Mayoral and City Council Candidates Respond to TA Questionnaire

Mayoral candidates Albanese, de Blasio, Gronowicz, Liu, Thompson, Quinn, and Weiner responded to a survey from Transportation Alternatives. Image: ##http://transalt.org/files/ourwork/vote/candidateResponses/Mayoral%20Candidate%20Survey.pdf##TA##

This morning, Transportation Alternatives released the results of surveys it sent out to mayoral and City Council candidates. While council candidates expressed a wide variety of opinions, mayoral candidates primarily hammered home positions most of them have already discussed during the campaign, while revealing a few new details on their transportation and street safety policies.

Mayoral candidates Sal Albanese, Bill de Blasio, Anthony Gronowicz, John Liu, Bill Thompson, Christine Quinn, and Anthony Weiner responded to the survey. Adolfo Carrión, John Catsimatidis, Joe Lhota, George McDonald, and Erick Salgade did not reply.

In its coverage of the survey, WNYC said, “Generally speaking, the debate over bike lanes is settled. Candidates want more of them and want to increase cycling.” What’s not settled is how the candidates would do that, or how seriously they would support cycling once in office. De Blasio, Thompson, and Quinn specifically emphasized community process and outreach in their responses.

Albanese, de Blasio, and Quinn brought up their support for speed cameras in response to a question about NYPD’s inattention to traffic enforcement, while Liu reiterated his call to significantly expand the Collision Investigation Squad.

Absent from the survey was a question on where the candidates stand on congestion pricing or bridge tolls. Except for Liu, who plugged his proposal to enact bridge tolls and exempt city residents from paying the fee, none of the candidates brought up the issue.

Quinn’s response to a question about pedestrian safety began by establishing her bona fides in fighting electric bicycles. “I’ll continue to build on work I did as Speaker,” she said, “making it easier to enforce e-bike regulations.”

According to Thompson, better lighting and smoother sidewalks would help improve pedestrian safety. “Sometimes, simple solutions can be innovative,” the candidate said. “We need to ensure there is proper lighting and that our sidewalks are in good condition.”

Weiner added new details to a stance on parking minimums first reported by Streetsblog. “I propose mandating buildings be built with fewer parking spots and more bike spots,” he said in the questionnaire.

TA also released results of its City Council candidate surveys, after sending questionnaires to the 248 registered candidates vying for all 51 council seats. TA policy coordinator Alana Miller noted that many registered candidates do not have active campaigns. The group received 80 responses in return.

In addition to a questionnaire, TA’s council survey asked candidates to rank six issues from most to least important, including maintaining a large parking supply, bus improvements, targeting traffic enforcement, and adding traffic calming measures.

Six candidates ranked preserving a large supply of parking over the other issues. They are Sondra Peeden in District 27 in Queens, Frank “Richard” Hurley in District 35 in Brooklyn, Helal Sheikh in District 37 in Brooklyn, Joseph Hayon in District 44 in Brooklyn, and Natraj Bhushan in District 48 in Brooklyn.

“There are candidates who think that being able to park your car is more important than preventing traffic deaths,” Miller said, but she emphasized that the vast majority of candidates said encouraging things about walking, bicycling and transit. “They all have different reasons for supporting the issues that we work on,” Miller said, “from equity issues to convenience of getting around to the environment or public health.”

Transportation Alternatives received responses from most candidates in Districts 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 in Manhattan, Districts 19 and 26 in Queens, and Districts 35 and 38 in Brooklyn. “Some of these districts where there are very competitive candidates, you can tell they really took the time to answer the questions,” Miller said.

Of incumbents running unopposed, TA did not receive responses from Council Members Brad Lander, Daniel Dromm, and Mark Weprin. Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who is also running unopposed, sent in a response, as did Dan Garodnick, who only has one minor challenger. TA did not receive any responses from candidates in District 9 in Manhattan, Districts 13 and 14 in the Bronx, Districts 21, 23, 25, 28 and 30 in Queens, Districts 39 and 45 in Brooklyn, and District 51 in Staten Island.

  • Bolwerk

    No questions about subway enhancements, or what can be done to make rail projects get built more cost-effectively? I’d expect better from an organization called Transportation Alternatives. Rail expansion is of paramount importance to actually improving mobility. It can’t be ignored or replaced with gimmicks like monorails and bus “rapid transit.” At least candidates should be thinking about it; at worst we might hear how stupid some of their ideas about transit are!

  • Anonymous

    E-bikes: history’s greatest monster. I mean, in the last year alone they’ve killed . . . I mean, they’ve injured . . . I mean, they’ve annoyed a lot of people. And that, truly, is the ultimate sin.

    And of course City Council Member Mathieu Eugene didn’t respond to the survey. Why have an opinion on this? Residents of Flatbush, Crown Heights, Ditmas Park, PLG, East Flatbush–they don’t care about transit or street safety at all.

  • steely

    about a year ago the T.A. staff and board decided to refocus our work on our core bike, ped and street transformation, surface transit and safety campaigns. with the liks of tri state, straps, RPA and now the Riders Alliance now covering subway and rail, don’t fret, Mr. Bolwerk

  • Inspector Spacetime

    Still, they should have a statement and policy vector on specific subway and rail projects like Triboro RX and Woodhaven LIRR reactivation. As they pertain to surface transit, and their potential alleviation, they’re worth throwing some pixels at.

  • Anonymous

    Improving the bus service we already have everywhere in the city is of huge importance, it takes quite a Railfan to think otherwise.

  • Joe R.

    Yeah, I totally don’t understand the whole animus against e-bikes. Small, non-polluting vehicles like e-bikes are exactly what this city needs more of. NYC is the last place in the country where e-bikes should be illegal.

  • Anonymous

    This seems to be boiling down to a three way race to make the two slots in the run-off on the Democratic primary. Quinn seems like a lock for one o those two slots. That leaves Bill deBlasio and Thompson. Search those names in the upper right hand corner and choose the best one for the other slot.

  • Bolwerk

    What does it take to read something somebody didn’t say and react to it with a pointless harebrained insult? I don’t know who said buses aren’t important, but it wasn’t me. Admittedly, not all surface transit (what matters in this context) should be buses, but some of it should be.

  • Bolwerk

    I would think focus on the whole system would be the best deal for bikes especially, since you can reasonably take a bike on a subway and maybe even an LRV.

  • Bolwerk

    I just find anything less than a holistic approach to transit wrongheaded. Reactionary responses from mode ideologues (BBnet?) aside, the fact is rail is being ignored and surface transport is not. And politicians are getting away with it.

    Subways, LRVs, buses, bikes, and ped improvements are all critical, and in a place like New York none exactly work right without the others.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “De Blasio, Thompson, and Quinn specifically emphasized community process and outreach in their responses.”

    I wonder if any of them will put their money where their mouth is and wipe the “Potential Bicycle Route” lines right off the New York City Bike Map, on the grounds that “the community” didn’t petition and push for years to have those lines put there. After all, if they really think the process on PPW was inadequate…

  • Bolwerk

    Albanese is far and away the best on transportation. Liu might be preferred on civil liberties grounds, though I’m not sure. Albanese is spending a lot of time trying to pander to the police, who don’t seem to give a shit either about him either way, for some reason. Regardless, Albanese is polling so low he has pretty much no chance.

    So maybe Thompson or de Blasio represent a less evil middle ground than Weiner and Quinn.

  • Bolwerk

    They aren’t manly enough. Real men drive SUVs and motorcycles, which keep pedestrians safe by making collisions terminal so they won’t suffer.

  • Anonymous

    I took the quotes around “rapid transit” to be critical of the expansion of SBS (or of the idea of introducing real SBS in New York).

    Id be more than happy to see light rail on some of these routes (and a full subway on the Triboro RX right of way), but BRT can be done faster and cheaper (or at least can be in other countries, in the US we have managed to almost do away completely with the faster/cheaper advantage).

  • Bolwerk

    Buses by default have higher per-seat labor costs than rail, and “real BRT” has a greater capital expense than rail (niche exception: reclaiming a highway for transit?). SBS makes more sense to me because it is pretty cheap improvement over local buses, and it might serve populations that aren’t large enough to justify the higher capital expenditure of light rail or subways. Hell, I think every SBS feature we have should be as widespread as possible on buses – most importantly, POP – and that can be done almost for free in an amortization cycle or two.

    Yes, I do find the “bus rapid transit” label a bit disingenuous, but the scare quotes were more a barb about the gimmicky nature of the improvement than anything about buses. As far as “real BRT” is concerned, a better label would be grade-separated or private ROW buses.

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