In Albany, Tuesday’s Election Probably Maintained the Status Quo

Republicans won an outright majority in the state senate yesterday, which means Senate Majority John Flanagan (far right) will keep his place at the decision making table with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Governor Andrew Cuomo (left and center, respectively). Photo: Flickr/NY Governor's Office
Republican Senate Majority John Flanagan (far right) will remain one of Albany’s three men in a room, along with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Governor Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Flickr/NY Governor’s Office

A few races are still too close to call, but it looks as though Republicans will maintain control of the State Senate next year, likely preserving an alliance with the growing Independent Democratic Conference.

The outcome means that Albany will by and large remain a challenging but not impossible political landscape for advocates seeking to make streets safer and improve transit.

In 2014, the Republican-IDC coalition passed bills to lower the default NYC speed limit to 25 mph and expand the city’s speed camera program from 20 locations near schools to 140. But since then, Albany’s political leadership has failed to advance significant street safety legislation. Making progress in 2017 will probably hinge on individual members of the IDC whose positions on speed cameras have shifted from one session to the next.

The Move New York toll reform package, meanwhile, which has been gradually accumulating political endorsements, lost five supporters in the Assembly, mostly to retirement. Governor Andrew Cuomo has said he would consider supporting Move NY legislation if he felt it was politically viable. While that position was always a dodge for Cuomo, who could single-handedly give Move NY serious momentum, it suggests that lining up a large number of sponsors in the legislature could sway him.

Before this election, the Assembly version of the package (A09633) had the support of 32 of the 100 or so members who represent counties served by the MTA. It will likely take some work just to regain that position.

Some freshman Assembly members, like Washington Heights’ Carmen De La Rosa, a former chief of staff to City Council transportation chair Ydanis Rodriguez, should be counted on to back transit and safe streets initiatives. De La Rosa replaced Guillermo Linares, who was a sponsor of Move NY. Another newly elected Assembly member, Harlem Council Member Inez Dickens, has opposed bus lanes and shown little interest in safe streets. She replaces Keith Wright, a Move NY sponsor.

In the Senate, Move NY has the support of Republican sponsor Andrew Lanza and IDC member Diane Savino, both of Staten Island, as well as a few Democrats. As members of the likely majority, Lanza and Savino’s support is important, but not enough to deliver a vote for toll reform in the Senate.

The fact remains that Andrew Cuomo is the one person who can make Move NY a live issue, and Cuomo has his eye on the presidency again.

  • Kevin Love

    “Governor Andrew Cuomo has said he would consider supporting Move NY legislation if he felt it was politically viable.”

    Of course, the thing that would most effectively make it politically viable would be Mr. Cuomo’s support.

    Meanwhile, not far away, just across the New York/Ontario border, the provincial government has announced plans to allow municipalities to install photo radar speed cameras in school zones. Yes, all municipalities in all school zones. No 140 limit in one city only. And the leaders of the opposition parties supported the plans. See:

    https://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2016/11/08/photo-radars-are-coming-back-near-ontario-schools-wynne-says.html

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Livable Streets Progress in Albany Will Have to Go Through a GOP Senate

|
Andrew Cuomo may have won re-election, but New York was no exception to the national Republican wave in yesterday’s elections. The GOP regained control of the State Senate, weakening its bond with the Independent Democratic Conference and keeping mainline Democrats in the minority. With last night’s results, the landscape for transit and livable streets legislation […]

Winners and Losers From Tuesday’s Primary

|
The big headline after yesterday’s election was the bite Zephyr Teachout took from the left flank of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s primary win. While the governor dominates the agenda in Albany, there were also important developments for livable streets in down ballot races. Espaillat survives threat from Jackson. In Upper Manhattan, Adriano Espaillat avoided losing his […]

Get Ready for Next Week’s Speed Cam Rally With This Streetfilms Comic

|
The campaign to get Albany to allow speed cameras outside every school in NYC is gaining steam. Assembly Member Deborah Glick’s bill now has companion legislation in the Senate, introduced by Jose Peralta. The bill would allow any school to have automated speed enforcement without the current time of day restrictions, and would remove Albany’s 2018 sunset provision, making the city’s […]