This Week: Tell City Council Members NYC Needs Bolder Street Redesigns

Tomorrow TransAlt volunteers will push City Council members for streets that prioritize transit, walking, and biking. Image: TransAlt
Tomorrow TransAlt volunteers will push City Council members for streets that prioritize transit, walking, and biking. Image: TransAlt

Tomorrow volunteers with Transportation Alternatives head to City Hall to make the case to the City Council for bolder street redesigns.

Council members have a lot of sway over street redesigns in their districts, and as TransAlt laid out last year in the “Vision Zero Street Design Standard,” DOT could use a push to be less tentative in its safety projects. DOT uses every tool recommended in the TransAlt report — such as bus lanes, protected bike lanes, sidewalk expansions, and exclusive pedestrian crossing phases — but to avoid angering motorists, the agency often refrains from making design choices that would maximize safety for New Yorkers who walk and bike.

In addition to advocating for specific projects in their districts, council members can ramp up implementation of street redesigns through the budget process. Last year Mayor de Blasio announced a funding increase for street redesigns, but since most of that money is designated for capital projects, it won’t affect that much street mileage.

“We will meet with City Council members to discuss the impact that fast, low-cost safety improvements can have in saving lives in New York City,” TransAlt says. Specifically, TransAlt will press electeds to prioritize building more protected bike lanes, which improve safety for all street users.

Volunteers will gather at City Hall Park tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. You can sign up here.

Here’s what else is happening this week. Check the calendar for more info on these and other events.

  • Today: Manhattan CB 10 will discuss the bike network in Harlem. 163 W. 125th Street, 2nd floor art gallery. 6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday: Volunteers for Transportation Alternatives talk to City Council members about the importance of funding bold street redesigns. 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Participants will meet beforehand in City Hall Park at Broadway and Park Place. RSVP here.
  • Also Tuesday: Congestion pricing expert and veteran street safety advocate Charles Komanoff will speak at the TransAlt Queens Committee meeting. Queens Pride House, 76-11 37th Avenue. 6:30 p.m.
  • Thursday: The City Council transportation committee holds an MTA budget hearing at 9:30 a.m., followed by a hearing on the DOT budget at 3 p.m. City Hall Council Chambers.

Watch the calendar for updates. Drop us a line if you have an event we should know about.


What Planet Is DOT Living On?

Last week, Henry Melcher at the Architect’s Newspaper ran a thoughtful piece about the state of NYC DOT’s bike program that got buried almost immediately by comments from Bill Bratton and Mayor de Blasio about the Times Square plazas. Melcher asked why DOT so often passes up the chance to add bike lanes in its […]