For The Next Mayor
Featured below are T.A.'s
recommendations for the next mayor. We encourage you to attend one of the
mayoral forums and find out where the candidates stand. Bring your T.A.
magazine with you and ask the mayoral aspirants to embrace the 5-Point
Sensible Transportation Plan below.
Please vote in the Democratic
Primary, September 11 (all the candidates are Democrats) and in the general
election on November 6. If you need to register to vote contact the NYC Board
Mail: Board of Elections, in the City of New York
32 Broadway, 7 Fl. NY, NY 10004-1609
In November, New Yorkers will
elect a new mayor for the first time in eight years. It's an exciting time for
T.A. All of the leading candidates - Fernando Ferrer, Mark Green, Alan Hevesi
and Peter Vallone - are far more interested in the city's transportation woes
and opportunities than recent mayors. Judging from the questions asked in
mayoral forums, transportation is already being treated as a major issue along
with more traditional topics like crime, schools, the economy and social
The 5-point transportation plan below was launched in April by a wide range of
transit and business groups working under the auspices of the Empire State
Transportation Alliance (ESTA). Some of these groups include: Transportation
Alternatives, the Straphangers Campaign, the Tri-State Transportation
Campaign, the Regional Plan Association, the Real Estate Board, and the
General Contractors Associations. Additionally, former DOT Commissioners
Elliot Sander, Lou Riccio, Sam Schwartz and Connie Eristoff have also
expressed public support for the consensus blueprint for sensible
T.A. members take note of the
third point: Make our streets and neighborhoods safer and more livable. This
includes a call for car-free Central and Prospect Parks as well as cycling,
pedestrian and traffic calming improvements that are the core of the agenda.
Take another look at the groups and officials endorsing this plan. All of them
endorse car-free parks! Build on T.A.'s momentum, speak out and vote for the
candidate who supports sensible and city friendly transportation.
5-POINT PROGRAM FOR BETTER
Getting around New York City
is a daily challenge. Our streets are clogged and noisy; driving nerve
wrenching and unpredictable. Many of us are in fear of dangerous motorists.
Rush hour in the jam-packed subways can often be an ordeal. Our buses are
often slow and irregular. Trips to our airports can take as long as the
Many New Yorkers are resigned
to a lifetime of commuting woes. Perhaps even more are very skeptical that
much can be done. But the next mayor and City Council can make can
dramatically increase our mobility and enhance the quality of our daily lives.
Below is a five-point program for better transportation. Many of the steps
require help from different levels of government. All will require mayoral
leadership. Our groups-a wide array of business, labor and civic
interests-calls on the next mayor and City Council to:
Press for much more
transit service, less crowding, and faster and more reliable trips.
The city should demand there be no more than a four-minute scheduled rush-hour
wait on any of the city's 20 subway lines-and that every rider be able to get
a seat in the off-hours. More service for both subways and buses is
desperately needed. Transit officials have added 11% more subway service and
27% bus service since 1996. But this had not kept up with the 29% increase in
subway ridership and 47% increase in bus ridership at the same time. New York
City has the slowest buses in America . As a matter of civic pride, the next
mayor should end our last place finish and give buses the priority they
deserve on city streets by expanding exclusive bus lanes and redesigning bus
lanes and stops to discourage cars from blocking them. The city should also
keep pressing the MTA to reduce diesel bus emissions and to have the commuter
lines provide more service at lower cost to city riders.
Win real progress on major
transit projects essential to the city's future-and press for a "fix it
first" policy for bridges and roads.
Transit: In the last few years, state and regional officials have pledged to
move ahead on a host of vital new transit projects. The next mayor should
demand they keep their promises, including a Second Avenue Subway; linking the
Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central Terminal and Metro North to Penn
Station; rail access to our airports; and a rail freight harbor tunnel to
reduce area truck traffic. Many
of these promised advances face an uncertain future because of shaky
financing. The next mayor should get a real commitment from the state by
challenging them with matching city funds-and fighting for new sources of
funding, like reinstituting the commuter tax on those who work in and commute
to the city.
Roads and bridges: Bridge conditions in the city are far worse than the rest
of the state. In 1998, 63% of state-owned bridges within the city rate
structurally deficient, compared to 25% elsewhere in New York. Action must be
taken soon, or costs will skyrocket and A new mayor should prod the state to
make a concerted push to fix highways and bridges now.
Make our streets and
neighborhoods safer and more livable.
Calm traffic. Widen sidewalks in Midtown Manhattan and other places where
pedestrians spill into streets. Make greater use of the city's authority to
lower speeds on side streets using traffic calming measures like speed humps.
Expand the "Safe Routes to Schools" pedestrian safety program and
make walking in the city safer for everyone. Establish car-free Central and
Prospect Parks, along with other pedestrian zones. Strictly enforce the city's
truck routes to protect neighborhood streets. Reduce double parking and
congestion by charging parking fees for what is now free commercial loading
space. Dramatically expand and link a comprehensive citywide network of bike
lanes and bicycle boulevards.
Crack down on speeders and other dangerous drivers, install more enforcement
cameras and rebuild the city's pedestrian "killing zones" like
Queens Boulevard and the Grand Concourse.
Lead by example to reduce
congestion and improve transportation decision-making.
Require top city officials to take transit regularly-and cut thousands of
unnecessary parking permits for government employees, especially in Manhattan.
Promote "TransitChek," which gives tax breaks to commuters. Only
250,000 area employees are enrolled in this cost-savings program out of a pool
of more than five million. Urge city businesses to sign up-and provide all
city employees with a range of fare options.
Make transportation a priority. Appoint the commissioner of the city's
Department of Transportation to the MTA board of directors. And coordinate all
related transportation and planning efforts through a "sub-cabinet"
chaired by the head of city DOT.
Increase public confidence in the city's Department of Transportation by
improving the basic services the agency provides, from speeding installation
of safety signals to fixing potholes to improving service provided by private
local and express bus companies overseen by the city.
Make bridge and tunnel
tolls much fairer than they are now-and reduce congestion.
Our tolls don't make sense. Some area bridges and tunnels are free; some cost
$7 round-trip. Some "free" bridges exact huge tolls in congestion,
lost time and frayed nerves. A smarter and fairer system would equalize tolls:
by lowering tolls where they exist and tolling free bridges and tunnels. A
fairer system would also charge no tolls late at night when there's a less
traffic-and encourage off-peak driving with lower off-peak period tolls.
Congestion-inducing toll plazas should be replaced with barrier-free
high-speed EZ Pass collection systems. These steps would help reduce
congestion in peak, create revenues for maintenance and for new projects and
build on the value price initiative recently adopted by the Port Authority.
the latest news on this subject.