StreetsPAC Joins Fellow Advocates to Release 2017 Transportation Agenda for Candidates

"Transportation and Equity: A 2017 Agenda for Candidates," Provides a Roadmap to Safer Streets and Better Transit

Yesterday, we joined the New York League of Conservation Voters, NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, Pratt Center for Community Development, Regional Plan Association, Riders Alliance, Transportation Alternatives and Tri-State Transportation Campaign in releasing "Transportation and Equity: A 2017 Agenda for Candidates," outlining steps that the City must take to ensure that New Yorkers have affordable, reliable transportation options and access to streets that are safe for all.

The agenda, the first of its kind developed by New York City's eight leading transportation advocacy organizations, identifies policy priorities for candidates for all New York City offices to champion. With elections for Mayor, Public Advocate and Comptroller, all 51 seats in the City Council and all five Borough Presidencies happening later this year, the platform outlines a series of achievable steps that the City can take to improve bus service, provide better access to affordable transit, improve conditions for bicycling and walking, and more – and they're all changes the City can make without having to seek permission from the State. The agenda is being shared with all candidates seeking office in New York City in this year's election.

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While only Governor Cuomo can fix the performance of the state-run MTA subway system, there are a number of steps the city's government can take to help New Yorkers get to work, school and other destinations – and gain better access to jobs and economic opportunity as a result. The agenda is a roadmap to safer streets and better transit that's achievable now, without meddling or obstruction from Albany.

The proposal calls on the city to:

  • Find Funding for Public Transportation by advocating for funding sources in Albany and identifying local solutions (such as real estate value capture) to address the transit funding crisis.
  • Provide Better Bus Service by implementing the local bus improvement recommendations of the Bus Turnaround Campaign and expanding the City’s Select Bus Service program.
  • Implement Affordable Access to Public Transportation by funding Fair Fares for low-income riders and reducing ticket prices for Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road riders who are traveling within city limits.
  • Double Bicycling by 2020 by building a citywide network of protected bike lanes and expanding affordable bike share to all five boroughs. 
  • Achieve Vision Zero by 2024 by prioritizing safety in all transportation and road-design decisions; fully funding Vision Zero and fixing known dangerous streets in all boroughs; ensuring that traffic enforcement is data-driven, effective, fair and just; and establishing clear metrics for reaching zero deaths and serious injuries.
  • Reallocate Street Space by eliminating parking minimums, reforming street parking and adopting new technologies for managing curb space.
  • Protect L Train Riders during the shut-down.  
You can read the entirety of "Transportation and Equity: A 2017 Agenda for Candidates" here. We're proud to have joined these outstanding organizations in laying out a vision for a more accessible, more equitable and safer New York City.

 

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StreetsPAC Strongly Supports Bill Requiring Installation of Bollards Around Schools, Plazas and Priority Intersections

StreetsPAC submitted the following testimony today to the New York City Council's Committee on Transportation:

StreetsPAC strongly supports Intro 1658, legislation that would require the Department of Transportation to install bollards adjacent to schools, pedestrian plazas and priority intersections.

Advocates have been warning about the need to physically protect pedestrians from motor vehicles for years.  Approximately 10% of pedestrian deaths in New York City occur when drivers of motor vehicles strike victims on sidewalks.  The fact that, historically, all but a handful of these incidents have been unintentional, offers little comfort to victims, or their families or friends.

And now a new threat imperils pedestrians.  Whether it’s a deliberate terror attack, as we’ve seen on multiple occasions in London over the past few months, and in Nice last summer, or the act of a mentally unstable individual, as we experienced firsthand in Times Square just a few weeks ago, a car or truck can be turned into a deadly weapon with no advance warning.

Alyssa Elsman, the young woman killed when Richard Rojas steered his car onto the sidewalk at 7th Avenue and 42nd Street on May 18, would likely be alive today if the bollards protecting the Thomson Reuters building at 3 Times Square had been placed at the curb line instead of along the building’s façade.  Thankfully, a metal bollard at the corner of 7th Avenue and 45th Street put an end to Rojas’s carnage.

People-protecting bollards are prevalent in many densely populated cities in Europe and around the globe.  And while protective bollards have been installed in numerous locations around New York City, in too many cases, as at 3 Times Square, they’ve been deployed to protect property rather than pedestrians.  As we’ve seen too often, the human body makes for a very “soft target” for a speeding car or truck.

As Transportation Alternatives wrote in “Rethinking Bollards,” their excellent 2007 white paper outlining how bollards can save lives and prevent injuries, “the potential to deploy bollards to protect pedestrians and enhance our public spaces… remains severely underexploited.”

We urge the Committee on Transportation to vote Intro 1658 out of committee as soon as possible, we urge the full Council to pass it quickly, and we urge Mayor de Blasio to sign it into law without delay.

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Join Us Today at City Hall to Rally for Citi Bike and Tonight for a Carlos Menchaca Fundraiser!

Rally to Expand Citi Bike Citywide, Today at 11 a.m. at City Hall!

Today at 11:00 a.m., we'll be on the steps of City Hall with New York City Council Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez, other members of the City Council, the Citi Bike for All Coalition and other advocates to rally for the expansion of Citi Bike to all five boroughs. And we hope you'll be there with us!

citibikecityhall.jpgCiti Bike's parent company, Motivate, has developed a plan to increase the number of bikes in the system from 12,000 to 18,000, which would allow for expansion to all five boroughs and additional bikes in the existing service area in order to improve access. The expansion plan would also include new technologies to further improve the system. And it would all happen at no additional cost to taxpayers (the city failed to include funding for Citi Bike expansion in the 2017-2018 budget, despite support for public funding from the City Council).

In just four years, New Yorkers have taken more than 43 million rides on Citi Bikes, including 14 million trips in 2016 alone. It's become an important cog in New York City's public transportation system, especially in providing a last-mile connection to other transit modes. The proposed expansion would potentially expand Citi Bike to the Bronx and Staten Island, and make Citi Bike accessible to hundreds of thousands of additional New Yorkers.

Please join us today at 11 a.m. on the steps of City Hall to voice your support for expanding Citi Bike!

Please Join StreetsPAC for a Fundraiser for City Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Tonight at 6:30 p.m.!

Tonight, we're teaming up with Doug Gordon, aka Brooklyn Spoke, to host a fundraiser for City Council Member Carlos Menchaca, who is running for reelection later this year.

CarlosStreetsPoll.jpgCarlos represents District 38 in Brooklyn, and holds the distinction of being one of the very first candidates StreetsPAC endorsed in 2013. He's been a terrific champion for safe-streets policies from his very first day in the City Council, and has a stellar voting record on progressive transportation issues.

Here are the details:

Carlos Menchaca Fundraiser
Wednesday, June 21
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
309 2nd Street #1B
Brooklyn, NY 11215

This fundraiser is intended to be accessible to as many people as possible, with a minimum requested contribution of just $25. If you've never attended a political fundraiser, this is a great opportunity to get your feet wet, especially if you might not have the resources to otherwise get involved. Of course, we urge you to give more if you can, and any amount up to $175 will be matched $6-to-$1 by the NYC Campaign Finance Program.

Please join us tonight! There's a public Facebook event page here at which you can RSVP, and please feel free to share the link with friends.

Photo credits: NYC Progressive Caucus, StreetsPAC

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Carlos Menchaca Fundraiser; NYPD & Cyclist Deaths; City Council Speed Camera Vote

Please Join Us! Fundraiser for City Council Member Carlos Menchaca, Wednesday, June 21, 6:30 p.m.

StreetsPAC board member Doug Gordon, whom many of you may know better by his nom de tweet and blog, Brooklyn Spoke, is holding a fundraiser next Wednesday for City Council Member Carlos Menchaca, and we have signed on as co-hosts.

CarlosStreetsPoll.jpgCarlos represents District 38 in Brooklyn (Sunset Park, Red Hook, and parts of Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Borough Park, Carroll Gardens, Dyker Heights, Gowanus, Greenwood, South Slope, and Windsor Terrace), and was one of the very first candidates we endorsed in 2013. He's more than lived up to his campaign promises, and has been a terrific champion for safe-streets policies from his very first day in the City Council.

In addition to his commitment to progressive transportation policies, as Doug writes, Carlos's "work extends to so many more issues that are of huge importance right now. Whether it's immigration, equality, workers' rights, or open government, he's on the right side every time."

Here are the details:

Carlos Menchaca Fundraiser
Wednesday, June 21
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
309 2nd Street #1B
Brooklyn, NY 11215

The minimum ask for the fundraiser is just $25. It's a low sum, designed to encourage as many people as possible to attend, especially anyone who might not have the resources to otherwise get involved. Of course, we urge you to give more if you can, and any amount up to $175 will be matched $6-to-$1 by the NYC Campaign Finance Program.

Please join us Wednesday! There's a public Facebook event page here at which you can RSVP, and please share it with your networks.
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City Council Testimony on Congestion; Questionnaire Deadline Extended; Carlos Menchaca Fundraiser

StreetsPAC Testifies at City Council Transportation Hearing on Traffic Congestion

This past Monday, the City Council's Committee on Transportation held an oversight hearing on ways that New York City can effectively address traffic congestion, and we were there to testify.

The big news from the hearing was the contention by Move New York lead organizer Alex Matthiessen and NYU Law School Professor Roderick Hills, summarized nicely in this Gothamist story from Emma Whitford, that New York City can implement a "home rule" version of the congestion-pricing plan without approval from Albany. New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg contended that city attorneys disagree, but several attorneys and law professors signed a letter to Council Transportation Chair Ydanis Rodriguez arguing that deference to the state is unfounded.

The home rule version of the plan, if enacted, would be Move New York-light, with $2.75 tolls charged on the East River bridges and along a river-to-river cordon at 60th Street in Manhattan. Supporters believe that it would generate about $1 billion in annual toll revenue, and help fund initiatives like Fair Fares, Citi Bike expansion and improved service in the city's transit deserts.

Our testimony focused on things that City Hall and NYC DOT could do right now to alleviate congestion, including charging smarter (read: higher) prices for curbside parking, reforming placard parking, implementing HOV restrictions on the East River bridges, giving priority to buses on city streets, tackling the exploding growth in ride-hailing services, and better managing truck deliveries.

You can read our complete testimony here.

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StreetsPAC Urges Action to Address Traffic Congestion in New York City

StreetsPAC testified at this past Monday's New York City Council Committee on Transportation oversight hearing on ways that New York City can effectively address traffic congestion. Here's what we had to say:

Traffic congestion is becoming an increasingly vexing problem for New York City. The elephant in the room, of course, is congestion pricing, which would be undoubtedly the most effective means of relieving congestion and discouraging car trips to Manhattan. Whether it’s the worthy Move New York plan or another variation, it’s high time for the State Legislature to pass a congestion-pricing plan for New York City, and for the Governor to sign it into law.  Even better would be legislation authorizing New York City to make its own decisions about road pricing.

Notwithstanding Albany’s inaction, there are a number of measures New York City can enact on its own to deal with congestion.  We’ve borrowed four of these verbatim from an article that David Meyer published on Streetsblog on February 15, entitled “4 Ways the Mayor Can Reduce Congestion Without Congestion Pricing,” since we couldn’t say it any better or more plainly than he did.

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Bike to Work Tomorrow; City Council Questionnaire; The High Cost of Off-Street Parking

Reminder! Bike to Work with StreetsPAC and the City Council's Progressive Caucus Tomorrow Morning!

Tomorrow morning, Wednesday, May 17, StreetsPAC will be joining members of the New York City Council's Progressive CaucusTransportation AlternativesGet Women Cycling and Bike New York for the Progressive Caucus's 4th annual Bike-to-Work event, and we hope you'll be there with us!

There are two feeder rides that will converge at City Hall for a rally at 9:00 a.m. The first meets up on the plaza behind Brooklyn Borough Hall at 8:00 a.m., and the other will gather on the 14th Street steps at Union Square in Manhattan at 8:30 a.m.  You will be able to bring your bikes inside City Hall's gates for the rally.

Please join us for this fun, casual ride and the chance to bike commute with a number of the City Council's most committed safe-streets supporters!

Please RSVP here.

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Bike to Work Day; 4th Avenue Workshop; 2017 City Council Questionnaire

Bike to Work with StreetsPAC and the City Council's Progressive Caucus next Wednesday, May 17!

Next Wednesday, May 17, StreetsPAC will be joining members of the New York City Council's Progressive CaucusTransportation AlternativesGet Women Cycling and Bike New York for the Progressive Caucus's 4th annual Bike-to-Work event.

There will be two feeder rides, one meeting up on the plaza behind Brooklyn Borough Hall at 8:00 a.m., and the other gathering on the 14th Street steps at Union Square in Manhattan at 8:30 a.m.  The rides will converge at City Hall for a rally at 9:00 a.m. Don't miss this one chance a year to park your bike on the steps of City Hall!

Please join us for this fun, casual ride and the chance to bike commute with a number of the City Council's most committed safe-streets supporters!

Please RSVP here.

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4th Avenue Workshops; Bike to Work with City Council Progressives; Ritchie Torres Fundraiser Update

NYC DOT Announces 4th Avenue Complete Street Design Workshops

The New York City Department of Transportation has announced two public design workshops in conjunction with its proposed complete-streets update to plans for Brooklyn's 4th Avenue. The new plan, announced a few weeks ago, includes additional pedestrian islands, new landscaping and greenery, parking-protected bike lanes and protected intersection treatments.

The details of the workshops are below:
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4th Avenue Design Update Workshop – Park Slope
Tuesday, May 2nd
6:30 p.m.
St. Thomas Aquinas Church
249 9th Street
(enter via 4th Avenue)

4th Avenue Design Update Workshop – Sunset Park
Thursday, May 11th
6:30 p.m.
Intermediate School 136 (Cafeteria)
(between 40th & 41st Streets)

This is your chance to weigh in on the final design of the complete-streets treatments for 4th Avenue, and to show your support for calming traffic and creating dedicated cycling space on what has historically been one of the city's most dangerous streets for people on foot and on bikes.

The proposed changes have the support of the City Council members whose districts adjoin the project area – Steve Levin, Brad Lander and Carlos Menchaca – as well as the backing of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

Following the public workshops, NYC DOT will present a final design recommendation to Community Boards 2, 6 and 7. It will be critical for supporters of the complete-street transformation of 4th Avenue to attend those presentations and voice support. We'll share details of the Community Board presentations, which are expected in May or June, once they're set.

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Speeding – Everybody's Doing It!; Save the Date for Ritchie Torres; Citi Bike Expansion; StreetsPoll Results

Health Department Study Reveals that 64% of Drivers Admit to Speeding on City Streets

In a study released last week by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), 64% of city drivers admitted to speeding while behind the wheel, while nearly one in five also copped to driving while distracted.

As Gothamist's David Colon reports, what makes the results of the study even more disturbing is that:

Despite the fact that all of the data was self-reported and offered ample opportunity to lie, 60 percent of drivers admitted that they sped, which was defined for the purposes of the survey as driving at least 10 miles above the speed limit. 13 percent of drivers said that they sped "often." 19 percent of drivers around the city said that they engage in distracted driving, which the survey defined as texting or emailing while driving.

Points for honesty, we guess.

DOHMH collected the data in 2015. As they point out in the prelude to the report, traffic crashes are a leading cause of preventable death in New York City, killing some 300 people a year, and speed and distraction are among the greatest contributing factors to crashes.

The report is a grim reminder of the need to re-engineer streets to protect vulnerable users, and the importance of automated speed enforcement. As Gothamist's Colon notes, "the speeding data comes at the same time as a debate is taking place around the speed limit on Ocean Parkway." State Senator Simcha Felder and Assembly Member Steven Cybrowitz have introduced legislation in Albany seeking to increase the speed limit on Ocean Parkway from 25 to 30 mph. You can sign a petition opposing that dangerously misguided effort here.

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