Pedi Politics

On Monday, April 23, the day after Earth Day and the Mayor's Long-Term Sustainability speech, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn plans to hold a decisive vote on Intro. 331-A, a law limiting and restricting pedicabs. Mayor Bloomberg vetoed the bill but rather than going back and trying to improve the legislation by, say, simply increasing the cap on the number of pedicab licenses, Quinn has been twisting Council members arms to override the Mayor's veto.

It looks like she has the votes. The Speaker has managed to convince some of City Council's most progressive and pro-environment members to go along with her. On NY Turf's PediCouncil map shows David Yassky, Bill de Blasio, Daniel Garodnick and Diana Reyna all on-board with Quinn's veto override.

What is Quinn's leverage?

"May is budget month," says pedicab industry representative Chad Marlow of the Public Advocacy Group. "Going along with the Speaker's program ensures that 'member items' will be approved" --  the funding requests that Council members submit for special projects in their districts.

And why has Quinn decided to pick this fight with New York City's small but growing pedicab industry? "The interests of the taxi, hotel and theater industries have been given more weight than the interests of the pedicabs, environmental and transportation groups," says Marlow.

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