Mayoral and City Council Candidates Respond to TA Questionnaire
This morning, Transportation Alternatives released the results of surveys it sent out to mayoral and City Council candidates. While council candidates expressed a wide variety of opinions, mayoral candidates primarily hammered home positions most of them have already discussed during the campaign, while revealing a few new details on their transportation and street safety policies.
Mayoral candidates Sal Albanese, Bill de Blasio, Anthony Gronowicz, John Liu, Bill Thompson, Christine Quinn, and Anthony Weiner responded to the survey. Adolfo Carrión, John Catsimatidis, Joe Lhota, George McDonald, and Erick Salgade did not reply.
In its coverage of the survey, WNYC said, “Generally speaking, the debate over bike lanes is settled. Candidates want more of them and want to increase cycling.” What’s not settled is how the candidates would do that, or how seriously they would support cycling once in office. De Blasio, Thompson, and Quinn specifically emphasized community process and outreach in their responses.
Albanese, de Blasio, and Quinn brought up their support for speed cameras in response to a question about NYPD’s inattention to traffic enforcement, while Liu reiterated his call to significantly expand the Collision Investigation Squad.
Absent from the survey was a question on where the candidates stand on congestion pricing or bridge tolls. Except for Liu, who plugged his proposal to enact bridge tolls and exempt city residents from paying the fee, none of the candidates brought up the issue.
Quinn’s response to a question about pedestrian safety began by establishing her bona fides in fighting electric bicycles. “I’ll continue to build on work I did as Speaker,” she said, “making it easier to enforce e-bike regulations.”
According to Thompson, better lighting and smoother sidewalks would help improve pedestrian safety. “Sometimes, simple solutions can be innovative,” the candidate said. “We need to ensure there is proper lighting and that our sidewalks are in good condition.”
Weiner added new details to a stance on parking minimums first reported by Streetsblog. “I propose mandating buildings be built with fewer parking spots and more bike spots,” he said in the questionnaire.
TA also released results of its City Council candidate surveys, after sending questionnaires to the 248 registered candidates vying for all 51 council seats. TA policy coordinator Alana Miller noted that many registered candidates do not have active campaigns. The group received 80 responses in return.
In addition to a questionnaire, TA’s council survey asked candidates to rank six issues from most to least important, including maintaining a large parking supply, bus improvements, targeting traffic enforcement, and adding traffic calming measures.
Six candidates ranked preserving a large supply of parking over the other issues. They are Sondra Peeden in District 27 in Queens, Frank “Richard” Hurley in District 35 in Brooklyn, Helal Sheikh in District 37 in Brooklyn, Joseph Hayon in District 44 in Brooklyn, and Natraj Bhushan in District 48 in Brooklyn.
“There are candidates who think that being able to park your car is more important than preventing traffic deaths,” Miller said, but she emphasized that the vast majority of candidates said encouraging things about walking, bicycling and transit. “They all have different reasons for supporting the issues that we work on,” Miller said, “from equity issues to convenience of getting around to the environment or public health.”
Transportation Alternatives received responses from most candidates in Districts 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 in Manhattan, Districts 19 and 26 in Queens, and Districts 35 and 38 in Brooklyn. “Some of these districts where there are very competitive candidates, you can tell they really took the time to answer the questions,” Miller said.
Of incumbents running unopposed, TA did not receive responses from Council Members Brad Lander, Daniel Dromm, and Mark Weprin. Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who is also running unopposed, sent in a response, as did Dan Garodnick, who only has one minor challenger. TA did not receive any responses from candidates in District 9 in Manhattan, Districts 13 and 14 in the Bronx, Districts 21, 23, 25, 28 and 30 in Queens, Districts 39 and 45 in Brooklyn, and District 51 in Staten Island.