Sustainable Streets Take a Hit in Bloomberg Budget Plan [Updated]

Mayor Bloomberg released his budget proposal yesterday and, with a $4.93 billion deficit to deal with, there’s not much good news. Scanning the many gap-closing measures proposed for the Department of Transportation [start on page E-57 of this PDF], there are at least two significant developments for livable streets and sustainable transport — one bad and one good.

First the bad news: The budget calls for cutting $5 million from DOT’s planning and sustainability program, which includes bus improvements, performance parking, the public plaza program, and congestion mitigation strategies, among other things. [Update: We originally reported that this cut would specifically affect the Division of Planning and Sustainability. DOT informs us that it would affect "any divisions involved in Complete Streets projects." The agency says it is still in the process assessing the impact of the potential cuts.]

Now the good news: The single biggest budget-closing mechanism under DOT’s purview entails raising the price of parking in Manhattan. The budget calls for raising an additional $8 million by increasing passenger parking rates from $2 to $2.50 per hour at all multi-space meters south of 86th Street, between Second Avenue and Ninth Avenue. Another $4.1 million will come from increasing the price of commercial parking by the same amount from 14th and 60th Street, between Second and Tenth Avenues. It makes a lot more sense to charge for the scarce resource of street space than it would to cut another $12 million.

These numbers could very well change. The budget counts on getting more from the state than Governor Paterson is currently offering. Mayor Bloomberg released a separate "Contingency Plan" in case state funds don’t materialize. At DOT, the contingency plan calls for another 537 positions to be eliminated.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Scott Stringer Asks: What Are Your Budget Priorities?

|
If you had to choose where the city should cut funding, which mode of transportation would you target? Personal automobiles, cabs, Access-A-Ride? How about buses, subways, bikes, and pedestrian safety enhancements? This somewhat loaded prompt is one of several transportation-related questions posed by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer in an online survey on the next […]

The 2013 NYC Streetsies, Part 3

|
Happy New Year, and welcome to the third and final installment of the 2013 NYC Streetsies, also known as the Streetsblog Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Lifetime Achievement We take it for granted these days that NYC DOT is primed to make change happen — that every year, the department will roll out a fresh new […]

The Winning Transpo Formula for a Third Term: Sustainability + Populism

|
Mr. Bloomberg, tear down this highway. A vision of West Farms Road with housing and shops instead of the Sheridan Expressway. Image: South Bronx River Watershed Alliance. Following Tuesday’s citywide elections, Streetsblog asked leading advocates and experts to lay out their ideas for the next four years of New York City transportation policy. What should […]

New Law Encourages DOT to Set Traffic Reduction Targets

|
Yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg signed into law Intro 199, a bill requiring New York City’s Department of Transportation to collect and monitor data specifically aimed at helping the city "to reduce automobile traffic and encourage more sustainable means of transportation vital to combating congestion, pollution and improving the City’s long term economic health." The new law […]

To Make Progress on Transportation Policy, Consistent Leadership Matters

|
Why do we fail? Chris Ward, the former head of the Port Authority, offered this provocative question at the start of Transportation 2030, the sequel to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer’s 2006 transportation conference. Considering how much progress has been made toward sustainable transportation since 2006, it seemed like an odd question at first. But […]

Andy Wiley-Schwartz Starts at DOT on Monday

|
Department of Transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan continues to assemble an impressive management team. Following in the footsteps of Bruce Schaller and Jon Orcutt, Project for Public Spaces vice president and transportation program director Andy Wiley-Schwartz is heading over to 40 Worth Street where he will be reporting to Deputy Commissioner Schaller at DOT’s new Office […]