Contrary to popular belief, the mayor isn't the only elected official with a say in New York City transportation policy. So in this installment of Streetsblog's series on Michael Bloomberg's third term, we're switching things up a bit. We asked New York's most experienced transit advocate, Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign, how Comptroller-elect John Liu and Public Advocate-elect Bill de Blasio can put their clout to use for New Yorkers who depend on buses and trains. Here's what he told us.
What can the incoming city comptroller and public advocate do to improve the lives of millions of daily subway and bus riders over their next four years in office?
While it's right to hold the mayor accountable for what the city does on public transportation, there's much that Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Comptroller John Liu can do on behalf of the city's commuters.
Both gentlemen took stands on key transportation issues as council members. Liu served as chair of the council’s transportation committee and de Blasio promoted the return of F express service in Brooklyn and proposed a "Transit Rider’s Bill of Rights." Additionally, Liu voted for congestion pricing, de Blasio against. Later, de Blasio favored East and Harlem River bridge tolls pegged to the subway fare to fund the MTA, which Liu opposed.
So there’s every reason to expect them to be vocal on transportation. And they’ll have plenty of opportunities to take action. To start with, millions of New York City bus riders have a big stake in the service improvements that newly appointed MTA Chair Jay Walder and Mayor Bloomberg have each made a high priority. De Blasio and Liu, if they choose, can use their new offices to help give millions of transit riders the best possible outcome as these plans advance.Read more...