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.

Remembering Sammy Cohen-Eckstein

I'll be honest. I wasn’t sure I could attend the Park Slope Participatory Budgeting Neighborhood Assembly on Thursday night. Like so many friends and neighbors, I was still shaken in the hours after the funeral for Sammy Cohen-Eckstein, who was hit by a van on Prospect Park West on Tuesday. It feels like our whole community was punched in the gut.

No words are going to help us comprehend this tragedy. But I wanted to share a little of what I’ve been thinking. Read more »

Residents Bring Ocean Pkwy Petition to Governor

NEW YORK, NY - Earlier today, Council Member Brad Lander, Kensington neighborhood residents, and transportation safety advocates, delivered the ‘Our neighborhood is not a highway’ petition directly to Governor Cuomo’s Manhattan office. The petition calls on the New York State Department of Transportation to sign-off on a safety plan to address crash-prone intersection at Church Avenue and Ocean Parkway, where a pedestrian was killed earlier this summer. Read more »

City should help foot bill to spread Citi Bike program, Councilman Brad Lander says

NY Daily News
07/31/2013

Citi Bike appears to be stuck in first gear, and one City Councilman says it’s going to require an injection of city cash to make sure that the popular cycling initative doesn’t stay docked in Manhattan and north Brooklyn.

The program, launched in May, has been funded entirely through sponsorship agreements with privately-run companies, including a $41 million, five-year commitment from Citigroup.

But the city government is going to need to get involved — and quickly — if the more than 300 docking stations and their bright blue bikes are to be pedaled across a wider swath of the city, says Councilman Brad Lander, who was recently honored by the White House as a “Champion of Change” for creating a way to allow his constituents to vote on how to spend $950,000 in City Council funds.

The Brooklyn pol said he would use capital funding to make sure the bikes — which are now limited to Manhattan south of 59th St. and northern Brooklyn — keep rolling into his central Brooklyn district.

“It’s a piece of public transportation infrastructure,” he said. “I’d be glad to allocate some city capital to expanding bike share stations.” Read more »

Eyes on the Street: Bike Contraflow Over the Gowanus

StreetsBlog
07/26/2013

Reader Keith Williams, who blogs at The Weekly Nabe, recently got a few shots of the brand new contraflow bike lane in progress on Union Street. This project will add a sorely needed westbound bike connection across the Gowanus Canal — part of a route that jogs from Degraw, down to Union, then back up to Sackett.

The contraflow lane on Union is notable for a few reasons.

One, it came out of Council Member Brad Lander’s 2012 participatory budgeting process. In the end it wasn’t paid for with Lander’s discretionary funds (other projects got more votes), but because Lander put out the call for ideas, it got NYC DOT’s attention. So, chalk one up for community-based planning. Read more »

NYC Council Bill Calls for Citywide Bus Rapid Transit Network

WNYC
07/24/2013

New York City's transit authority has introduced five Select Bus Service routes in recent years and proposed more than 20 others, but that's not enough for some supporters of faster buses who want to use legislation to speed the city's adoption of Bus Rapid Transit.

Council Member Brad Lander introduced a bill on Wednesday that would require the MTA and the NYC Department of Transportation to create plan for a citywide system of Bus Rapid Transit, like the existing Select Bus Service express buses. Read more »

The real champions of change

I’m honored to be in Washington DC today to receive a “Champions of Change” award from the White House for work (along with Alderman Joe Moore from Chicago, and Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito from East Harlem) on participatory budgeting.

I’m excited to meet and learn from other elected officials, not-for-profit leaders, and community organizers who are pioneering new forms of civic engagement and open government (like Jessica Klein, co-founder of Rockaway Help, which created new technology tools to enable people to collaborate for disaster relief). 

But there is something not-quite-right about getting an award for something as inclusive as participatory budgeting (which The New York Times called “revolutionary civics in action”). The whole idea of participatory budgeting is to see elected office not as a vehicle for one person’s leadership, but as a way to bring people together to take shared responsibility.  The best part of participatory budgeting is how people step up together to act as stewards of the shared public realm – our schools, parks, public transportation, streets, libraries – that makes our life together possible, and sometimes even ennobling. Read more »

Great steps forward for the G train

If you’re like me, you’ve often had to make the “G train shuffle,” sometimes with your kids or packages in tow. Because G trains are shorter than the platform, and stop in different locations, somehow I’m never in the right place when the train arrives.

Thanks to smart advocacy and hard work by advocates and elected officials, the “G train shuffle” will soon come to an end. And we’ll see other much-needed improvements to the G (aka the “Brooklyn Local”) as well. Read more »

Hicks Street turns a corner

Thanks to sustained community leadership, Hicks Street is finally a bit safer. What has been a dangerous and disruptive speedway is now a few steps closer to being a safe and neighborhood-friendly street for Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens. Read more »

Take action for a safer Church Ave & Ocean Parkway

One week ago, there was an awful crash at Ocean Parkway and Church Avenue, near the entrance to the Prospect Expressway, which took like the life of our neighbor, Ngozi Agbim. The news was truly heartbreaking. We’ve been working for years to fix that intersection. But we were too late to prevent the tragedy that took Ngozi’s life.

Please help make sure we make this intersection safer before there are any more tragedies there. Sign our petition to New York State DOT today. Read more »

Kensington Residents Demand Ped Safety Improvements

With cars whizzing by this morning, Kensington residents, transportation advocates, and City Council Member Brad Lander called on the New York State Department of Transportation to sign-off on safety improvements at the dangerous Church Avenue - Ocean Parkway intersection. 

One year ago, residents voted in Council Member Lander’s “participatory budgeting” election to allocate $200,000 to safety upgrades at the notorious intersection – but that money has gone unspent because the New York State Department of Transportation has not approved a plan from the New York City DOT that would make it safer to cross.

The death earlier this week of Ngozi Agbim, 73, who was hit and killed by a semi truck at the intersection on Monday, has left the neighborhood sad and angry. Read more »