Public Transit and Livable Streets

A more robust, efficient and fully-funded public transportation system is key to sustainable growth for our community, and for the city and region as a whole. At the same time, there are simple things we can do to make our city's streets safe for pedestrians, bikers and drivers alike. With more frequent subway and bus service, with safer and more better-planned streets, we can have both a metropolis that really works, and neighborhoods that are more livable day-to-day.

Tell Governor Cuomo: End the MTA’s signal failure.



Every day, New Yorkers wait in near-agony for subway trains running far behind schedule, late for work, for school, for doctor’s appointments. As the New York Times reported in anepic story on the subway crisis this Sunday, every single subway line has worsened dramatically (except one, more on that below). On-time performance has fallen far below every other major city (only Mexico City is even close).

What’s the number one cause of subway delays? Signal failures (even the MTA says so).

What’s the most important long-term fix for the subways? Modernizing the signal system. The Regional Plan Association says so. The MTA says so. The New York Times says so. And New Yorkers say so.

Unfortunately: Governor Cuomo and the MTA have not gotten the message.

The subway “rescue plan” developed by MTA Chairman Joe Lhota does not include any additional funding for signal modernization. Even worse, as the Times revealed this weekend, the MTA has cut half-a-billion dollars from signal projects under Governor Cuomo. The subway crisis is Governor Cuomo’s signal failure.

That’s why we are launching SignalFail.com. I hope you’ll check it out today, see how signal failures are harming New Yorkers, learn what we can do to modernize our signal system, and sign the petition calling on Governor Cuomo and the MTA to fix the signals.

SignalFail.com is a new online tool that my office developed to call attention to the need to fix the signals. We are launching it today, together with New York State Senators Liz Krueger and Kevin Parker, and Assembly Members Robert Carroll, Richard Gottfried, Jo Anne Simon, Assemblymember and Senator-Elect Brian Kavanagh   -- and hopefully you! -- to demand that the governor and the MTA to make modernizing the subway’s signal system their top long-term priority. Read more »

Bring Back the B71+!

When the MTA made system-wide budget cuts in 2010, Brooklynites were hit hard. Ten Brooklyn bus lines were eliminated (more than anyother borough), including the B71, which was a lifeline for seniors, students, and families along the Union Street corridor. Despite the economic recovery, the line was never restored, leaving riders stranded despite significant population growth along the route. Meanwhile, nearby residents of Red Hook remain in a transit desert, despite physical proximity to Manhattan. Read more »

Bring back our bus! Restore the B71 with a new link through Red Hook to Manhattan

 Brooklynites were hit hard in 2010 when the MTA eliminated the B71, which ran along Union Street, and was a lifeline for seniors, students, and families.

To this day, every time I visit the Eileen Dugan Senior Center, they have a very clear message: “Bring back our bus!” Despite economic recovery and significant population growth along the route, the line has never been restored, leaving thousands of riders stranded. Read more »

Testimony Supporting Proposed NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission Rules To Require For-Hire Vehicle (FHV) Accessibility

Good morning, Chair Joshi and Commissioners. I am Council Member Brad Lander. I’m here today to express my strong support for the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission’s (TLC) proposed rule to require for-hire vehicle (FHV) bases to send 25% of their dispatched trips to wheelchair accessible vehicles. Read more »

Reading the signals: a long way to go to fix the subways

Two things are clear to me from yesterday’s City Council hearing on the crisis facing NYC’s subways: First, there’s no quick & easy fix. Second, unfortunately, Governor Cuomo and the MTA are not yet serious about putting forward a real, long-term solution.

So, we’re going to need to keep organizing until they do.   Read more »

Statement of City Council Member Brad Lander on MTA’s Emergency Rescue Plan

 Statement of City Council Member Brad Lander on MTA’s Emergency Rescue Plan

A Good Start, but Nowhere Near Enough. Real Progress Will Require Significant, Long-Term Investment from Smart, Progressive Revenue Sources.

Read more »

Share your #SubwayWoes, with me & the MTA

Signal malfunctions, switch problems, power failures, sick passengers. In recent weeks, I’ve heard from so many of you about subway problems that have upended your schedule, made you miss meetings or classes, and snarled New York City.

If you think things are getting worse underground, you aren’t imagining it. Subway reliability has dropped dramatically, with delays doubling over the past five years.

Tomorrow, as part of our budget hearings, the MTA will testify before the New York City Council. Although the MTA is a state-controlled agency (the majority of seats on the board are appointed by Governor Cuomo), they have at least agreed to appear before us. Read more »

Help NYC Develop a Citywide Transit Plan

As NYC grows, we urgently need thoughtful planning to improve our public transportation. So I’m very pleased that the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) is working with us to do just that. Read more »

Still and always, grateful

Some years, gratitude is closer to the surface. Some years, it takes a little more digging.

Four years ago, as Thanksgiving came, we were recovering from a natural disaster.

Hurricane Sandy had taken the lives of loved ones, and battered our city. There were 500 nursing home evacuees living on the drill floor of the Park Slope Armory. But we found – no, together, we made – a “paradise built in hell” (the title of a brilliant book by Rebecca Solnit, about the extraordinary communities that arise in disaster). With food, music, art, volunteers, bathroom-cleaning, doctors, donations, smart organizing, love, and a deep sense of purpose, we turned that Armory into a place (as described by evacuee Miriam Eisenstein-Drachler) of “courtesy, gentleness, and goodness beyond description.” Even if it could not hold back the hurricane, she said, “it makes one feel more secure and very, very grateful.”

Today, as Thanksgiving comes, we are trying to recover from a political disaster. While the lives lost and damage done by Hurricane Sandy cannot be directly compared, the experience of loss for many of us is still real. Not just that we lost an election, though that will have profound consequences. What feels especially painful to me today is the risk that we’ll lose a vision that we’ve been so proud to hold up for our kids – of a country called to its best self, rooted in compassion, embracing difference, with a real belief (even when we don’t make it real) that everyone deserves a more equal chance across all our lines.

That very dream, and the effort to make it real, provoked a sharp back-lash (a “white-lash”, as Van Jones rightly called it). At this moment, it seems easier to mobilize the darker, more closed, more resentful, sides of humanity – rather than the hopeful, open, embracing ones. I’m afraid, honestly, about what that means for being human.  

Still and always, gratitude is a critical part of the way forward. Not as a way of “feeling better” (although gratitude turns out to be good for your health). And not only because bitterness can consume us (although John Lewis reminds us that hearts full of love will do a lot better to sustain us for a long-term struggle). But also because gratitude for what we do together, for what we can’t do alone, for the ways we need each other, is at the heart of creating an inclusive community. “Organized compassion” is not only how we fight but what we are fighting for.

So, in that spirit, here’s some of what I am so deeply grateful for, still and always: Read more »