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.
Which 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.
Police Make an Arrest in the Crash that Killed Matthew von Ohlen
Yesterday, officers with the NYPD's Collision Investigation Squad made an arrest in the July hit-and-run crash that killed 35-year-old Brooklyn resident Matthew von Ohlen.
Though the investigation took more than four months – police reportedly had identified Maldonado early on but needed time to build a case – von Ohlen's family praised the NYPD's efforts.
"There's lots of reasons to be frustrated and unhappy with the New York police department, but the people working on this investigation... they've been wonderful," Bernt von Ohlen, Matthew's father, told DNAinfo.
The charges brought against Maldonado carry a top sentence of 15 years in prison.
"This was not an accident, but rather a reckless act for which we intend to hold this defendant accountable," acting Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez told reporters.
Thanks to all of you who signed our petition asking NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill to update the public on the investigation into von Ohlen's death. We're grateful to you, and to the NYPD for rendering it moot before we had a chance to deliver it. We now hope justice will be served.
StreetsPAC Testifies in support of LPI-for-Bikes Bill, other Pedestrian and Cycling Safety Measures
We spoke in favor of Intro 1072, sponsored by StreetsPAC endorsee Carlos Menchaca, which would allow people on bikes to proceed along with pedestrians at intersections with Leading Pedestrian Intervals, or LPI's, which provide a few seconds' advance start ahead of turning motor vehicles. It's a maneuver that's already common in New York City, as documented here by StreetsPAC Board Member Doug Gordon, and Menchaca's bill would legalize the practice if signed into law.
We also offered our support for bills that would require the Department of Transportation to study some of the city's busiest sidewalks, with an eye to developing solutions to alleviate the crowding (hint: take back space from cars), and to study the implementation of Barnes dances at the city's 25 most dangerous intersections.
You can read a full transcript of our testimony here.
Fundraiser for Ben Kallos Postponed
While we'd previously asked you to circle November 21 on your calendars for a StreetsPAC-hosted fundraiser for Manhattan City Council Member Ben Kallos, we've had to postpone it, most likely until early January. We hope to have an exact date, time and place to share with you shortly, and hope we can count on you to join us then.