StreetsPAC Urges Public Funding for NYC Bike-Share System

We gave the following testimony to the New York City Council's Committee on Transportation at today's oversight hearing on the present and future of Citi Bike:

After a bumpy two years following its launch in 2013, there’s little dispute that New York City’s bike share system is now on a roll.  Through the second week of November, people have taken more than 12 and a half million rides on Citi Bikes in 2016 – a more than 25% increase from all of last year – and the system now boasts 120,000 annual members.

This past summer, Citi Bike continued its planned growth, expanding northward in Manhattan to 110th Street, and throughout Community Board 6 in Brooklyn, and thanks to that increased footprint and its additional bicycles, Citi Bike set a number of daily ridership records, hitting nearly 70,000 rides on several days last month.  Next spring, it will roll out further into Harlem, Queens and Brooklyn.

However, while Citi Bike’s present is bright, its future is a bit less clear.  No concrete public plans exist for further growth of the system once the Phase II expansion is complete in 2017.  Will Citi Bike top out at 12,000 bikes?  Or will it continue to grow to serve even more New Yorkers, delivering the convenience and efficiency of bike share to neighborhoods thirsting for reliable, low-cost transit options?

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Rough Road Ahead?; Arrest in von Ohlen Death; City Council Testimony; Kallos Fundraiser Postponed

Rough Road Ahead? Safer Streets and Better Transit in the Trump Years.

Whatever may come of a Trump presidency, there's little doubt that those of us who support safe-streets and pro-transit policies are in for a bit of a rough road.

That, though, is perhaps an inapt analogy. The roads might be the only things that aren't rough, given that the person appointed to lead Trump's "transportation and infrastructure" transition team is a lobbyist for the asphalt industry, as The New York Times reported, and on which Streetsblog USA elaborated, last week. In Trump's America, "transportation and infrastructure" seems to equate with roads and highways.

rough-road-ahead.jpgWhich is why, when the black veils come off (assuming you are mourning the results of the election), we're going to need you more than ever to help us move ahead.

As Ben Fried wrote most eloquently in his Monday morning Streetsblog post (if you haven't read it, we suggest you stop right now and click the link), infrastructure dollars for New York City and New York State may come with some completely untenable strings attached. And if that does become our reality, it will be more important than ever for us to elect city and state leaders who will have what it takes to make streets safer and transit better, faster and more reliable for all New Yorkers – without help from Washington.

When we launched StreetsPAC in 2013, we did so with the goal of electing representatives who would make New York City's streets and transit system safe and accessible to all people, regardless of age or ability or economic means or – and we didn't think this necessary to state at the time – ethnicity or gender or religion. All means all.

And we can do this, with or without a Trump administration's help. We can rally around our blocks and our neighborhoods and communities and our city, and continue to create and implement policies that make life better for the people who live and work and visit here. We've lowered our speed limit and built great bike lanes and pedestrianized Times Square and reduced traffic fatalities and made life better for everyone.

But we need to keep and put the right people in office to continue this progress, today more than ever. The citywide elections in 2017 now take on even greater import. And we need you with us.

We're not going to ask you for money today (though if you want to give, by all means please do!). But we will soon. And repeatedly. The post-election hangover is heavy, but before too long, we'll have to shake it off and get to the critical work that lies before us. We CAN do this, but we can only do it TOGETHER.

Thank you for your past, and future, support of StreetsPAC.

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StreetsPAC Urges City Council to Pass LPI-for-Bikes and Pedestrian-Safety Study Bills

We gave the following testimony to the New York City Council's Committee on Transportation at their November 15, 2016 hearing covering several pieces of legislation intended to make walking and biking safer and easier.

Int. No. 1072 – Bicyclists following pedestrian signals (Support)

We offer our strong support for Intro 1072, which would allow people on bikes to adhere to pedestrian signals at intersections.

This is a common-sense bill that would greatly improve the safety at intersections of people riding bicycles, by allowing them to proceed on green leading pedestrian intervals.  The measure should significantly reduce turning conflicts and “right-hook” collisions between motorists and people on bikes, while also allowing cyclists to safely establish themselves in drivers’ fields of vision when starting out from a signalized intersection.

This legislation would not require the installation of any type of special signal for cyclists, and would cost the city nothing, and it would normalize and codify a practice that is already common among people riding bikes, who frequently use LPIs as a head start for self-preservation.  Furthermore, it does not require any compromise in pedestrian safety, as a person crossing an intersection on foot would retain the right of way in relation to turning cyclists.

We urge you to advance Intro 1072 out of committee without delay.

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Matthew von Ohlen Petition; LPI-for-Bikes Bill; Vote November 8; Ben Kallos Fundraiser

Petition: Ask NYPD to Release Details of the Investigation into the Crash that Killed Matthew von Ohlen

Last week, we launched a petition asking NYPD Commissioner James P. O'Neill to order the department's Collision Investigation Squad and Brooklyn's 90th Precinct to update the public on the investigation into the July 2, 2016 hit-and-run crash that killed 35-year-old Brooklyn resident Matthew von Ohlen.

vonohlennydn.jpgVon Ohlen was struck and killed by the driver of a black, late-model Chevrolet Camaro as he was riding his bike home from work in Williamsburg's Grand Street bike lane. Police who reviewed surveillance video of the crash told WPIX TV that the driver appeared to slow down and steer into the bike lane, intentionally striking von Ohlen before running him over and dragging him 30 feet, then speeding away. Von Ohlen died in the hospital not long after, the victim of severe trauma.

Four days later, the NYPD's 90th Precinct took to Twitter to announce that police had located the car involved in the crash. But that was the last public announcement made regarding the investigation into von Ohlen's death. More than four months have passed since.

The NYPD's failure to apprehend von Ohlen's killer fits a pattern. As Gothamist reported last week, police have made arrests in just 34% of the fatal hit-and-run crashes that occurred in New York City between July 2015 and June 2016. When hit-and-run crashes in which the victim suffered an injury are included, the arrest rate drops to a meager 8%.

You can add your name to the petition here – and please share it widely. Matthew von Ohlen, and all the victims of hit-and-run crashes, deserve justice.

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Important Voting Deadline; Ken Thompson's Legacy; Grand Concourse Progress; StreetsPoll Results

Two Days Left to Register to Vote in the 2017 Primary, 2016 Presidential Election

Here's an important reminder that this Friday, October 14th, is not only the deadline to register to vote in next month's Presidential election – it's also the deadline for choosing party affiliation for next September's city primaries!

New York has a byzantine electoral system, highlighted by the fact that it has the earliest registration deadline of any of the 11 states with a closed primary (which means you can only vote in the primary of the party to which you're registered), as outlined in this recent article via DNAinfo.

Vote.jpgRegistration forms must be postmarked by Friday and received by the Board of Elections no later than October 19th. Change of address for the November general election must also be received by October 19th. You can also register in person at a Board of Elections office (be sure to bring a copy of the voter registration form with you), or, if you have a valid ID issued by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, you can register online at dmv.ny.gov. The deadline to register via the DMV is also October 19th.

Of course, if you're already registered and happy with your party affiliation, you don't have to do anything. If you're unsure of your voter registration status, you can check it here.

Find all the information you need, and download a voter registration form, at the New York City Board of Elections' website.

Keep in mind that in Democratic-leaning New York City, key races are often decided in the primary. And in 2017, New Yorkers will be voting for Mayor, Public Advocate, Comptroller, the Borough Presidents and the entire City Council. Don't be left out in the cold – register today!

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StreetsPAC-Endorsed Candidates Win Assembly Races; PPW Bike Path Suit Dropped; Citi Bike Boom; StreetsPoll Results

StreetsPAC-Endorsed Candidates Win Manhattan, Brooklyn Assembly Primaries!

In New York's September 13th primary election, two StreetsPAC-endorsed candidates for the New York State Assembly won their respective Democratic primary contests in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

In Upper Manhattan's 72nd Assembly District, which also includes a small portion of the Bronx, challenger Carmen De La Rosa defeated incumbent Assemblyman Guillermo Linares in a four-person race. And in Brooklyn's 44th Assembly District, attorney Robert Carroll won a three-way race for the Democratic nomination for a seat held currently by Assemblyman Jim Brennan, who is retiring.

The three other candidates whom we endorsed in the primary didn't fare as well. Adrienne Adams lost to incumbent James Sanders, Jr. in Queens’s 10th Senate District, Paul Newell finished third behind winner Yuh-Line Niou in the six-way race for Sheldon Silver's former Assembly seat in Lower Manhattan, and Micah Lasher ran a close second to Marisol Alcantara in a tight race to replace Adriano Espaillat in Manhattan and the Bronx's 31st Senate District. We congratulate the winners, and thank our endorsees for embracing safe and complete streets and better transit in their campaigns.

Additionally, we endorsed incumbent Brooklyn Assembly Members Felix Ortiz (51st District) and Jo Anne Simon (52nd District) for re-election, neither of whom faced a primary challenge.

Carmen De La Rosa and Robert Carroll have both pledged to support the Move New York Fair Plan, installation of life-saving speed cameras at all 2,000+ New York City school (without restriction on their operation), increased deployment of red-light cameras, and expansion of the MTA’s Select Bus Service if elected to the Assembly. See below for a bit more about them.

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StreetsPAC Announces 2016 New York State Senate & Assembly Endorsements

StreetsPAC today announced its endorsements for candidates running in the September 13th primary races for the New York State Senate and Assembly.

In Senate races, StreetsPAC is endorsing challenger Adrienne Adams in Queens’s 10th District, and in a hotly contested battle for an open seat in Manhattan’s 31st District, StreetsPAC is supporting Micah Lasher.  In Assembly contests, StreetsPAC is backing Robert Carroll in the open race for Brooklyn’s 44th District, challenger Paul Newell in a six-way race in lower Manhattan’s 65th District, and challenger Carmen de la Rosa in upper Manhattan’s 72nd District.

In addition, StreetsPAC is endorsing incumbent Brooklyn Assembly Members Felix Ortiz (51st District) and Jo Anne Simon (52nd District), neither of whom faces a primary challenge.

“For most state legislative races, incumbents are virtually guaranteed re-election, so our focus was on the handful of races for open seats, as well as those few contests in which there were legitimate, well organized and well funded challengers,” said Eric McClure, Executive Director of StreetsPAC.  “With Assembly Members Ortiz and Simon, we felt it important to make a statement of support for a pair of incumbents who boast particularly distinguished records on safe streets.”

“Infusing the legislature with new ideas and fresh energy is critical,” said StreetsPAC board member Sebastian Delmont, “and our endorsement decisions certainly take that into account.  The current way of doing things in Albany is obviously ripe for improvement.”

“While most decisions affecting street safety and transportation in New York City are made in City Hall and the Council, the state government plays a major role in a few key areas, including funding of the MTA and deployment and operation of speed and red-light cameras,” said Peter Frishauf, a StreetsPAC board member.  “We’re backing candidates who are committed to leading on those issues.” 

Click through after the jump for a round up of today’s StreetsPAC endorsees, all of whom have pledged to support the Move New York Fair Plan, installation of life-saving speed cameras at all 2,000+ New York City school (without restriction on their operation), increased deployment of red-light cameras, and expansion of the MTA’s Select Bus Service.

 

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Menchaca Fundraiser; September Primary; StreetsPAC Endorsees Making News; StreetsPoll Results

Please Join Us! September 7 Fundraiser for City Council Member Carlos Menchaca!

Next Wednesday, September 7, we're hosting a fundraiser for Brooklyn City Council Member Carlos Menchaca to help him jump-start his 2017 re-election campaign (yes, it's that time already).

MenchacaStreetsPACSelfie.jpg

Carlos was one of the first candidates we endorsed in 2013, and he hasn't disappointed. He has a terrific voting record in the Council, and has worked on a number of pieces of legislation aimed at improving the safety of New York City's streets, including a bill before the Council that, if passed into law, would allow people on bikes to follow pedestrian signals, an important initiative that would greatly reduce turning conflicts with drivers.

Here are the details:

StreetsPAC Fundraiser for Carlos Menchaca
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
6:00 p.m to 8:30 p.m.
Hollow Nickel
494 Atlantic AvenueBrooklyn

We're suggesting a minimum donation of $50, and there'll be plenty of free hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar. Hollow Nickel is conveniently located within a couple of blocks of subway stations serving the A, B, C, D, G, N, Q, R, 2, 3, 4 and 5 lines. You can RSVP via Facebook, here.

And if you can't make it Wednesday, you can help Carlos's re-election effort today by making a contribution at Carlos2017.com.

Looking forward to seeing you!
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Register to Vote; Questionnaire Deadline; MoveNY & Street Safety; Menchaca Fundraiser

Two Days Left to Register to Vote in the September 13th Primary Election

Here's a quick reminder that the deadline to register to vote in the September 13th state and local primary election is this Friday, August 19th.

Vote.jpgRegistration forms must be postmarked by Friday and received by the Board of Elections no later than August 24th. Change of address for the September primary must also be received by August 24th. You can also register in person at a Board of Elections office, or, if you have a valid ID issued by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, you can register online at dmv.ny.gov (the deadline for in-person and online registrations is also August 19th).

If you're unsure of your voter registration status, you can check it here.

Find all the information you need, and download a voter registration form, at the New York City Board of Elections' website.

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NYS Questionnaire; Menchaca Save-the-Date; Brooklyn Bridge; StreetsPoll Results

StreetsPAC Issues 2016 Questionnaire for State Senate and Assembly Candidates

If you're running for the New York State Senate or Assembly, we invite you to complete our 2016 Candidate Questionnaire. It is a pre-requisite for being considered for StreetsPAC's endorsement, but it'll take you only a few minutes to complete.

To get started on completing our questionnaire, please visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/NYS2016. You can return to an unfinished questionnaire before submitting it, and we will confirm your submission with your campaign once you complete the survey.

And if you're a New York City voter who's interested on how the candidates in your Senate and Assembly districts stand on safe-streets and public transit issues, we urge you to share the link with their campaigns. You deserve to know where the people running to represent you in the State Legislature come down on these important questions.

Completed questionnaires are due on Monday, August 22.
 
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StreetsPAC
StreetsPAC supports candidates for public office who will champion Safe, Complete and Livable Streets.