Focus On: Mark Levine (Council District 7, Manhattan)

This is the latest installment in our spotlight series on StreetsPAC endorsed candidates. 

mark_levine.jpgMark Levine strongly supports improving travel times for all 125th Street bus lines through implementation of Select Bus Service.  He’ll champion the expansion of Citi Bike to all of northern Manhattan and work with community stakeholders to extend northwards the complete-streets package of pedestrian safety improvements, landscaping, protected bike paths and other amenities that have already taken root on Columbus Avenue.

 

StreetsPAC: What is the biggest transportation issue facing your district?

Mark Levine: 125th St. is a vital commercial corridor uptown, but vehicle congestion there is so bad that currently buses there travel on average slower than walking speed.  One great way to improve this situation: establish Select Bus Service with a dedicated bus lane stretching along the full length of 125th St. from river to river. The Deptartment of Transportation recently proposed creating just such a service on the M60, but the plan was recently shelved because of lack of support among local elected officials.  I strongly believe this SBS plan should be immediately implemented, for the sake of local residents, local businesses, and the environment.

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StreetsPAC Announces Fourth Round of Endorsements

StreetsPAC today announced its fourth round of candidate endorsements for New York City’s September primary election, backing longtime livable-streets supporter Gale Brewer for Manhattan Borough President, sitting Councilmembers Dan Garodnick and Rosie Mendez for additional terms, and Ede Fox and Chris Banks in highly competitive Council races in Brooklyn.

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Focus On: Ritchie Torres (Council District 15: Bronx)

This is the fourth installment in our spotlight series on StreetsPAC endorsed candidates.

ritchie_torres.jpg“I’m a walker,” says Ritchie Torres. “The car should not be the center of urban life.”  As a child in the Bronx, Torres grew up with asthma as a result of the pollution spewed by traffic on the Cross Bronx Expressway.  He will work to improve health in his district through the transformation of major thoroughfares, like the Grand Concourse and East Tremont Avenue, into complete streets with room for transit users, cyclists, and pedestrians.  He will also aim to improve the walking experience around Arthur Avenue, a mecca for visitors.

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Focus On: Mel Wymore (Council District 6: Manhattan)

This is the third installment in our spotlight series on StreetsPAC endorsed candidates.

mel_wymore.jpgDuring his first term as Chair of Manhattan Community Board 7 in 2010, Mel Wymore championed the plan to transform a one-mile stretch of Columbus Avenue into a complete street.  Thanks to that effort, the entire length of Columbus is now getting the safe-streets treatment.  Wymore pledges to lead the way on a similar transformation of Amsterdam Avenue, and avenues citywide.  Wymore, who advocated for a borough-wide car-free Central Park resolution in 2011, plans to work to remove cars permanently from the park.

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StreetsPAC Announces Third Round of Endorsements

StreetsPAC today announced its third round of candidate endorsements for New York City’s September primary election, placing its support behind the City Council campaigns of four candidates contesting open seats, Kirsten John Foy, Mark Levine, Ritchie Torres and Mel Wymore; endorsing Councilmember Brad Lander for re-election; and making its first foray into a citywide race by backing Letitia James’s run for Public Advocate.

“In endorsing Brad Lander for re-election and Tish James for Public Advocate, we’re recognizing two of the City Council’s most outspoken supporters of complete and livable streets,” said Eric McClure, StreetsPAC’s treasurer.  “Brad has championed smart traffic-calming projects like the redesigns of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park West and Fourth Avenue, pushed for more thorough NYPD crash investigations, and has called for expanded pedestrian and cyclist access to the Brooklyn Bridge.  He’s set a high standard for smart transportation advocacy in the Council.”

One Council peer who has lived up to that standard is Letitia James, whom StreetsPAC is endorsing in the hotly contested race for Public Advocate.  “Tish has fought hard to improve the streets of her district,” said Mike Epstein, a StreetsPAC board member.  “She was an early proponent of the Grand Army Plaza redesign, supported creation of the Fowler Square Plaza, and stood up in a big way for bike share.  As Public Advocate, she’ll take the fight for safe, complete streets citywide.”

The four first-time Council candidates gaining StreetsPAC’s endorsement today are just as impressive in their own rights as James and Lander.  Mel Wymore and Mark Levine, running in Manhattan’s 6th and 7th Council districts, respectively, have been instrumental in bringing safer streets to the Upper West Side in leadership roles on their local Community Boards.  Kirsten John Foy has a distinguished career in public service under his belt, and Ritchie Torres boasts a resumé that belies the fact that, at just 24, he’s the youngest candidate running for city office.

“We’re excited about each and every one of these candidates,” said StreetsPAC co-founder Peter Frishauf.  “They’re all deeply committed to making their districts safer places for people on foot, on bikes, on transit and in cars.   We’re looking forward to a City Council in 2014 that will make livable streets a top priority.”

Here’s more background on today’s StreetsPAC endorsees: 

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StreetsPAC Announces its 2013 Mayoral Questionnaire

The StreetsPAC 2013 Mayoral Questionnaire is an opportunity for those running for the Office of Mayor of New York to outline their vision for creating safe, complete, and livable streets to ensure the well-being of all New Yorkers and keep our city competitive in the 21st century. Candidates' answers will help inform StreetsPAC endorsement and donation policy in the 2013 election.

The overview is a must-read for anyone who wants to be well-informed about progressive, people-first, complete-streets urban policy.  Candidates will also have the chance to make specific policy proposals, respond to topical questions, and prioritize approaches to various transportation-related issues.  

The questionnaire is available for download at http://www.streetspac.org/questionnaire.  

Responses are due by August 5 at noon for consideration.

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StreetsPAC rides Brooklyn with Antonio Reynoso and Carlos Menchaca

StreetsPAC supporters rode strong despite a high of 95 degrees with candidates Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Bushwick/Williamsburg) and Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Sunset Park/Red Hook). The StreetsPAC-organized ride started in East Williamsburg, passed through Bushwick, and traveled through several Brooklyn neighborhoods on the way toward Red Hook and Sunset Park. Selected stops along the way allowed for discussion of the existing streets and infrastructure, and changes that will improve safety and connectivity as well as incentivize people to get moving through their neighborhoods on foot and bike.

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StreetsPAC Volunteers Support Margaret Chin

StreetsPAC Volunteers joined up with Margaret Chin's campaign Friday in Chinatown to canvass for the councilmember's re-election. The councilwoman chose the intersection of Bowery and Canal to highlight the dangers of vehicular traffic coming off and on the Manhattan Bridge. The councilmember knows the dangers of the intersection first-hand as she's lost one of her own supporters to traffic violence at this intersection. While Chin has been able to work with the community, its leaders, and the Department of Transportation to improve pedestrian safety through various traffic calming efforts (landscaped medians along Bowery, shortened crosswalks, and new street markings to direct on-ramp traffic), the councilwoman continues to fight for more pedestrian-focused improvements.

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StreetsPAC Announces Second Round of Endorsements

StreetsPAC today announced its second round of candidate endorsements for New York City’s September primary election, giving its enthusiastic backing to City Council incumbents Margaret Chin, Stephen Levin and Mark Weprin, as well State Assemblymember Vanessa Gibson, who’s running for an open Council seat in the Bronx.

“The four candidates we’re endorsing today have all made big strides in embracing safe- and complete-streets policies,” said Dave “Paco” Abraham, a co-founder of StreetsPAC.  “They share our belief that New York City’s public spaces should be safe and vibrant.  We look forward to working closely with them on their campaigns, and after they’re elected, to make our streets more livable.”

“As with our first endorsees, this is a diverse group of candidates who represent very different neighborhoods, from the skyscrapers of Lower Manhattan to the farthest reaches of Eastern Queens,” said StreetsPAC co-founder Doug Gordon.  “But they’re united by a common desire to pursue policies that will save their constituents’ lives, like the implementation of Neighborhood Slow Zones.” 

Here are more details on today’s StreetsPAC endorsees:

Margaret Chin, Council District 1, Manhattan (Incumbent) – Chin has been fighting for safe and livable streets in Lower Manhattan.  Chin wants to work closely with Sam Schwartz to advance his Move NY equitable transportation formula, which would implement fair pricing throughout the city and support better transportation infrastructure.  Chin submitted an application to implement a Neighborhood Slow Zone in Battery Park City, and will fight for similar improvements on the Lower East Side.

Vanessa Gibson, Council District 16, Bronx (Open Seat) – Gibson was elected to the NY State Assembly in 2009, and was a fierce proponent of the successful effort in Albany this year to bring speed cameras to NYC.  She also supports a host of district-wide safety measures, such as countdown clocks, speed bumps, and increased enforcement in both residential and commercial areas.  She sees Slow Zones as a way to reduce speeding and believes new public plazas will enhance neighborhood connectivity.  She'll also be working to make the new Webster Avenue Select Bus Service a success and is very excited about the re-opening of the High Bridge bike and pedestrian connection to Upper Manhattan. 

Stephen Levin, Council District 33, Brooklyn (Incumbent) – Levin has established a reputation as one of the City Council's staunchest advocates for safe and livable streets.  He has introduced legislation to expand the size of the NYPD's Collision Investigation Squad, pushed for traffic calming on some of Brooklyn's most dangerous streets, and championed Brooklyn's first Neighborhood Slow Zone, in Boerum Hill.  One of the Council’s first Citi Bike annual members, he recently launched a petition calling on the city to expand the bike-sharing system to Greenpoint.  Levin is committed to leading the effort to transform Jay Street, a critical but dysfunctional pedestrian, transit and cycling corridor that runs through his district, into a model complete-street that safely serves the needs of all users.

Mark Weprin, Council District 23, Queens (Incumbent) – Weprin wants to see car-dependent Eastern Queens become much more accessible via transit.  He wants the neighborhoods in his district to flourish with livable streets for all, and as a father, he seeks the peace of mind that his teenage son will be able to safely ride his bicycle to the subway or Long Island Railroad.  To help achieve this vision, Weprin will champion legislation in the city council to ensure serious consequences for drivers who, through their own negligence, hop curbs and strike pedestrians on sidewalks.  He’ll also call for the expansion of bike share, and seeks to bring 20 MPH Neighborhood Slow Zones to his Council district.

For more information, and to sign up for volunteer opportunities this election season, click here to get involved with StreetsPAC.

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StreetsPAC Anuncia su Segunda Ronda de Respaldos

StreetsPAC anunció hoy su segunda ronda de respaldo a candidatos en las elecciones primarias de la Ciudad de Nueva York, dando su apoyo entusiasta a los Concejales Margaret Chin, Stephen Levin y Mark Weprin que buscan la reelección, así como a la Miembro de la Asamblea del Estado Vanessa Gibson, que aspira a un puesto abierto de Concejal en el Bronx. 

“Los cuatro candidatos que estamos respaldando hoy han dado grandes pasos en adoptar políticas para calles seguras y completas,” dijo Dave “Paco” Abraham, uno de los cofundadores de StreetsPAC. “Comparten nuestra idea de que los espacios públicos de la Ciudad de Nueva York deben ser seguros y vibrantes. Esperamos trabajar con ellos, en sus campañas y después de que sean elegidos, para hacer nuestras calles más vivibles.”

“Al igual que nuestra primera ronda de respaldos, este es un grupo diverso de candidatos que representa variados vecindarios, desde los rascacielos del Bajo Manhattan hasta los confines del Este de Queens,” dijo otro cofundador de StreetsPAC, Doug Gordon. “Pero les une el deseo común de aplicar políticas que salvarán vidas de sus constituyentes, como la implementación de Zonas Lentas en Vecindarios.”

Algunos detalles adicionales sobre nuestros respaldados:

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