Kathryn Garcia for Mayor

New York City has come a long way in eight years.

In 2013, Bill de Blasio was the only serious mayoral contender with even a mildly progressive street-safety and transportation platform. His embrace of Vision Zero set him apart from the pack, even if he did seem a little too sympathetic to drivers and, at times, not completely sold on his own policy proposals. To be sure, the Mayor has presided over significant improvements to the city's streets. But at the same time, too many opportunities have been squandered for want of better execution.

Fast forward to 2021, and nearly every serious candidate in the race for mayor has put forth an ambitious and progressive agenda for remaking the city's streets and improving its public transit system. All seven candidates who completed our questionnaire – Eric Adams, Shaun Donovan, Kathryn Garcia, Dianne Morales, Scott Stringer, Maya Wiley and Andrew Yang – told us they're committed to reducing New York City's reliance on cars, vastly improving transit service, and building a robust citywide network of protected bike lanes. Every one of them advocates the quick implementation of congestion pricing. They all say they intend to commit more city resources to Open Streets. And all seven have pledged support for Transportation Alternatives' ambitious 25x25 proposal to reallocate a quarter of the city's street space from cars to people.


This election marks a sea change. The race to the top among mayoral candidates on these issues is truly something to behold, and it's a testament to the relentlessly effective work that activists and advocacy organizations have done over the past several years. The next mayor will have the opportunity – and the responsibility – to truly transform New York City's streets and transportation system. That will require decisive action in addition to good ideas.

Among all these candidates who promise a better future, we believe Kathryn Garcia possesses the best combination of vision and an ability to successfully implement large-scale, transformational change, and we are excited to endorse her to be New York City's next mayor.

Ms. Garcia has held a number of important positions within New York City government over the past decade and a half. She served as operations chief for the Department of Environmental Protection under Mayor Bloomberg, with responsibility for the water supply, sewers, and wastewater treatment. Mayor de Blasio appointed Ms. Garcia Sanitation Commissioner in 2014, a position she held until she stepped down to run for mayor. As Sanitation Commissioner, her leadership was crucial to the passage of the city's Waste Equity law in 2018, and the Commercial Waste Zone law in 2019, the latter of which will reduce private-carting trips by millions of miles annually.

In response to a lead-poisoning crisis in 2018, Mayor de Blasio tapped Ms. Garcia as the city's "lead czar," and she also served as interim NYCHA boss in 2019. Last year, Mayor de Blasio put her in charge of the city's emergency pandemic food-distribution efforts. She has earned a reputation as a get-things-done leader, while also commanding the respect and loyalty of staff, including that of the Sanitation Department's 7,000+ uniformed rank-and-file workers.

That ability to lead and execute is key to our endorsement of Ms. Garcia. Setting aspirational goals is important, but so is having the wherewithal and expertise to implement them. While all of the leading candidates, Ms. Garcia included, have proposed ambitious transportation agendas, we firmly believe that she is best equipped to deliver on her promises.

She understands clearly that physically preventing crashes through street design is the key to reducing deaths and injuries, and she has pledged to implement roadway redesigns across the city that put pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders first. She'll commit more resources to Open Streets, and more of the city's street space to pedestrians, and will build 250 miles of new protected bike lanes, expand Citi Bike, and get the city moving on providing secure bike-parking solutions.

When it comes to public transit, Ms. Garcia is committed to creating more busways and dedicated bus lanes, and expanding off-board payment, all-door boarding, and signal priority at intersections. She'll expand the Fair Fares program, potentially by reallocating outsized ferry subsidies. She's determined to improve accessibility, with more and better-maintained subway elevators. And she'll advocate with the MTA to create a one-tap, in-city transit network that integrates the Long Island and Metro North Railroads, and, potentially, Citi Bike and the ferry system.

Ms. Garcia will crack down on placard abuse by deploying electronic readers to remove "professional courtesy" from the equation. She'll pursue camera enforcement of failure-to-yield violations and bike-lane blocking, and has indicated support for Steve Levin's bill that would enable citizen-reporting of illegal parking. Furthermore, she intends to expand the city's loading zones, in both commercial and residential areas, and to expand the Clean Curbs program to containerize trash and keep sidewalks clear for pedestrians.

Finally, Ms. Garcia has pledged to treat the city's working cyclists like the essential workers they are, making sure they're protected from wage theft and unfair conditions, and deploying her long-coveted Multihogs to promptly clear bike lanes of snow and ice. In embracing TA's 25x25 challenge, she explicitly cited the safety of delivery workers.

For her commitment to reimagining the city's streets, remaking and upgrading our transit system, and reinvigorating Vision Zero, coupled with her highly regarded ability to deliver results and her belief that pedestrian- and bike-friendly street transformations will accelerate the city's economic recovery, we enthusiastically endorse Kathryn Garcia for mayor, and urge you to rank her #1 on your ballot in the June 22nd Democratic primary.

Note: In reaching our decision, we reviewed the positions of all the leading mayoral candidates, including their responses to our detailed 50-question questionnaire, and were able to sit down for personal interviews with Mr. Adams, Mr. Donovan, and Mr. Yang, in addition to Ms. Garcia, a prerequisite for our endorsement. We've included highlights of the other candidates' résumés and refreshingly progressive transportation platforms below.

Eric Adams, who was elected Brooklyn Borough President in 2013 after serving in the State Senate for seven years, has been a reliable ally to safe-streets advocates for the past decade. He introduced legislation while a State Senator calling for better education of drivers, has supported Neighborhood Slow Zones, and, with an eye to promoting infrastructure equity, championed the Flatbush Avenue bike path, which now connects Grand Army Plaza and Ocean Avenue. A strong proponent of active health and its many benefits, Borough President Adams has for several years hosted a diverse Earth Day bike ride to call attention to the need for better street designs. His "Moving Forward Together" transportation plan calls for building true Bus Rapid Transit corridors, especially outside Manhattan; accelerated rollout of electric buses; 300 miles of new protected bike lanes, including bike "superhighways"; and development of a citywide network of electric bike- and scooter-share, among other initiatives.

Shaun Donovan's résumé and record of government service is hard to beat. He served for six years as President Barack Obama's Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, before becoming Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Prior to his tenure in Washington, he was Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development under Mayor Bloomberg. Mr. Donovan's transportation plan is focused on improving the city's lagging bus service, and he'll prioritize implementing true BRT, increased automated enforcement of bus lanes, and transit-signal priority. He's pledged to build protected bike lanes that connect to transit hubs with secure bike-parking facilities, and to reallocate curb space for uses like trash collection and deliveries.

Dianne Morales has had a notable career as non-profit executive, most recently as the Executive Director and CEO of Phipps Neighborhoods. Her public infrastructure investment plan is aimed at delivering equity to the city's transportation system. It calls for prioritizing bus improvements in low-income neighborhoods and transit deserts, expanding the Fair Fares program to make transit free for all students and low-income New Yorkers, and moving toward making the entire transit system free. She also believes that bike-share should be a public utility available in every corner of the city.

Scott Stringer has served capably as the city's Comptroller since 2014, after another two-term stint as Manhattan Borough President. As Comptroller, he has advocated for improved bus and subway service, and for removing cars entirely from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. He was also an early proponent of legalizing e-bikes, and generally improving conditions for the city's working cyclists. His extensive and detailed "Our Streets, Our Recovery" plan calls for major street redesigns, including protected bike lanes and dedicated bus lanes; reforming street parking; integrating the LIRR and Metro North into the city's transit system; and, importantly, streamlining and speeding up implementation of DOT projects.

Maya Wiley, a civil rights attorney and activist, served as counsel to Bill de Blasio during his first term as mayor, and is known for her work as a legal analyst for NBC and MSNBC. Her "Community First Climate Action Plan" is focused on moving the city toward low-emission forms of transportation, like using rail and our waterways for freight, building out a citywide cycling network, and reducing the size of the city's fleet and transitioning to electric vehicles. She's also interested in exploring new infrastructure ideas, like Sam Schwartz's proposal to build bike and pedestrian bridges across the Hudson and East Rivers.

Andrew Yang, before he came to fame as a presidential candidate, was a business executive with experience in test-prep and the non-profit sector. A regular cyclist, he says that one of his great joys has been the time he's spent biking his sons to school and back in Manhattan. He's been outspoken about his belief in mayoral control of the transit system, and his transportation plan calls for building BRT throughout the city, and expanding the Fair Fares program. He's also pledged to dedicate more city resources to Open Streets, expand the bike network, and institute a major crackdown on placard abuse.

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