Dispatches from the Front

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


The Manhattan Activist Committee is in the middle of a major growth spurt, averaging ten new members at every meeting since last fall. All that new blood, combined with a core of seasoned volunteers, is getting results. There has been a flurry of activity as activists worked hard to bring in as many coalition letters as possible to support a big legislative push in Albany. Mary Beth Kelly, an esteemed safe streets leader and Upper West Sider, helped secure the endorsement of the entire Mount Sinai Hospital Network. Other activists have been hitting the streets and schools, collecting hundreds of physical petition signatures from individuals and thousands more online. The 5th and 6th Forward Campaign is also seeing some inspiring momentum. After years of grassroots advocacy, the DOT has announced that it plans to begin a study of the central thoroughfares this fall. Uptown, a group of committed safe streets advocates are now forming a group in Northern Manhattan to fight for equity in safe streets infrastructure.


when: First Thursday of every month
6:30 – 8 pm
where: Transportation Alternatives
127 West 26th St, 10th Floor

contact: Albert Ahronheim, Chair


The Staten Island Activist Committee has been busy working the corridors of power lately. After winning Council Member Debbie Rose’s support of the Richmond Terrace traffic-calming campaign earlier this year, they secured the backing of Assembly Member Matthew Titone for that campaign, as well as an effort on Forest Avenue. Activist Committee members also attended a local NYPD TrafficStat meeting to learn more about how Vision Zero is being enforced on the Island. But it hasn’t been all work and no play: the Committee enjoyed an incredibly successful Tour de Staten Island, with more participants and more fun than ever before.


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

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

contact: Laura Barlament, Chair


The Brooklyn Activist Committee and its 600 members have been working hard these last few months. Their Atlantic Avenue campaign received the blessing of Community Board 2, an excellent summary of their Jay Street workshop efforts is now making the rounds, and they’re moving forward with their ambitious Safety Forum schedule in Bushwick and Williamsburg. They’ve also been turning out support for Albany lobby efforts, Vision Zero workshops and fun and educational events around the borough.


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

where: Brooklyn YWCA
30 Third Avenue
First Floor Meeting Room
(Cobble Hill)

contact: Dave ‘Paco’ Abraham, Chair


The Bronx

The Bronx Activist Committee has been busy working to make Westchester Avenue safer and more convenient for pedestrians and bus riders. After months of effort, lots of petition signatures and some great presentations, they gained the local community board’s support. Now the DOT is installing sidewalk extensions that’ll make crossing a dangerous intersection a lot simpler and also give bus riders a better place to wait. In other Uptown news, the Bronx and Manhattan Activist Committees have joined forces to advocate for a bike network connecting neighborhoods along the Harlem River to one another and to the citywide bike network. A well-designed and connected series of lanes using the Harlem River bridges as a spine will revolutionize transportation in these communities.


when: Second Wednesday of every month
6:30 – 8 pm

where: Bronx Museum of Art
1040 Grand Concourse

contact: Rich Gans, Co-Chair
Elizabeth Hamby, Co-Chair bronx@transalt.org


After hosting a site visit with Queens DOT, the Department of City Planning, Community Board 1 and many coalition partners, the Queens Activist Committee has secured a green light on a traffic study for 21st Street. The DOT has indicated that it will start vehicle counts this summer and return to the local community boards this fall with recommendations. There’s also been good news on the Queens Boulevard front: The full board of CB 6 passed a resolution in favor of a study, and the Transportation Committee of CB 2 did the same. Similar energy is building in Jackson Heights and Corona, where the Committee has been busy organizing a Vision Zero workshop.


when: Second Tuesday of every month
6:30 – 8 pm

where: Queens Pride House
76-11 37th Avenue
(Jackson Heights)

contact: Jessame Hannus, Co-Chair
Steve Scofield, Co-Chair