New 78th Precinct Council Leader Has a Passion for Safe Streets

Last month, Wayne Bailey was elected to head the community council for NYPD’s 78th Precinct, which covers Park Slope, Prospect Park, and parts of adjacent neighborhoods. Bailey is a veteran neighborhood advocate and a long-time volunteer with Transportation Alternatives who has been involved with the precinct community council for years.

Wayne Bailey
Wayne Bailey

As Streetsblog readers know, under the direction of Deputy Inspector Michael Ameri, the 78th Precinct has emerged as a model for NYPD in the Vision Zero era. And as Bailey points out, Ameri was taking steps to address local street safety issues before Mayor de Blasio took office.

We asked Bailey via email about his new position, his plans for the council, and how the public can get involved to help make Brooklyn streets safer.

You were elected to the chair position, correct? How does that work?

Correction — no chair. The bylaws’ required positions are president, vice president, recording secretary, treasurer and sergeant-at-arms. [They] serve for two years and then stand for election, and then can only serve one additional two year term. To be eligible to vote you must attend four meetings, reside in the precinct or have a business interest. I was elected president at the June general meeting. [Editor’s note: Joanna Oltman Smith, another name familiar to Streetsblog readers, was elected council vice president.]

I read that you’ve been active on the precinct council for a number of years. What motivated you to seek the [presidency]?

The community council is a conduit for communication to the precinct and from the precinct; I already am very involved in the community. I am a CB 8 board member at-large, member of the Dean Street Block Association between Sixth and Vanderbilt, and deeply involved in mitigating the quality of life construction impacts from the Atlantic Yards project. Volunteering for over six years at TA, member of the CB 8 transportation committee, [and] working with the 78th and residents on all forms of today’s traffic issues, I felt that I was highly qualified to articulate and support the mayor’s Vision Zero platform and help implement that plan! The NYPD is accountable to address myriad issues, not just street safety, with the resources under their command, so it is imperative that we prioritize street safety issues that make us safest first.

What are your plans for the council, as far as street safety initiatives?

Continuing to work with DI Ameri and the 78th team developing and implementing solutions that will make for safer streets for all forms of transportation. DI Ameri is on the forefront of community policing, so he understands the importance that 78th Precinct residents put on street safety, and plans accordingly. But it’s not just about enforcement only! Outreach [from] 78th community affairs officers like Brian Laffey and DOT with local groups, like TA-Brooklyn or the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council Livable Streets Committee, is an essential part of any initiative to have any real measure of success.

DI Ameri has for two-plus years addressed street safety, even before the current Vision Zero agenda. Some examples are keeping the bike lane open on Bergen Street between Sixth Ave and Flatbush Avenue with barricades, [and] reallocation of some combat parking to keep the sidewalks open to pedestrians and NYPD bike patrols. These solutions are localized but have big impacts on safety for the general public because Bergen Street is a main bike commuter arterial into Manhattan.

How can others get involved?

Attend as many of the monthly meetings as you can to bring fresh new ideas and solutions, as well as report any concerns that may have gone unnoticed. The 78th Precinct community council meets the last Tuesday of every month at 7:30 p.m. at the precinct (Sixth Avenue and Bergen Street) from September to June. There is currently a separate transportation safety meeting that starts before the general meeting at 6:30 p.m. that anyone who has an interest in street safety should attend too!

  • Kevin Love

    Bravo! Mr. Bailey is one of the heroes of our times. Selflessly giving of himself to make NYPD a better place for its citizens.

    One question: “Combat parking”? What’s that?

  • Ian Turner
  • broolyn red

    great choice

  • Kevin Love

    Interesting definition. But the article’s context seems to imply that “Combat parking” is parking on the sidewalk.

    “…reallocation of some combat parking to keep the sidewalks open to pedestrians…”

    My concern is that this may be a euphemism to conceal NYPD’s illegal behavior and disrespect for the law.

  • Cold Shoaler

    Why is “keeping the bike lane open on Bergen Street between Sixth Ave and Flatbush Avenue with barricades” such a huge victory? That’s about 20 yards of a bike lane that runs from Ralph to Court. It’s on their doorstep, but the 78th needs barricades to do it. What about Dean between 6th and Carlton? That bike lane is a joke; though it might actually be even more so in Boerum Hill.

  • Cold Shoaler

    Your concerns are justified. In this context “combat parking” entails blocking all or nearly all of the sidewalk. The situation is improved, but the 78th is by no means a paragon in this regard.

  • Thank you 78th

    Di Ameri was out there with his officers clearing snow from the Bergen bike lane this past winter. What other precinct came anywhere close to that? You’re welcome.

  • Tyler

    Changing the deeply held sense of entitlement (read=corruption) in the NYPD will be a difficult process… the fact that they are actually doing something outside their precinct building is actually pretty amazing — relatively speaking. In reality it’s pretty sad and pathetic, but within the corrupt, above-the-law, do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do culture of the NYPD, this is great progress.

  • Bolwerk

    Well, it wouldn’t be too hard to fix if it became easy to fire shitty police officers. There seem to be plenty that could be dispensed with.

  • InTheSlope

    And other than post and complain in Streetsblog, what have you actually done to improve street safety?

  • Cold Shoaler

    I proffer no bona fides. My point is made by the text I post in this forum. If that doesn’t merit a response in your view, don’t respond. If the moderator finds it inappropriate, it can be redacted.

    My point, that the stretch of Bergen between 6th and Flatbush is not a laudable example of how bike lanes should work, stands. That’s not to diminish the work put into it by individuals who care, but to argue that it is neither scalable nor a paradigm.

    If anyone can counter that with something other than, “oh, the 78th are great”, which they probably are *by comparison*, please do.

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