the committee to lend its support to this legislation.

Intro 0237-2018 – Support

We also support Intro 0237-2018, which would require the city to implement curb extensions at certain dangerous intersections.

Curb extensions have been shown to significantly improve pedestrian safety, both by shortening the distance pedestrians must travel across an intersection, and by providing increased visibility through daylighting. Curb extensions are the type of treatment that should be a high priority under Vision Zero.

Requiring the implementation of curb extensions at a minimum of five intersections in each borough annually would set the city on a path to having a robust program for creating these important aspects of safety infrastructure.

Intro T2018-1956 – Support

We also support Intro T2018-1956, which would require the city to paint curbs adjacent to fire hydrants and bus stops to alert motorists that they can’t park, stand or stop there.

While drivers in New York City should be aware of the rules governing parking near hydrants and bus stops, it’s clear from their behavior that many are ignorant, or dismissive, of the law. As much as the additional delineation of curbs will help drivers avoid parking illegally, it will also help police and traffic enforcement agents identify illegal parking, and issue summonses accordingly. Too often, police and TEAs give motorists the benefit of the doubt, and since illegal parking creates safety hazards around hydrants and bus stops, we support any effort at more rigorous enforcement.

One caution, however – we would vigorously oppose allowing drivers to cite absence of paint or the wearing of painted curbs as an affirmative defense in contesting a summons. We would urge that such language be included in an amended bill. This legislation should in no way be construed as a way of alleviating driver responsibility for illegal parking.

Resolution 0103-2018 – Support

Lastly, we strongly support Resolution 0103-2018, which calls upon the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to widen the multi-use paths across the George Washington Bridge.

The planned renovations to the George Washington Bridge present a generational opportunity to increase access for pedestrians, runners, and cyclists, who are using the bridge in ever-increasing numbers. The GWB is the only walkable and bike-able connection between northern New Jersey and New York City, and now carries nearly 4,000 cyclists on weekends, on a path that is among the narrowest bridge crossings in New York City.

A widened path would also have tourism and resiliency benefits. Let’s not miss this crucial opportunity to bring George Washington Bridge access into the 21st century. We urge the committee, and the full Council, to pass this resolution without hesitation.

 

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StreetsPAC-Endorsed Candidates Sweep Election Day!

StreetsPAC-Endorsed Candidates All Won Their Races on Tuesday; Ballot Proposals Win Big, Too

Proving that safe streets and pro-transit positions aren't just good policy, but good politics as well, all 10 State Senate and Assembly candidates endorsed by StreetsPAC won their races in Tuesday's election, including Andrew Gounardes, who upset eight-term Republican State Senator Marty Golden in Brooklyn's 22nd Senate District. While that outcome has not been certified as of this morning, Andrew has claimed victory, and it's virtually certain that his winning margin will hold once all remaining ballots are counted.

In addition to our 10 candidate endorsements, we officially backed New York City Ballot Proposals 1 and 3, both of which passed overwhelmingly. Ballot Prop 1 will lead to some significant campaign-finance reforms, while Ballot Prop 3 will implement a number of positive changes for the city's Community Boards, including term limits.

Tuesday's outcome was by far StreetsPAC's best result in State Legislative races since we launched in 2013. To go 10-0 with candidate endorsements and 2-0 on the ballot proposals was unprecedented, but the most important development was our work to help elect Andrew Gounardes.

Andrew is currently ahead by a bit more than 1,000 votes, and some 70 StreetsPAC volunteers knocked on about 5,000 doors over the past two months. In addition, street safety was a central issue in the race – perhaps the most important issue – and the candidates' positions couldn't have been more divergent. It's not a stretch to think that our efforts, and our issues, made the difference in a close election.

Our field organizer, Blythe Austin, did a remarkable job of recruiting, organizing and training our dedicated and talented volunteers. More than 70 people came out to help over the course of the campaign, many of you among them. Quite a few people showed up to canvass on multiple occasions. For all of you who took part, and for Blythe, we are immensely and eternally grateful. This victory is your victory, and shows the power of this movement. Thank you!

Soon, we'll begin looking toward the special election for Public Advocate early next year, and elections for District Attorney in the Bronx, Queens and on Staten Island next fall, as well as to fundraising, in order to replenish and expand our resources for future efforts (you can help kickstart that effort by donating now).

For today, though, we can congratulate ourselves and be proud of what we’ve accomplished this election cycle. Thanks for being a part of it.

And one last time, here are the candidates whom we endorsed in Tuesday's general election. Our heartfelt congratulations to all!

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StreetsPAC General Election Voter Guide

Good morning! Today is Election Day! The polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and anyone registered to vote in New York State may cast a ballot. So long as you are in line to vote by 9 p.m., you cannot be turned away from the polls.

In the culmination of a process that began in the spring, and included a detailed questionnaire and in-depth, personal candidate interviews, StreetsPAC has endorsed 10 candidates in this general election, five running for the State Senate, and five for the Assembly. You can learn more below about each of the candidates whom we've endorsed, and the projects and issues they've committed to advancing as members of the Legislature, as well as why we support New York City Ballot Proposals 1 and 3 (remember to #FlipYourBallot!).

Your vote for safe, complete and livable streets, and reliable, efficient and affordable mass transit, may very well make the difference in deciding the outcome of your local Senate or Assembly race – and in helping to shape the future of progressive transportation policies in New York.

To check your voter-registration status, confirm your polling location, and to see a sample ballot, please visit voting.nyc. Your trip to the polls should take only a few minutes, and there is so much riding on this crucial mid-term election. Please vote. And if you have the opportunity, please vote for one of the outstanding candidates endorsed by StreetsPAC.

Meet the Candidates: State Senate | State Assembly | Ballot Proposals

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Six Days Until the Election – Vote the StreetsPAC Slate!

The Election is Six Days Away – Make Your Voting Plan and Pull the Lever for StreetsPAC-Endorsed Candidates!

We're just six days away from the 2018 general election, on Tuesday, November 6th. You can confirm your voter-registration status, find your polling location, and see a sample ballot at voting.nyc. Most importantly, please make a plan to vote – there's a lot riding on the outcome, especially as it pertains to making our streets safer and improving our public transit system.

And if you are registered in one of the districts in which we've made an endorsement, please be sure to vote for the StreetsPAC candidate! Meet our 10 endorsees below – five for State Senate, and five for the Assembly.

AlessandraBiaggi.jpgAlessandra Biaggi, 34th Senate District, Bronx (Democratic Primary Winner) – Biaggi, a Bronx native who was Deputy National Operations Director for Hillary Clinton's 2016 Presidential run, upset Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein in September's primary. She's pledged support for a comprehensive congestion-pricing plan consistent with the Move NY and FixNYC proposals, and wants to see Albany pass legislation that would increase penalties for hit-and-run drivers. She will also advocate for reinstatement and an increase in the number of speed cameras authorized for New York City, as well as the elimination of restrictions governing their operation.

AndrewGounardesLarge.jpgAndrew Gounardes, 22nd Senate District, Brooklyn (Democratic Primary Winner) – Gounardes, a native of Bay Ridge and Counsel to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, is facing Republican State Senator Marty Golden in the general election. Gounardes has made street safety a core element of his campaign – he supports placing speed cameras in all of New York City's school zones, wants the city to accelerate street redesigns to prioritize safety, and backs requiring defensive-driving courses or driving refreshers with every license renewal. He also supports congestion pricing, and is adamant that every subway station should be accessible.

JuliaSalazar.jpgJulia Salazar, 18th Senate District, Brooklyn (Democratic Primary Winner) – Salazar, a community organizer, won the September primary against incumbent Senator Martin Malavé Dilan in North Brooklyn's 18th District. She's committed to improving the transit system, including upgrading bus service in the district, accelerating the MTA's station-accessibility efforts, and ensuring that every resident of North Brooklyn has ready access to public transit during the L train shutdown. She'll also vote to reinstate and expand the city's speed camera program, and will support a congestion-pricing plan that funds a better transit system while protecting low-income drivers who have no other means of getting to work.

RobertJackson.jpgRobert Jackson, 31st Senate District, Manhattan (Democratic Primary Winner) – Jackson, who served for 12 years in the City Council, defeated first-term State Senator Marisol Alcantera in the September primary. Jackson is a backer of congestion pricing, and supports residential parking permits as a means of combatting the influx of park-and-ride drivers who routinely flood upper Manhattan. He also wants to see the city's lapsed speed camera program renewed and expanded, and is committed to pursuing improvements to the Hudson River Greenway.

ZellnorMyrie.jpgZellnor Myrie, 20th Senate District, Brooklyn (Democratic Primary Winner) – Myrie, a lawyer and activist, won his September primary race against incumbent Jesse Hamilton. Myrie supports congestion pricing, and plans to advocate for implementation of Select Bus Service in East Flatbush and Brownsville. He will also back legislation that would limit the ability of consistently dangerous drivers to remain behind the wheel, with an emphasis on restorative justice. He wants to see Linden Boulevard redesigned with pedestrian safety upgrades and protected bike lanes, and supports a Vision Zero makeover for the irregular triangles at the confluence of Howard, Pitkin and East New York Avenues in Brownsville.

BrianBarnwell.jpgBrian Barnwell, 30th Assembly District, Queens (Incumbent/Democratic Primary Winner) – Barnwell, one of the younger members of the Assembly, won his central Queens seat in 2016 by upsetting a long-term incumbent, and handily won a competitive primary in September. He supports implementation of Select Bus Service on major avenues in Maspeth and Middle Village, and wants to see the city's school speed safety camera program renewed and expanded. He's also been working with the MTA to implement transit improvements in his district using state multi-modal transportation funds.

CatalinaCruz.jpgCatalina Cruz, 39th Assembly District, Queens (Democratic Primary Winner) – Cruz, the first DREAMer to run for office in New York State, is an attorney who served as Chief of Staff to former City Council Finance Chair Julissa Ferraras-Copeland. She bested incumbent Assemblymember Ari Espinal in September. Cruz supports congestion pricing, and reinstatement and expansion of the city's speed camera program. She wants to see Select Bus Service implemented along Junction Boulevard, and supports passage of legislation that would increase penalties for drivers who flee crashes. She also believes that New York City should have control of the subways and city buses.

HarveyEpstein.jpgHarvey Epstein, 74th Assembly District, Manhattan (Incumbent/Democratic Primary Winner) – Epstein, who won a special election in April to succeed Brian Kavanagh in this east side district, is now running for a full term. Prior to winning office, he built a distinguished career as a public-interest lawyer and community organizer. Epstein has already made his mark in Albany by introducing a bill that would remove caps on the number of bus-lane and red-light cameras in New York City, and he supports congestion pricing and the renewal and expansion of the city's speed-camera program. He's also an advocate for a robust plan for dealing with the impending L train shutdown.

JoAnneSimon.jpgJo Anne Simon, 52nd Assembly District, Brooklyn (Incumbent) – Simon is running for election to a third term in the Assembly, where she serves on the Transportation Committee, and she's been an advocate for safe streets and better transit for decades. She's an original co-sponsor of the bill supporting the Move New York congestion-pricing plan, and is adamant about the need to reinstate and expand New York City's speed-camera program. In addition, Simon is the lead sponsor of a bill that would authorize the city of New York to establish a residential parking-permit system.

RobertCarrollLarge2.pngRobert Carroll, 44th Assembly District, Brooklyn (Incumbent) – Carroll, who won his Assembly seat in 2016 with StreetsPAC's backing, has quickly established himself as a transit and safe-streets champion. He's pledged to continue to lead the fight for passage of a comprehensive congestion-pricing plan, and is committed to working to bring runaway MTA capital costs in line with those of other major transit systems. He supports reinstatement and expansion of the city's speed camera effort, and will continue to advocate for legislation aimed at getting dangerous drivers off the road.

#FlipYourBallot! We Encourage You to Vote Yes on Ballot Proposal 3 for Community Board Term Limits.

Please remember to flip over your ballot when you're voting, as there are three ballot proposals on the reverse side. We encourage you to vote yes on Ballot Proposal 3, which, among other reforms, would establish term limits for Community Board members.

Our friends at Reinvent Albany provided the following statement to the New York City Campaign Finance Board summarizing the benefits of a yes vote on Proposal 3:

A yes vote on Question 3 generally establishes term limits for community board members of four consecutive two-year terms. It will require borough presidents, who appoint community board members, to create a standardized application for appointment and to document their marketing of vacant community board positions.

A yes vote on this question will result in community boards that are more diverse and representative of the communities they serve. This will help ensure a robust discussion of land use matters before the board, and that voices in the community are heard. All residents will experience a fairer application process and have a better opportunity to serve the community on the board.

Please note that several StreetsPAC board members also serve on their respective Community Boards.

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Tonight! Join Us for Our Andrew Gounardes Fundraiser!

One last reminder that tonight, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., we're hosting a critically important fundraiser for Andrew Gounardes.

We've been making the case – repeatedly, we know – about how important this race is, not only for life-saving safe-streets programs like school-based speed cameras, but for better public transit and a host of other progressive policies, both in New York City and throughout New York State.

Andrew's run for the State Senate is a "Golden" opportunity to win the seat that would lead to a long list of positive changes, but he needs our help to overcome Marty Golden's three-to-one advantage in campaign cash. And tonight is a great chance for you to help make a difference.

We can't let this opportunity to elect a safe-streets and transit champion slip away for want of a few dollars. Please join us tonight and give generously. If you can't be there in person, you can be there in spirit by contributing via the link below.

To RSVP for the fundraiser (more details below), you can send an email to Koren Frankfort at koren@andrewgounardes.com.

To contribute right now, please visit https://secure.actblue.com/donate/streetspac4andrew#.

Let's send Andrew to the State Senate. Thank you.

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Canvassing for Andrew's Campaign with StreetsPAC

You can also help Andrew's chances by signing up with StreetsPAC to canvass voters between now and November 6th. We're sending teams out to the 22nd State Senate District multiple times each week. We'll give you a StreetsPAC t-shirt, and if you join us this coming Sunday afternoon, we'll even spring for pizza. Sign up here!

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Reminders: Andrew Gounardes Fundraiser Monday; Register to Vote Today!

Join Us Monday to Support Andrew Gounardes!

Just a quick reminder that this coming Monday, October 15, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., we're hosting a critically important fundraiser for Andrew Gounardes.

No race in New York State has more riding on it than Andrew's campaign to oust long-entrenched State Senator Marty Golden. The outcome has major ramifications for the future of the city's speed safety cameras, for a host of other street-safety issues, for public transit, and for many other concerns facing New Yorkers.

Andrew has an excellent chance of winning this race, but he faces one daunting hurdle: Marty Golden holds a three-to-one fundraising advantage.

That's where we, together, can make an important difference. Don't let this opportunity to elect a safe-streets and transit champion come up short. Please join us on Monday and give generously. We can win this race.

To RSVP for the fundraiser (more details below), please send an email to Koren Frankfort at koren@andrewgounardes.com.

To make a contribution online, please visit https://secure.actblue.com/donate/streetspac4andrew# today.

So much is riding on the outcome of this race. Please help us turn the tide in Andrew's favor. Thank you.

GounardesFundraiserOct15.jpg

You can also help Andrew's campaign by signing up with StreetsPAC to canvass voters between now and November 6th. We're sending teams out to the 22nd State Senate District multiple times each week. Sign up here!

Voter Registration Deadline Today!

If you're not already registered to vote in New York State, today is the last day for you to submit a voter-registration form that will allow you to vote in the November 6th general election.

For all the information you need to register, including downloadable forms that must be mailed today, please visit NYC Votes: www.nyccfb.info/nyc-votes/registering. Don't delay, register today!

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Please Join Us Monday for a Critically Important Fundraiser for Andrew Gounardes!

Please join us on Monday, October 15, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., for a fundraiser for Andrew Gounardes.

No race in New York State has more riding on it than Andrew's campaign to oust long-entrenched State Senator Marty Golden.

We have the opportunity to elect a leader who will push to expand the life-saving speed camera program to every school in New York City, a program that his opponent has undermined and obstructed at every turn.

We have the chance to elect a leader who has put pedestrian safety and improved public transit at the top of his campaign agenda, while his opponent has demonstrated contempt for vehicular laws in racking up a series of dangerous-driving violations.

And finally, we have a duty to elect a State Senate majority that will prioritize the safer streets and better transit that all New York City residents deserve, instead of the obstructionists pushing a suburbs-first agenda.

Andrew has an excellent chance of winning this race and accomplishing all of those things, but it won't be easy. It's very possible that the outcome will hinge on the issue of safe streets.

But Andrew's many advantages could be undone by one simple, and glaring, disadvantage: Marty Golden holds a three-to-one fundraising advantage.

That's why Monday's fundraiser is so critical, and it's an easy way for you to make an important and immediate difference. Please don't let this opportunity to send a safe-streets and transit champion to Albany come up short. Please join us on Monday and give generously. We can win this.

To RSVP, please send an email to Koren Frankfort at koren@andrewgounardes.com.

To contribute online, please visit https://secure.actblue.com/donate/streetspac4andrew# today.

Let's not squander this "Golden" opportunity to improve New York City's streets and transit system.

GounardesFundraiserOct15.jpg

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Please Join Us for a Fundraiser for Andrew Gounardes!

Please join us on Monday, October 15, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., for a fundraiser for Andrew Gounardes.

Andrew, whom we formally endorsed on September 20, is running against long-entrenched State Senator Marty Golden. A win for Andrew could not only lead to expansion of New York City's life-saving school speed camera program, but could also be instrumental in flipping control of the State Senate to the Democratic Party, which could have significant ramifications for a host of important street-safety and pro-transit initiatives.

The race may very well turn on the issue of safe streets – Andrew has made pedestrian safety and improved subway service centerpieces of his campaign, while Golden has compiled an abysmal personal driving record while failing to advocate for public transit improvements despite having sat for years on the MTA Capital Program Review Board.

Gounardes has an excellent chance of winning this race, but make no mistake: it's an uphill battle. Because the outcome may also turn on money – Golden holds a three-to-one fundraising advantage over Andrew. That's why our fundraiser is so critical, and why we need your help. In all of New York City, this is the key race between now and election day.

To RSVP, please send an email to Koren Frankfort at koren@andrewgounardes.com.

To make a contribution, please visit https://secure.actblue.com/donate/streetspac4andrew# today!

Let's not miss this "Golden" opportunity to improve New York City's streets and transit system. Thank you.

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