Google Maps: Please add "reduce left turns" and "stay on truck routes" options

Last week, I wrote a letter -- together with Ydanis Rodriguez, Chair of the Council's Committee on Transportation -- asking Google Maps to add "reduce left turns" and "stay on truck routes" features to their application. These simple steps will help reduce crashes, make our streets safer and more livable, and even save lives.  You can view a copy of our letter below (and check coverage by WNYC here).

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Great ruling for Prospect Park Residence seniors: Judge refuses cynical effort to have their case dismissed.

In response to Justice Wayne Saitta's July 1 decision to deny the "motion to dismiss" in the case involving the seniors at the Prospect Park Residence, New York City Council Member Brad Lander issued the following statement:

“I’m thrilled with Judge Saitta’s wise and fair decision to allow the courageous seniors of the Prospect Park Residence to have their case heard at trial. The despicable owner Haysha Deitsch and the Cuomo Administration’s NYS Department of Health sought to have their case dismissed, but Judge Saitta has denied their motions. Read more »

A great day for the U.S. (and a good NYC budget, too)!

What a day! The U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed what Meg and I – and the overwhelming majority of residents of our community – have long believed: that love is love, and that every state must recognize marriage of LGBTQ Americans equally with straight ones. 

I especially liked this part of Justice Kennedy’s decision: “The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning.” Read more »

What’s next for the LICH site?

Together with so many of you, I fought hard against the closure and sell-off of Long Island College Hospital. We protested together in snow, heat, and rain, took over SUNY board meetings, engaged in civil disobedience, went to court to block a process that was rife with flaws and appeared rigged, and appealed over-and-over to Governor Cuomo.

Unfortunately, we were not able to block the sale. Governor Cuomo, the NYS Department of Health, and SUNY turned their backs on our neighborhood. They closed the hospital, and sold the site for the most money they could, without regard for our neighborhood’s needs. 

But Cobble Hill did come together as a united community – and we are going to need that unity even more in the days ahead.  Read more »

A safer Caton Avenue & Albemarle Road –> and more changes on the way

Back in January, hundreds of community members filled the PS 130 auditorium to address longstanding concerns about pedestrian safety in Kensington and Windsor Terrace – concerns made all the more pressing by the tragic death of a teenager, Mohammed Naiem Uddin, just a few weeks before. At the January meeting, the NYC Department of Transportation presented a comprehensive plan to enhance safety in the area. Since then, we have been steadily pushing forward to make sure Kensington and Windsor Terrace get the safety improvements that students, seniors, families, and all of us need.

To keep you up to date about DOT’s progress, my office has created the K/WT Street Safety Tracker on our website, which allows you to see the status of each of the elements in their plan. We’ve already taken some major steps forward together. I encourage you to check out the many improvements planned for our area. Read more »

Another victory for carwasheros

Through the winter, so many of you stood side-by-side with the carwasheros at Vegas Auto Spa in Park Slope. This spring – thanks to their courage and our community’s solidarity – they won a huge victory: a union contract with better wages, worker protections, and a $1,500 per-person signing bonus. 

This week, carwasheros across NYC (along with their partners at Make the Road NY, New York Communities for Change, and the RWDSU) won another big victory for fair wages, better working conditions, and basic worker dignity. Read more »

A Few Thoughts on the "Zoning for Quality and Affordability" Plan

I've heard from many of you about the NYC Department of City Planning’s “Zoning for Quality and Affordability” (ZQA) text amendment proposal. The Park Slope Civic Council and other civic and preservation organizations have also shared their opinions with me, and asked me to take a position on the proposal.

Most of the attention in the civic and preservation communities has focused on the element of this proposal that would allow height increases of 5’ to 15’ in contextual districts, with no requirement of affordable, senior, or supportive housing. Read more »

Why I support Mayor de Blasio’s 421-a reform proposal

(along with stronger rent laws, a mansion tax, and a real strategy for lifting up workers)

For more than a decade, I’ve been fighting to reform New York’s “421-a” property tax-exemption – which has long been a far-too-generous giveaway to developers, too expensive to NYC, unnecessary to encourage development, and generating far too little affordable housing. Read more »

The democratic promise of our public schools

Nothing is more important to our democracy than strong public schools that offer all kids a genuine opportunity to learn, grow, solve problems, imagine, create, work in teams, get ready for careers, and become citizens of NYC. In just a few short weeks – at 5th grade, 8th grade, and high-school graduations across the district – we’ll have a chance to see and celebrate the magic that happens daily in our public schools.

We’re lucky to have many great schools in District 15. And we’re making some strong steps forward: I’m especially excited about the continued expansion of Pre-K in our community. Next fall, I believe that the majority of four-year-olds in our neighborhoods will be served in free, high-quality, public Pre-K programs. 

Still, we’ve got a long way to go to fulfill the true democratic promise of public education. Across NYC, too many of our schools aren’t providing kids with the education they need. And as you’ve been reading in the news, we are still grappling with many public policy issues (though most of these are set, for better or worse, at the state level) from mayoral control to high-stakes testing to the charter school cap.

I won’t go into all of those here – but I did want to fill you in on some of the work my office has been doing in recent days to strengthen our City’s schools: confronting segregation & improving diversity, re-imagining the middle-school admissions process, the PTA 5k fun-run-for-schools, school crossing guards, and more: Read more »

City Council Passes “School Diversity Accountability Act”

New law will require NYC Department of Education to provide detailed demographic data & steps it is taking to advance diversity in NYC schools, Seen as strong tool for advocates confronting school segregation.

NEW YORK – Today, the New York City Council voted to pass new policies designed to confront segregation and increase diversity in NYC public schools. Read more »

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