Transit advocates serve notice to political candidates
Eight groups band together to release transportation agenda
Candidates running for office in New York City this November should be paying attention to the need for major transportation improvements, according to the leaders of eight transit advocacy organizations who have released a comprehensive agenda and are asking lawmakers and others to sign on to the proposals.
The agenda, called “Transportation and Equity: A 2017 Agenda for Candidates,” contains a list of transit priorities and is aimed at candidates for mayor, City Council, borough president, comptroller and public advocate.
New York League of Conservation Voters, NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, Pratt Center for Community Development, Regional Plan Association, Riders Alliance, StreetsPac, Transportation Alternatives and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign are the groups involved in the creation of the ambitious agenda.
The proposal calls on the city to implement the Fair Fares program to provide discounts to low-income riders, expand the Select Bus Service program, build a citywide network of bike lanes and protect L-train riders during the Canarsie Tunnel reconstruction project when subway service will be suspended. The tunnel is slated to be closed for repairs for 15 months starting in April 2019.
The agenda includes a proposal to prioritize safety in all transportation and road design decisions, fully fund Vision Zero and fix dangerous streets and establish clear metrics for reaching zero deaths and serious injuries.
Advocates said they would use the agenda to hold candidates accountable.
In November, many public officials, including the mayor, public advocate, comptroller, all five borough presidents, the Manhattan and Brooklyn district attorneys and all 51 seats in the City Council, are up for election.
The agenda, which was issued on July 6, comes as the city’s public transit system is in a moment of crisis, according to transit advocates.
While only Gov. Andrew Cuomo can fix performance on the state-run MTA subway system, the coalition leaders said that the city can do more to help New Yorkers get to work, school and other destinations.
“Only Gov. Cuomo can fix New York City’s crumbling subways, but there is a lot the city can do to help New Yorkers get around the city safely and affordably. From fair fares to bus lanes to infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians, the city should be a leader in providing safe, affordable and reliable transportation options,” said John Raskin, executive director of the Riders Alliance.
“With this agenda, we hope to inspire New York City’s political leaders to support better, safer and more affordable transportation options for the millions of New Yorkers who depend on public transit each day,” said Jaqi Cohen, campaign coordinator for the Straphangers Campaign.
“As we all brace for the long-term fight to save our transit system, there are easy transportation solutions that candidates for office must champion right now,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives.
To read the full text of “Transportation and Equity: A 2017 Agenda for Candidates,” visit: http://tstc.org/transportation-equity-agenda-2017.pdf.