Dispatches from the Front

Transportation Alternatives’ Volunteer Committees host monthly meetings and social outings, and support vibrant online communities. They also make fighting for local street improvements a lot of fun.

The East Side Volunteer Committee has been busy leading the way on the 5th and 6th Forward campaign. Still in the campaign’s beginning stages, they’ve already made huge strides, collecting over 2,000 hand-written letters to Mayor Bloomberg.

Have you noticed the tree pits on 1st and 2nd avenues are looking well groomed? That’s thanks to the East Side Volunteer Committee, which has been working to beautify our streets. There are even signs letting passersby know that the tree pits are looking well-kept thanks to Transportation Alternatives.

when: First Tuesday of every month,
6:30 – 8 pm

where: Vanderbilt YMCA,
225 E. 47th Street, 5th Floor

contact: Steve Vaccaro, Chair,
vaccaro500 [at] gmail.com

The campaign for a safer Howard Avenue won a new stoplight at the intersection of Howard Avenue and Hillside Avenue, and student volunteers from Wagner College have been doing traffic monitoring to gauge the signal’s effectiveness. To keep the momentum going, volunteers also distributed lawn signs around the neighborhood. The first batch was so popular that they ran out!

Volunteers have also been surveying residents, reaching out to local organizations and talking with elected officials in anticipation of an upcoming Staten Island Transit Town Hall.

when: Third Thursday of every month,
6:30 – 8 pm

where: Everything Goes Book Cafe
208 Bay Street (St. George)

contact: Meredith Sladek,

The cool crisp air of fall is perfect bike weather, and the T.A. Brooklyn Committee has taken count, literally. Led by Doug Gordon, volunteers have gone out to survey ridership on several key commuter thoroughfares. Their results are astounding: On Dekalb Avenue at Franklin Avenue, bikes accounted for nearly 20 percent of the vehicular traffic. On Bergen Street at 4th Avenue, bikes accounted for 40 percent of the traffic. On Kent Avenue, where fully protected cycling infrastructure has already been installed, bikes accounted for nearly 50 percent of the traffic. The bike boom is real, tangible, and…

It’s spreading to Bay Ridge. After months of advocacy and a frustrating defeat of the proposed Bay Ridge Parkway bike lane, Brooklyn Committee member Bob HuDock led a blitz of outreach, meetings and rides to help show his fellow community board members that southern Brooklyn needs bike lanes too. Now, it is paying off: Community Board 10’s full board just approved a request for more than six miles of potential bike lanes spread across stretches of 7th Avenue, 11th Avenue, 86th Street and more.

when: Last Thursday of every month,
7 - 8:30 pm

where: Cobble Hill Community Room,
250 Baltic Street (Cobble Hill)

contact: Dave ‘Paco’ Abraham, Chair,
dave.paco.abraham [at] gmail.com

  The Bronx
No one goes to a park they can’t get to, so the T.A. Bronx Volunteer Committee is working hard to make sure that recreation seekers can easily and safely access Concrete Plant Park. They’re also working to make a connection with the soon-to-open Starlight Park. To help with their efforts, volunteers and local activists teamed up to take a tour of the area, created a video and even got local media attention on the case. They will continue working with elected officials and the DOT in the coming months to make sure these parks are easily accessed by bike and by foot.

when: Second Wednesday of every month
where: Check T.A. Events Calendar at transalt.org/events for locations
contact: Mel Rodriguez
bikethebronx [at] gmail.com

Everyone in Transportation Alternatives’ Queens Volunteer Committee has been busy. A group is planning to launch a full-fledged Queens Boulevard campaign in early 2013, so they’ve been organizing and talking and pre-meeting: stay tuned for more exciting news!

The “Social Rides” group teamed up with the East Side Volunteer Committee in August to take a tour of New York City’s islands; including stops at Roosevelt, Randalls and Wards. It was a blast!

And in September, more than 80 committee members came to the T.A. office for a party in honor of an outstanding Bike Friendly Business, The Queens Kickshaw, and an all-star volunteer, Steve Scofield.

when: Second Monday of every month,
6:30 – 8 pm

where: Greater Astoria Historical
Society, 35-20 Broadway
4th Floor (Astoria)

contact: Jessame Hannus, Chair,
belleoflonglake [at] gmail.com