Summer 2002, p.10

City Council's Dismal Start

T.A's roots are in cycling and pedestrian advocacy, but that is only part of what we do. T.A. was chartered in 1973 to reduce automobile use in New York City by encouraging "alternative" forms of travel as well as to address the environmental, social and economic costs of too much motor vehicle use.

New City Council a Disappointment on Transportation and Street Safety

Council Transpo Chair, John Liu riding on sidewalkIn January, hopes were high that the City Council, led by long-time friend Gifford Miller, would take a new and insightful look at pedestrian and bicycling safety and big picture issues like the Carpool Rule and tolls on East River bridges. But, instead, John Liu, Chair of the Transportation Committee, championed eliminating the Carpool Rule and dredged up long-time whipping boys like bicyclists riding on sidewalks; indeed, the Committee's record is defined by poorly reasoned legislation. In fact, the ineptness of the Council has even led to the opposition of city agencies to legislation like the newspaper box and mobile billboard bills that the Council has drafted to "help" them.

Recommendations to the Transpo Committee staff:

  • Communicate extensively with agencies and stakeholder groups (like T.A.) and discuss legislation before a bill is brought to a public hearing.
  • Research an issue before drafting legislation.
  • Hold hearings to listen to broad panels of experts on major issues of the day such as:
    1. Reducing automobile use and traffic
    2. Pedestrian improvements
    3. Cutting official parking permits
    4. Safe routes to school
    5. Bus rapid transit
    6. Parking permits and fees
    7. Tolling East River bridges
    8. MTA Finances-fares and services