Today: Vote Melissa Mark-Viverito for Public Advocate!

Good morning! Today is New York City's non-partisan special election for the citywide office of Public Advocate.

We urge you to cast your vote for former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who has been a true champion for safer streets and better public transit throughout her career in public life.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. You can confirm your polling site at And you can hear about Melissa's candidacy in her own words here.

Our full endorsement statement is below.

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Tuesday: Vote Melissa Mark-Viverito for Public Advocate!

Tomorrow – Tuesday, February 26, 2019 – is New York City's non-partisan special election for the citywide office of Public Advocate.

We urge you to cast your vote for former New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who has been a true champion for safer streets and better public transit throughout her career in public life.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. You can confirm your polling site at And you can hear about Melissa's candidacy in her own words here.

Our full endorsement statement is below.

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Melissa Mark-Viverito for Public Advocate

New Yorkers preparing to cast their votes in the February 26th special election for Public Advocate are faced with something not all that common – a ballot that presents an embarrassment of riches in the quality of candidates, especially when it comes to the critical issues of making our streets safer and our public transportation better.

More than half of the candidates for Public Advocate took part in our endorsement process, including six of the seven candidates who have qualified for tonight's second and final debate.

Rafael Espinal is a rising star in the City Council who has embraced the plight of delivery workers and the legalization of electric bicycles. Dawn Smalls pairs an impressive resumé with an activist attorney's passion. Ydanis Rodriguez has compiled a sterling record in his five years chairing the Council's Committee on Transportation. Benjamin Yee has proposed compelling ideas about how to use the office to spread democracy.

Michael Blake is an ascendant figure in Albany with a strong record on transportation issues. Nomiki Konst has built an impressive career as a firebrand investigative journalist with a fierce independent streak. And Jumaane Williams has combined the roles of activist and elected official to pass more legislation (and get arrested more often for demonstrating) than any other member of the City Council.

Amidst all these compelling hopefuls, however, we believe one candidate stands tallest, and that's why we are endorsing Melissa Mark-Viverito for New York City Public Advocate in the special election on Tuesday, February 26th.

MMV400x400.jpgMs. Mark-Viverito served as Speaker of the City Council from 2014 to 2017, and under her leadership, the Council transformed from a body that often resisted safe-streets initiatives to one that instead pushed City Hall and the Department of Transportation to do more.

Prior to being elected Speaker, Ms. Mark-Viverito invested considerable political capital in supporting the creation of protected bike lanes and complete-streets treatments on First and Second Avenues, in the face of often vocal opposition.

And her support for passing congestion pricing to help solve the twin crises of insufficient transit funding and crippling gridlock dates back more than a decade. So it's no surprise that she chose "Fix the MTA" as her party designation for this special election.

We believe Ms. Mark-Viverito's experience in managing the Speaker's office will help her transition quickly and seamlessly into the role of Public Advocate, and we're confident that she has the gravitas to serve as a counterweight to the Mayor, when necessary.

As Public Advocate, she's committed to working with the City Council to address placard abuse, holding City Hall accountable for the expeditious rollout of the Fair Fares program, and ensuring that the planned expansion of the Citi Bike system happens equitably as well as speedily.

Ms. Mark-Viverito was among the very first group of candidates we endorsed after StreetsPAC's launch in 2013, and we are proud to support her again in the race for Public Advocate. We believe her combination of a strong record on street-safety and transit issues, and her experience leading the City Council, make her the best candidate for the job.

We urge you to vote for Melissa Mark-Viverito for Public Advocate on Tuesday, February 26th.

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StreetsPAC's Testimony to City Council on e-Bikes and e-Scooters

StreetsPAC today submitted the following testimony to the New York City Council's Committee on Transportation, in regard to its review of several pieces of legislation, including bills that would legalize certain types of electric bicycles and electric scooters:

We are pleased to offer our support for all of the legislation under consideration today.

We’re in the midst of a revolution in personal mobility, and we believe e-bikes and e-scooters have a significant role to play in helping New Yorkers to get around efficiently and safely, replacing automobile trips with more space-efficient and environmentally friendly travel modes.

Pedal-assist bikes make it easier for people of varying abilities, notably the elderly, to choose cycling as a means of getting about, and such vehicles extend the range for all people commuting by bicycle. Electric scooters can play a similar role, especially for shorter trips and last-mile connections to transit.

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StreetsPAC's Testimony to DSNY on Draft Scope of Work for a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Commercial Waste Zone Program

Earlier today, we presented the following testimony at the New York City Department of Sanitation's public forum on the draft scope of work for the draft environmental impact statement on the city's proposed Commercial Waste Zone plan:

StreetsPAC strongly supports New York City’s proposed Commercial Waste Zone plan. As advocates for safer streets, we’re deeply concerned by the frequency with which commercial waste haulers injure and kill pedestrians and cyclists – private carters have killed nearly three-dozen people since 2010. The current system leads commercial drivers to make dangerous choices behind the wheel; running red lights, reversing through intersections, driving in the wrong direction and speeding are endemic, and epidemic. The current free for all also leads to dangerous fatigue, with many drivers and crewmembers working long overnight shifts of up to 18 hours.

While we support the proposed plan, however, we think it can go further. We urge the city to study an exclusive single-hauler zone option in the Environmental Impact Study. While the proposed non-exclusive plan is estimated to reduce nightly vehicle miles traveled from 79,000 to 29,000, an exclusive-zone option might be able to reduce that number even more, which could further improve pedestrian and worker safety, and would likely yield additional benefits in reduced emissions, improved routing efficiency and shorter distances between collection points. Given the potential reduction in crashes that an exclusive-zone system could deliver, it should be included in the EIS.

In addition, we believe any new zoned plan should also require private haulers to make safety upgrades to all commercial-fleet vehicles. The requirement for installation of life-saving side guards should be accelerated, and it should be mandatory for all vehicles to be equipped with state-of-the-art safety technology, including road-safety analytic systems such as those offered by ZenDrive, 360-degree cameras, and GPS tracking. Drivers should undergo extensive Vision Zero safety training, and rear-riding steps should be removed to increase crew safety.

The long-term stability created by an exclusive-zone system will best enable private haulers to amortize these investments in newer, cleaner, and safer trucks and technology thanks to the stable customer base, predictable revenue stream, and long-term, enforceable contract with New York City that such a plan would create. Again, we support the proposed semi-exclusive system, but strongly urge consideration of an exclusive, single-hauler option as the best possible alternative.

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StreetsPAC's Testimony to City Council on Fixing NYC's Mass Transit System

StreetsPAC submitted the following testimony today to the New York City Council's Committee on Transportation, in regard to its oversight hearing on fixing New York City's transit system:

We add our voice today to the chorus of calls for immediate and far-reaching action to fix New York City’s buses and subways.

As Monday morning’s subway meltdown demonstrated all too clearly, we have far too little to show for the almost year and a half since Governor Cuomo declared the subways in a “state of emergency” and the MTA announced the Subway Action Plan. New Yorkers continue to be saddled with miserable commutes. The drop in ridership as people seek alternatives to stalled trains and crawling buses means less fare-box revenue, and in turn, worsening congestion. Catch-up work leaves numerous lines out of commission every weekend.

The proposed Fast Forward plan holds promise, but until funding sources are laid out in detail, it’s hard to feel that there’s anything other than train traffic ahead. Despite lots of talk, we’ve yet to see any truly meaningful steps toward congestion pricing, which could begin to put a real dent in the MTA’s funding gap. We’re in a full-blown crisis, and it is existential.

Fixing this critical threat to New York City’s economic health demands decisive action. Governor Cuomo and the legislature must pass, and begin implementation of, a full-blown congestion-pricing plan first thing in 2019. The billion-dollars plus in annual revenue that such a plan would yield can be bonded in order to service some $20 billion in capital investment, which will go a long way to modernizing the subway system’s ancient signaling. It will also help speed up buses by reducing driving, especially into Manhattan’s core.

Making sure that a portion of the revenue generated by congestion pricing is invested immediately in projects that extend new service to transit deserts will help accommodate people who will choose to leave their cars at home. In turn, City Hall can take significant steps to help improve bus service, by ratcheting up the roll out of Select Bus Service, dedicating more exclusive street space to buses, making sure bus-only lanes are kept clear, and giving buses signal priority.

Most of all, fixing the MTA will require resolute political will. Some elected officials have said they oppose congestion pricing because it won’t completely solve the MTA’s funding problem on its own, which is a bit like declining chemotherapy because your cancer treatment also requires radiation therapy. No, congestion pricing alone won’t fix everything, but it’s a critical piece of a comprehensive solution to funding transit.

Governor Cuomo and the leaders of the Assembly and State Senate must act now to outline a plan that includes all the details of how the MTA’s budget needs will be met. We must be willing to do what it takes to fix our subways and buses – the future of New York City depends on it.

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StreetsPAC's Testimony to City Council on Curbs, Curb Extensions & the George Washington Bridge

StreetsPAC Executive Director Eric McClure presented the following testimony today to the New York City Council's Committee on Transportation, at its oversight hearing on curbs and sidewalks:

Thank you for the opportunity to share our thoughts on oversight of curbs and sidewalks. StreetsPAC would like to express its support for several of the measures under consideration today by the Committee.

Intro 0131-2018 & Intro 0953-2018 – Support

We support Intros 0131-2018 and 0953-2018, which together would place greater restrictions on the creation of curb cuts, and compel the restoration of illegally removed curbs.

There are likely thousands of illegal curb cuts citywide, many of which undoubtedly create unsafe conditions for pedestrians. We support requiring property owners to restore curbs where they’ve been illegally removed, as well as mandating community notification for planned curb cuts. Personally, as someone who tried in vain to oppose a neighbor’s curb cut – implemented on a block that already had two existing curb cuts, and for no other reason than the owner’s desire to have a private parking space – I urge the committee to lend its support to this legislation.

Intro 0237-2018 – Support

We also support Intro 0237-2018, which would require the city to implement curb extensions at certain dangerous intersections.

Curb extensions have been shown to significantly improve pedestrian safety, both by shortening the distance pedestrians must travel across an intersection, and by providing increased visibility through daylighting. Curb extensions are the type of treatment that should be a high priority under Vision Zero.

Requiring the implementation of curb extensions at a minimum of five intersections in each borough annually would set the city on a path to having a robust program for creating these important aspects of safety infrastructure.

Intro T2018-1956 – Support

We also support Intro T2018-1956, which would require the city to paint curbs adjacent to fire hydrants and bus stops to alert motorists that they can’t park, stand or stop there.

While drivers in New York City should be aware of the rules governing parking near hydrants and bus stops, it’s clear from their behavior that many are ignorant, or dismissive, of the law. As much as the additional delineation of curbs will help drivers avoid parking illegally, it will also help police and traffic enforcement agents identify illegal parking, and issue summonses accordingly. Too often, police and TEAs give motorists the benefit of the doubt, and since illegal parking creates safety hazards around hydrants and bus stops, we support any effort at more rigorous enforcement.

One caution, however – we would vigorously oppose allowing drivers to cite absence of paint or the wearing of painted curbs as an affirmative defense in contesting a summons. We would urge that such language be included in an amended bill. This legislation should in no way be construed as a way of alleviating driver responsibility for illegal parking.

Resolution 0103-2018 – Support

Lastly, we strongly support Resolution 0103-2018, which calls upon the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to widen the multi-use paths across the George Washington Bridge.

The planned renovations to the George Washington Bridge present a generational opportunity to increase access for pedestrians, runners, and cyclists, who are using the bridge in ever-increasing numbers. The GWB is the only walkable and bike-able connection between northern New Jersey and New York City, and now carries nearly 4,000 cyclists on weekends, on a path that is among the narrowest bridge crossings in New York City.

A widened path would also have tourism and resiliency benefits. Let’s not miss this crucial opportunity to bring George Washington Bridge access into the 21st century. We urge the committee, and the full Council, to pass this resolution without hesitation.


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StreetsPAC-Endorsed Candidates Sweep Election Day!

StreetsPAC-Endorsed Candidates All Won Their Races on Tuesday; Ballot Proposals Win Big, Too

Proving that safe streets and pro-transit positions aren't just good policy, but good politics as well, all 10 State Senate and Assembly candidates endorsed by StreetsPAC won their races in Tuesday's election, including Andrew Gounardes, who upset eight-term Republican State Senator Marty Golden in Brooklyn's 22nd Senate District. While that outcome has not been certified as of this morning, Andrew has claimed victory, and it's virtually certain that his winning margin will hold once all remaining ballots are counted.

In addition to our 10 candidate endorsements, we officially backed New York City Ballot Proposals 1 and 3, both of which passed overwhelmingly. Ballot Prop 1 will lead to some significant campaign-finance reforms, while Ballot Prop 3 will implement a number of positive changes for the city's Community Boards, including term limits.

Tuesday's outcome was by far StreetsPAC's best result in State Legislative races since we launched in 2013. To go 10-0 with candidate endorsements and 2-0 on the ballot proposals was unprecedented, but the most important development was our work to help elect Andrew Gounardes.

Andrew is currently ahead by a bit more than 1,000 votes, and some 70 StreetsPAC volunteers knocked on about 5,000 doors over the past two months. In addition, street safety was a central issue in the race – perhaps the most important issue – and the candidates' positions couldn't have been more divergent. It's not a stretch to think that our efforts, and our issues, made the difference in a close election.

Our field organizer, Blythe Austin, did a remarkable job of recruiting, organizing and training our dedicated and talented volunteers. More than 70 people came out to help over the course of the campaign, many of you among them. Quite a few people showed up to canvass on multiple occasions. For all of you who took part, and for Blythe, we are immensely and eternally grateful. This victory is your victory, and shows the power of this movement. Thank you!

Soon, we'll begin looking toward the special election for Public Advocate early next year, and elections for District Attorney in the Bronx, Queens and on Staten Island next fall, as well as to fundraising, in order to replenish and expand our resources for future efforts (you can help kickstart that effort by donating now).

For today, though, we can congratulate ourselves and be proud of what we’ve accomplished this election cycle. Thanks for being a part of it.

And one last time, here are the candidates whom we endorsed in Tuesday's general election. Our heartfelt congratulations to all!

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StreetsPAC General Election Voter Guide

Good morning! Today is Election Day! The polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and anyone registered to vote in New York State may cast a ballot. So long as you are in line to vote by 9 p.m., you cannot be turned away from the polls.

In the culmination of a process that began in the spring, and included a detailed questionnaire and in-depth, personal candidate interviews, StreetsPAC has endorsed 10 candidates in this general election, five running for the State Senate, and five for the Assembly. You can learn more below about each of the candidates whom we've endorsed, and the projects and issues they've committed to advancing as members of the Legislature, as well as why we support New York City Ballot Proposals 1 and 3 (remember to #FlipYourBallot!).

Your vote for safe, complete and livable streets, and reliable, efficient and affordable mass transit, may very well make the difference in deciding the outcome of your local Senate or Assembly race – and in helping to shape the future of progressive transportation policies in New York.

To check your voter-registration status, confirm your polling location, and to see a sample ballot, please visit Your trip to the polls should take only a few minutes, and there is so much riding on this crucial mid-term election. Please vote. And if you have the opportunity, please vote for one of the outstanding candidates endorsed by StreetsPAC.

Meet the Candidates: State Senate | State Assembly | Ballot Proposals

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Six Days Until the Election – Vote the StreetsPAC Slate!

The Election is Six Days Away – Make Your Voting Plan and Pull the Lever for StreetsPAC-Endorsed Candidates!

We're just six days away from the 2018 general election, on Tuesday, November 6th. You can confirm your voter-registration status, find your polling location, and see a sample ballot at Most importantly, please make a plan to vote – there's a lot riding on the outcome, especially as it pertains to making our streets safer and improving our public transit system.

And if you are registered in one of the districts in which we've made an endorsement, please be sure to vote for the StreetsPAC candidate! Meet our 10 endorsees below – five for State Senate, and five for the Assembly.

AlessandraBiaggi.jpgAlessandra Biaggi, 34th Senate District, Bronx (Democratic Primary Winner) – Biaggi, a Bronx native who was Deputy National Operations Director for Hillary Clinton's 2016 Presidential run, upset Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein in September's primary. She's pledged support for a comprehensive congestion-pricing plan consistent with the Move NY and FixNYC proposals, and wants to see Albany pass legislation that would increase penalties for hit-and-run drivers. She will also advocate for reinstatement and an increase in the number of speed cameras authorized for New York City, as well as the elimination of restrictions governing their operation.

AndrewGounardesLarge.jpgAndrew Gounardes, 22nd Senate District, Brooklyn (Democratic Primary Winner) – Gounardes, a native of Bay Ridge and Counsel to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, is facing Republican State Senator Marty Golden in the general election. Gounardes has made street safety a core element of his campaign – he supports placing speed cameras in all of New York City's school zones, wants the city to accelerate street redesigns to prioritize safety, and backs requiring defensive-driving courses or driving refreshers with every license renewal. He also supports congestion pricing, and is adamant that every subway station should be accessible.

JuliaSalazar.jpgJulia Salazar, 18th Senate District, Brooklyn (Democratic Primary Winner) – Salazar, a community organizer, won the September primary against incumbent Senator Martin Malavé Dilan in North Brooklyn's 18th District. She's committed to improving the transit system, including upgrading bus service in the district, accelerating the MTA's station-accessibility efforts, and ensuring that every resident of North Brooklyn has ready access to public transit during the L train shutdown. She'll also vote to reinstate and expand the city's speed camera program, and will support a congestion-pricing plan that funds a better transit system while protecting low-income drivers who have no other means of getting to work.

RobertJackson.jpgRobert Jackson, 31st Senate District, Manhattan (Democratic Primary Winner) – Jackson, who served for 12 years in the City Council, defeated first-term State Senator Marisol Alcantera in the September primary. Jackson is a backer of congestion pricing, and supports residential parking permits as a means of combatting the influx of park-and-ride drivers who routinely flood upper Manhattan. He also wants to see the city's lapsed speed camera program renewed and expanded, and is committed to pursuing improvements to the Hudson River Greenway.

ZellnorMyrie.jpgZellnor Myrie, 20th Senate District, Brooklyn (Democratic Primary Winner) – Myrie, a lawyer and activist, won his September primary race against incumbent Jesse Hamilton. Myrie supports congestion pricing, and plans to advocate for implementation of Select Bus Service in East Flatbush and Brownsville. He will also back legislation that would limit the ability of consistently dangerous drivers to remain behind the wheel, with an emphasis on restorative justice. He wants to see Linden Boulevard redesigned with pedestrian safety upgrades and protected bike lanes, and supports a Vision Zero makeover for the irregular triangles at the confluence of Howard, Pitkin and East New York Avenues in Brownsville.

BrianBarnwell.jpgBrian Barnwell, 30th Assembly District, Queens (Incumbent/Democratic Primary Winner) – Barnwell, one of the younger members of the Assembly, won his central Queens seat in 2016 by upsetting a long-term incumbent, and handily won a competitive primary in September. He supports implementation of Select Bus Service on major avenues in Maspeth and Middle Village, and wants to see the city's school speed safety camera program renewed and expanded. He's also been working with the MTA to implement transit improvements in his district using state multi-modal transportation funds.

CatalinaCruz.jpgCatalina Cruz, 39th Assembly District, Queens (Democratic Primary Winner) – Cruz, the first DREAMer to run for office in New York State, is an attorney who served as Chief of Staff to former City Council Finance Chair Julissa Ferraras-Copeland. She bested incumbent Assemblymember Ari Espinal in September. Cruz supports congestion pricing, and reinstatement and expansion of the city's speed camera program. She wants to see Select Bus Service implemented along Junction Boulevard, and supports passage of legislation that would increase penalties for drivers who flee crashes. She also believes that New York City should have control of the subways and city buses.

HarveyEpstein.jpgHarvey Epstein, 74th Assembly District, Manhattan (Incumbent/Democratic Primary Winner) – Epstein, who won a special election in April to succeed Brian Kavanagh in this east side district, is now running for a full term. Prior to winning office, he built a distinguished career as a public-interest lawyer and community organizer. Epstein has already made his mark in Albany by introducing a bill that would remove caps on the number of bus-lane and red-light cameras in New York City, and he supports congestion pricing and the renewal and expansion of the city's speed-camera program. He's also an advocate for a robust plan for dealing with the impending L train shutdown.

JoAnneSimon.jpgJo Anne Simon, 52nd Assembly District, Brooklyn (Incumbent) – Simon is running for election to a third term in the Assembly, where she serves on the Transportation Committee, and she's been an advocate for safe streets and better transit for decades. She's an original co-sponsor of the bill supporting the Move New York congestion-pricing plan, and is adamant about the need to reinstate and expand New York City's speed-camera program. In addition, Simon is the lead sponsor of a bill that would authorize the city of New York to establish a residential parking-permit system.

RobertCarrollLarge2.pngRobert Carroll, 44th Assembly District, Brooklyn (Incumbent) – Carroll, who won his Assembly seat in 2016 with StreetsPAC's backing, has quickly established himself as a transit and safe-streets champion. He's pledged to continue to lead the fight for passage of a comprehensive congestion-pricing plan, and is committed to working to bring runaway MTA capital costs in line with those of other major transit systems. He supports reinstatement and expansion of the city's speed camera effort, and will continue to advocate for legislation aimed at getting dangerous drivers off the road.

#FlipYourBallot! We Encourage You to Vote Yes on Ballot Proposal 3 for Community Board Term Limits.

Please remember to flip over your ballot when you're voting, as there are three ballot proposals on the reverse side. We encourage you to vote yes on Ballot Proposal 3, which, among other reforms, would establish term limits for Community Board members.

Our friends at Reinvent Albany provided the following statement to the New York City Campaign Finance Board summarizing the benefits of a yes vote on Proposal 3:

A yes vote on Question 3 generally establishes term limits for community board members of four consecutive two-year terms. It will require borough presidents, who appoint community board members, to create a standardized application for appointment and to document their marketing of vacant community board positions.

A yes vote on this question will result in community boards that are more diverse and representative of the communities they serve. This will help ensure a robust discussion of land use matters before the board, and that voices in the community are heard. All residents will experience a fairer application process and have a better opportunity to serve the community on the board.

Please note that several StreetsPAC board members also serve on their respective Community Boards.

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