StreetsPAC Endorses Five More City Council Contenders

Photo:  Momos/Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Momos/Wikimedia Commons

On September 12, New Yorkers will vote in primary elections for mayor, City Council, borough president, and district attorney. The council elections include several contests for open seats, as well as some interesting challenges of incumbent officeholders.

These races, which are often determined by small margins, have huge ramifications for street redesign projects that speed up bus service, make bicycling safer, and improve the pedestrian environment. The support of the local council member means a lot when the city sets out to change a street.

StreetsPAC, the political action committee that advocates for better walking, biking, and transit, rolled out five more City Council endorsements this morning. (Catch up on StreetsPAC’s first, second, and third rounds of endorsements from earlier this month.)

Today’s endorsements include one incumbent, one challenger, and three candidates vying for open seats.

Council District 8: El Barrio/East Harlem, South Bronx. Whoever replaces term-limited District 8 rep Melissa Mark-Viverito will have big shoes to fill on safer streets and transit policy. StreetsPAC thinks Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez is the best candidate to continue that legacy. Rodriguez is the Assembly sponsor of Move New York toll reform and has pushed for the extension of the Second Avenue subway into the district. His primary opponents are Diana Ayala (endorsed by Mark-Viverito), Tamika Mapp, Daby Cararas, and Israel Martinez. (Gotham Gazette has a comprehensive list of candidates in District 8 and other 2017 City Council races.)

Council District 35: Fort Greene, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights. Incumbent Council Member Laurie Cumbo spoke out after a curb-jumping driver killed Victoria Nicodemus on Fulton Street in December 2015, but she spent the better part of the following year waffling on DOT’s proposal for a protected bike lane on Clinton Avenue. For the second time, StreetsPAC is endorsing Ede Fox against Cumbo, who beat Fox by a close margin in 2013. Fox’s top transportation priorities include improving north-south bike and bus connections through the neighborhood.

Council District 43: Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights. Justin Brannan is StreetsPAC’s pick to succeed the term-limited Vincent Gentile. Brannon wants DOT to explore designing a 4th Avenue protected bike lane in his district, and supports measures that would limit the amount of truck traffic on local streets in the district, including restoring the two-way toll on the Verrazano Bridge. Democrats Kevin Peter Carroll, Nancy Tonger, Khader El-Yateem, and Vincenzo Chirico are also running. The Republican field consists of Bob Capano, Liam McCabe, John Quaglione, and Lucretia Regina-Potter.

Council District 28: Jamaica, Ozone Park, Springfield Gardens. Incumbent Ruben Wills is headed to prison for stealing public funds, leaving this eastern Queens race wide open. StreetsPAC’s pick is Richard David, who says he’ll push for better bus service and the redevelopment of Jamaica Bus Terminal. Hettie Powell and Adrienne Adams, who received a StreetsPAC endorsement in an unsuccessful bid for an Assembly seat last year, are also “capable” candidates, StreetsPAC says. Allan W. Jennings, Anthony Andrews, Jahi Rose are also running in the Democratic primary.

Council District 16: Claremont, Highbridge, Grand Concourse. StreetsPAC endorses incumbent Vanessa Gibson for a second term. Gibson, who’s running for the Democratic nomination unopposed, currently chairs the council’s public safety committee. She’s a supporter of protected bike lanes on the Grand Concourse and, according to StreetsPAC, wants to add more detectives to the NYPD’s under-staffed Collision Investigation Squad. Gibson plans to hold a hearing on the NYPD’s role and effectiveness in implementing the mayor’s Vision Zero agenda.