Skip to content

Posts from the "Streetsblog" Category

6 Comments

Livable Streets Progress in Albany Will Have to Go Through a GOP Senate

Andrew Cuomo may have won re-election, but New York was no exception to the national Republican wave in yesterday’s elections. The GOP regained control of the State Senate, weakening its bond with the Independent Democratic Conference and keeping mainline Democrats in the minority. With last night’s results, the landscape for transit and livable streets legislation in Albany has shifted.

Dean Skelos, right, is back as the sole leader of the State Senate. What will it mean for the MTA? Photo: MTA/Flickr

Dean Skelos, right, could come back as the sole leader of the State Senate. What will it mean for transit in NYC? Photo: MTA/Flickr

Republicans now have 32 of 63 seats in the State Senate. They gained control by ousting three upstate Democrats and losing only one seat, in a tight three-way Buffalo-area race. The balance of power no longer rests with the breakaway IDC, which formed a power-sharing agreement with Republicans. Leadership of the Senate could be consolidated next session in Dean Skelos of Long Island, who currently splits control with IDC leader Jeff Klein.

With Republicans in the majority, NYC’s two GOP senators — Martin Golden of Brooklyn and Andrew Lanza of Staten Island, who both won re-election last night – will be key for any street safety legislation affecting the city. Golden initially resisted speed camera legislation earlier this year, though he ultimately voted for the bill. Lanza is best known to Streetsblog readers for refusing to allow flashing lights on Select Bus Service vehicles.

The rest of the statewide political landscape did not change much. The Assembly will remain in the hands of Democrats, led by Speaker Sheldon Silver. Silver and Skelos will return to Albany next year with Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and Governor Cuomo, who all secured expected victories over Republican challengers.

The most pressing transportation issue facing Cuomo, Silver, and Skelos — the proverbial “three men in a room” — will be closing the $15.2 billion gap in the MTA capital program.

Read more…

2 Comments

The Streets Ball Is Tonight! Get Tickets Online Til 2 PM

The Streets Ball is finally here — our big annual benefit starts tonight at 7 at the Invisible Dog off the Bergen Street F/G stop. If, like me, you’re the type of person who always buys tickets at the last possible moment, here’s the deal:

You can get tickets online until 2 p.m. today. We’ll also be selling tickets at the door and can accept cash, checks, or credit cards.

It’s going to be a wonderful evening with fantastic people. See you there, Streetsblog readers.

No Comments

Only One Week Left Until The Streets Ball — Get Your Tickets Now

A quick reminder: The annual fundraiser for Streetsblog and Streetfilms is just seven days away and space is limited. Lock up your spot and get a ticket today — prices start at $50 or just $25 for students.

If you’ve come to the Streets Ball before, you know it’s a special night where hundreds of New Yorkers who care about safe streets, better transit, and a more livable city come together under one roof. And if you’ve never been to one, we’d love to see you next Thursday for the best Streets Ball yet, as we honor former NYC DOT policy director Jon Orcutt and Families For Safe Streets.

The Streets Ball is our biggest fundraising event of the year and powers us through the next 12 months. Come out to the Invisible Dog off the Bergen Street F/G stop next Thursday and join us for food, drink, music, and the great company of people working toward livable streets for NYC.

No Comments

Two Weeks Until The Streets Ball — Get Your Tickets Today

If you haven’t bought your tickets to the annual benefit for Streetsblog and Streetfilms on October 23, there’s no time like the present. Come join us at The Streets Ball and support media that makes a difference. Tickets start at just $50 ($25 for students).

We’ll be honoring the work of former DOT policy director Jon Orcutt and Families for Safe Streets — heroes of the movement to reshape city streets to prioritize people, not cars. All proceeds go directly to the production of Streetsblog reporting and Streetfilms videos — high-impact media that captures the imagination, commands the attention of public officials, galvanizes grassroots activism for livable streets, and catalyzes real policy change.

Our events team has put together a wonderful evening at the Invisible Dog, an arts space on Bergen Street right off the F/G train. We’ll have food from Kickshaw Cookery, beer and wine, live music, and a silent auction with a little bit of everything.

What really makes The Streets Ball special is the crowd and the community that comes together to take stock of the year behind us and get ready for the year ahead. Join us on the 23rd and help keep Streetsblog and Streetfilms going strong.

No Comments

Flushing to Jamaica SBS Community Workshop

Join the NYC Department of Transportation and the MTA for an interactive workshop to discuss surface transit needs and challenges in and between Flushing and Jamaica. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about Select Bus Service and share ideas to improve transit between the two downtowns.

No Comments

Queens Community Board 5 Transportation Committee Meeting

The agenda includes discussion and recommendations regarding Move NY proposals, “Faster. Safer. Fairer.”; discussion of current local freight rail issues; capital project updates on the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge, the Kosciuszko Bride Project, the 69th Street and Calamus Avenue Sewer Projects, and upcoming plaza projects; and review of traffic safety issues and requests.

No Comments

Join Us for The Streets Ball 2014 on October 23

StreetsBall2014

Save the date — our annual benefit, The Streets Ball, is happening October 23 and tickets are on sale now, starting at just $50 ($25 for students). The Streets Ball is a great time to connect with other New Yorkers who care about livable streets, mark this year’s advocacy successes, and support the work we do here at Streetsblog and Streetfilms so we can keep on making powerful media in 2015.

We’ll be honoring former NYC DOT policy director Jon Orcutt and Families For Safe Streets. Orcutt’s career spans advocacy and government, and he played a leading role in setting the agenda for street reforms under both Janette Sadik-Khan and Polly Trottenberg at NYC DOT. Families For Safe Streets is a powerful new force at City Hall and Albany, whose message helped pass multiple pieces of legislation this year, including the new 25 mph speed limit.

Come join us in recognizing their contributions to New York City streets on October 23. We’ll have great food from Kickshaw Cookery, live music, beer and wine, all in a fantastic space — the Invisible Dog, right off the Bergen Street stop on the F and G trains. Our event team has put together a wonderful evening and on behalf of the Streetsblog and Streetfilms crew, we’d love to see you there!

Streetsblog.net No Comments

The Link Between Northeast Ohio’s Flooding and Its Sprawl

As Cuyahoga County has sprawled since 1948, with roughly the same population now covering nearly four times the land area, it’s become more susceptible to flooding. Map: Cuyahoga County Planning Commission via Tim Kovach

After a string of major flooding events, residents of Northeast Ohio are looking for someone to blame, reports Tim Kovach. Are local governments at fault for the property damage from these floods? Or should residents, as a great poet once said, blame it on the rain?

Neither question really gets to the heart of the matter, says Kovach. If Northeast Ohio hadn’t spent the last 60 years spreading out ever farther, covering huge areas with impermeable pavement and developing every last inch of land, then the region would be much more resilient in the face of torrential storms, he writes:

…a recent study out of the University of Utah suggests that from 2000-2010, the Cleveland metro area became even more sprawling (PDF). Using Smart Growth America’s sprawl index, the authors examined the rate of change for the 162 largest metro areas (paywalled) during this period. While Akron actually became 2.7% more compact, Cleveland sprawled by another 13.3%, the 10th worst change of any metro area…

So why does this all matter for flooding? Well, simply put, areas that follow sprawl-based development models are more likely to suffer from flooding problems. Sprawl increases the percentage of land area that is covered with impervious surfaces, such as parking lots, roads, and driveways. As the extent of impervious surfaces rises, so too does the amount of precipitation that winds up as surface runoff during storms. Forested areas are excellent at controlling stormwater (PDF); trees enable 50% of precipitation to infiltrate the soil and allow another 40% to return to the atmosphere through evapotranspiration. Urbanized areas, in contrast, drastically reduce the amount of water that can infiltrate into the soil, guaranteeing that 35-55% of precipitation ends up as runoff.

Read more…

No Comments

Brooklyn Community Board 3 Transportation Committee Meeting

Brooklyn CB3’s Transportation, Sanitation & Environment Committee kicks off its 2014-2015 session.  The agenda is TBD.

Streetsblog USA No Comments

Time’s Up: 6 Things to Know About Today’s Transpo Showdown

Today is the House of Representatives’ last day in session before departing for an August recess full of photo ops and electioneering in their districts. The Senate will stick around DC for one more day before going home. Before that happens, the two houses have to come together on a plan to keep the Highway Trust Fund going. If not, U.S. DOT will have to take drastic measures.

Republican Sen. Bob Corker disagrees with the House GOP on when the bill should expire and how to pay for a new one.

Republican Sen. Bob Corker disagrees with the House GOP on when the bill should expire and how to pay for a new one.

Both the House and the Senate have voted on not entirely dissimilar plans to keep the fund going. But the differences between them have set up a high-stakes showdown that has to be resolved by tomorrow.

Here are the key points:

  1. The timing: The House voted down the Senate bill this afternoon. Now they’ll leave town, meaning the Senate can either cave or be blamed as the Highway Trust Fund goes dry before August recess ends and transportation works grind to a halt. Meanwhile, Sec. Anthony Foxx has warned state DOTs that federal payments will slow down August 1 — that’s tomorrow — if Congress doesn’t take action to keep the Fund from going insolvent.
  2. The numbers: The House is gloating that the Senate’s bill contains a $2 billion technical error — which is true; it comes up with just $6.2 billion of the $8.1 billion needed — but Senate Democrats say it can be easily fixed.
  3. The urgency: Since summer is the high season for construction, the real pressure on the Highway Trust Fund is between now and the end of the year, when states will need to get reimbursed for the work that’s going on now. That’s why there’s not a huge monetary difference between the House proposal that lasts till May and the Senate proposal that ends in December. There’s just not a lot of cash going out the door at U.S. DOT between January and May.
  4. The conflict: The House and Senate disagree on what budget gimmicks to use to “pay for” the transfer into the trust fund, but more fundamentally they disagree about how long the patch should be. As we’ve reported before, Boxer prefers a December deadline, saying it’s unfair for this Congress to fail to fix a problem that occurred on its watch and instead kick it to the next Congress. What she means is that she wants her six-year bill to pass and that won’t happen after the end of this year if the GOP wins a majority in the Senate and she loses the chairmanship of the EPW Committee. That’s precisely why the House is gunning for a May deadline.
  5. The breakdown: The Senate Republicans aren’t as enthusiastic as the House about having to take this up when they’re in charge. Thirteen Rs joined the Ds in pushing for a December sunset, including Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who wants to raise the gas tax and be done already. “Wouldn’t it be great to finish 2014 actually solving one issue; taking one issue off the plate next year?” he said yesterday at a WSJ press breakfast. Only one Democrat, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, voted no on Boxer’s date-change amendment. Notably, David Vitter, the ranking member on the EPW Committee, who has shown great bipartisan unity with Boxer, broke with her on this and voted to essentially flush their six-year-bill down the toilet. His predecessor, James Inhofe, voted in favor of Boxer’s December 19 deadline.
  6. The fallout: If the GOP does win the Senate in 2014, the conventional wisdom says they’ll lose it again in 2016. Will the Republicans really want to take on a tax increase of any kind during the only two years when they’ll get the lion’s share of the blame? Of course not. The prognosis is that if there’s no long-term bill this term, it’ll be another three years. Three more years of patchwork funding gimmicks is nothing to look forward to.