Progressive Caucus Bike to Work Day; Car-Free Earth Day 2.0; Amsterdam Avenue

Bike to Work May 16 with the City Council's Progressive Caucus & StreetsPAC

On May 16, we'll be joining the Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council for their 3rd annual Bike to Work Day!

We'll be helping to lead some feeder rides from different points around the city (stay tuned to StreetsPAC.org@StreetsPAC and Facebook for more details), and teaming up with the Progressive Caucus and other advocacy groups for a rally at City Hall at 10:00 a.m.

If you've ever wanted to do a bike lift on the steps of City Hall, this is your chance! Join us!

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Pledge to Go Car-Free for Earth Day; Plaza Bill Becomes Law

Pledge to Go Car-Free for Earth Day

Tomorrow, Friday, April 22, New York City is going car-free for Earth Day!

The effort, championed by New York City Council Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez, encourages New York City's drivers to leave their cars at home tomorrow and choose alternate means of transportation to commute, run errands, or otherwise get about, be it by mass transit, on foot, or by bicycle.

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StreetsPAC Urges City Council to Pass Daylighting, Pedestrian Right-of-Way Bills, Back Car-Free Earth Day

We gave the following testimony to the New York City Council's Committee on Transportation at their April 4, 2016 hearing covering several pieces of legislation. 

Int. No. 912 – Requiring curb extensions at certain dangerous intersections (Support)

We offer our strong support for Intro 912, which would establish a curb-extensions program and require curb extensions at dangerous intersections.  The bottom line is that daylighting can save lives, by increasing visibility at corners for all street users, and curb extensions can be accomplished at low cost using temporary materials on an interim basis before being fully built out.

We do, however, believe the number of annual curb-extension projects called for in this legislation – a minimum of five per borough – is woefully inadequate, and would urge that the bill be amended to substantially raise the bar.  Ideally, curb extensions should be standard design at every intersection.

Regardless, though, we strongly support initiating a program for daylighting intersections, which we believe is critical to helping the city achieve Vision Zero.  Saving lives is well worth the cost of a few corner parking spaces.

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StreetsPAC Urges City Council to Pass Legislation on Pedestrian Plazas

At a hearing of the New York City Council's Committee on Transportation on Wednesday, March 30, StreetsPAC urged the Council to pass a bill introduced by Council Members Corey Johnson and Daniel Garodnick that would give the Department of Transportation the power to regulate activity in the city's pedestrian plazas.

Read our full testimony after the jump.

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Big Changes Coming to Chrystie Street; Streetfight Hits the Shelves; Peatónito Hits the Streets

Yesterday evening, the New York City Department of Transportation presented Manhattan Community Board 3's Transportation Committee with plans for a major redesign of Chrystie Street, a key route for the thousands of people who use the Manhattan Bridge bike path every day.

In February of 2015, StreetsPAC board member Dave 'Paco' Abraham pitched Manhattan CB3 on a concept for replacing Chrystie Street's paired (and frequently obstructed and badly pockmarked) Class II bike lanes with a parking-protected, two-way Class I bike path, running along the east side of Chrystie, adjacent to the linear Sara Roosevelt Park. The board's Transportation Committee endorsed the concept unanimously, and two weeks later, the full board, by a vote of 35-0, asked NYC DOT to study the idea, which had the backing of elected officials including State Senator Daniel Squadron, City Council Member Margaret Chinned Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

Then last fall, an anonymous group calling itself the "Transformation Dept." (NYC_DOTr on Twitter) created a pop-up protected path on Chrystie's northbound bike lane, using plastic safety cones and sunflowers. The temporary materials were enough to keep the lane clear of the vehicles that frequently obstruct it, and led to calls for the real NYC DOT to accelerate its efforts.

The waiting, at least as far as a plan goes, is now over.

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StreetsPAC Urges City Council, Mayor to Drop Central Park Pedicab Ban, Make Park Fully Car-Free

At a hearing today of the New York City Council's Committee on Transportation, StreetsPAC urged the Council and Mayor de Blasio to drop a provision in a proposed bill on reducing the number of horse-drawn carriages in the city that would ban pedicabs in Central Park below the 85th Street Transverse.

Rather than banning human-powered pedicabs, we strongly urged the Council and Administration to make Central Park fully, and permanently, car-free.  Motor vehicles were barred from the majority of Central Park's roadways in 2015, but are still permitted during certain hours between Central Park South and 72nd Streets.

Read our full testimony after the jump.

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StreetsPAC Testifies at City Council Oversight Hearing on Parking Systems

We delivered the following testimony today at the New York City Council's Committee on Transportation Oversight hearing on upgrading city parking systems for greater efficiency, safety, and reliability:

Implementing the right parking policies in New York City could be tremendously helpful in improving mobility, reducing congestion, making housing more affordable, lowering emissions, reducing dependency on automobiles, and moving us closer to achieving Vision Zero, among other benefits.

However, our views on parking aren’t keeping up with innovations in other areas of transportation policy, and we hope that today’s hearing is just the first of many devoted to tackling this thorny issue.  The City Council should be providing leadership on citywide parking policy when DOT isn’t acting aggressively enough.

Free and below-market-rate parking provides a huge subsidy to private vehicle owners at the expense of everyone else.  It encourages driving, and should be phased out, especially in the more densely populated areas of the city.

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StreetsPAC Testifies at City Council Oversight Hearing on Vision Zero

We delivered the following testimony today at the New York City Council's Committee on Transportation Oversight hearing evaluating the city's progress with Vision Zero:

When Mayor de Blasio, just two weeks into his term in January 2014, announced the formation of the interagency working group on Vision Zero, it marked the setting of an ambitious-yet-crucial mission for New York – to reduce traffic deaths to zero within 10 years.

To be sure, we’ve made some notable progress toward that goal.  Lowering the citywide speed limit to 25 miles per hour, activating the city’s full complement of speed cameras, passing a law that makes it a crime to violate the Right of Way of people on foot and on bikes, rendering the vast majority of the Central and Prospect Park drives car-free, and beginning the transformation of Queens’s notorious “Boulevard of Death” to a modern complete street are all important milestones.  Pedestrian deaths fell to a record low in 2014, and we just might reduce that number again this year.

While this is progress, we still must acknowledge that we have a long, long way to go on the road to Vision Zero.

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The 23rd Council District

On September 10th, registered Democratic voters in far eastern Queens will go to the polls to cast their votes in the 23rd Council District primary.  The winner will likely be a heavy favorite in the November special election to replace former Council Member Mark Weprin, who resigned earlier this year to join the Cuomo Administration.

The six candidates are a diverse bunch, and three seem to stand out as the leading contenders: Barry Grodenchik, a former Assemblyman who now works for Queens Borough President Melinda Katz; Rebecca Lynch, who recently left a senior post in Mayor de Blasio’s Community Affairs Unit; and Ali Najmi, an attorney and former aide to Weprin.

Despite the attractiveness of these candidates, however, StreetsPAC has decided against making an endorsement.  While Lynch and Najmi, especially, have spoken to the need to make transportation and street safety a priority if elected, none of the candidates were willing to pledge to oppose any and all attempts to weaken New York City’s right-of-way law, Section 19-190 of the Administrative Code, which has been under assault by the Transport Workers Union and its allies in the City Council and State Assembly.  We consider the right of way of vulnerable street users to be an essential, inalienable tenet of Vision Zero.  Furthermore, there’s precedent for strong street-safety cred in the 23rd Council District, since Mark Weprin was a co-sponsor of the Council legislation that created the right-of-way law (and an outspoken supporter of the Move NY plan, to boot).

Therefore, we will remain neutral in the race for the 23rd Council District, but we look forward to working closely with the eventual winner on addressing eastern Queens’s transportation needs and street-safety challenges – and on educating the future Council Member on the fundamental importance of the right-of-way law.

– The StreetsPAC Board

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StreetsPAC Wraps Up New York State Senate and Assembly Endorsements

StreetsPAC today announced three additional candidate endorsements for Tuesday’s general election, supporting the re-election campaigns of New York State Assemblymembers Dan Quart and Michaelle Solages, and the State Senate race of Adrienne Esposito, who’s running for an open seat on Long Island.

“We’re excited to make these three important endorsements before Tuesday’s election,” said David ‘Paco’ Abraham, a StreetsPAC board member.  “Dan Quart and Michaelle Solages are young, up-and-coming leaders in Albany, and they are firmly committed to making streets safer both in their districts and across the state.  And Adrienne Esposito is an experienced advocate who can help tip the balance towards smarter transportation policies in the Senate.”

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