Thompson Puts Cars First in Transportation Platform

It looks like Bill Thompson didn’t get the word about how well bike lanes and pedestrian plazas are polling.

Bill Thompson unveils his transportation platform this morning. Photo: ##http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/politics/2013/08/8532950/bill-thompson-unveils-car-focused-transportation-plan##Dana Rubinstein/Capital New York##

This morning, at a Staten Island bus depot that is most easily accessed by car, Thompson got in line behind Christine Quinn and Bill de Blasio, the other leading mayoral candidates, by unveiling his transportation platform. And man, is it a doozy.

“Of the three leading Democratic candidates for mayor, Thompson offered by far the most driver-friendly transportation vision for New York City,” reports Capital New York’s Dana Rubinstein. “He mentioned pedestrians not at all.”

Here are the salient points of Thompson’s plan:

  • Parking: Thompson promises pay-by-phone parking meters, framing it as a way to reduce parking tickets. He also says he will work with churches to provide parking to businesses and residents during the week.
  • Tolls: Rubinstein reports that Thompson called for “toll equity.” However, his website says he opposes “bridge tolls over the East and Harlem Rivers that would create hardship for working families.” Rubinstein asked about the Move NY plan, which adds tolls to the East River bridges but lowers them where transit options aren’t available. “I’m not prepared to adopt that,” Thompson replied.
  • Bikes: Bicycling wasn’t mentioned in Thompson’s platform or speech, so Rubinstein asked him about it. “My greatest concern has been the lack of coordination with communities and the fact that they weren’t involved in the planning,” Thompson said. (Maybe he should go to a community board meeting sometime.) Thompson says he likes bike-share but, according to Rubinstein, “thinks some bike lanes are alright and others aren’t.”
  • CityTicket: Thompson would push to expand this MTA program, which charges $4 for weekend trips within city limits on Metro-North and LIRR, by allowing it on weekdays and lowering the price to cost the same as a MetroCard swipe.
  • Ferries: Thompson supports increased night and weekend Staten Island Ferry service and pledged to find funds to maintain service to the Rockaways.
  • Buses: Thompson promises “a true BRT system” to serve areas including Staten Island and eastern Queens. He also spoke about adding more express bus routes and restoring buses cut in 2010, Rubinstein said.
  • MTA Funding: Restoration of the commuter tax is high on Thompson’s list, as is a weight-based vehicle registration surcharge that he estimates could raise $1 billion. Thompson has advocated these ideas, which would require state approval, since at least 2008.

Thompson’s platform does not have a definitive street safety plank, saying only that “Thompson will ensure the safety of pedestrians, drivers and cyclists.” At the event unveiling his transportation platform, Thompson received the endorsement of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 726.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Thompson, Avella Pledge to Dump Sadik-Khan If Elected

|
Tony Avella and Bill Thompson. Photo: Daily News. I didn’t get to watch last night’s Democratic mayoral debate between Bill Thompson and Tony Avella, so I missed the high drama that ensued when the candidates were asked if they’ll retain Janette Sadik-Khan as transportation commissioner. Good thing Brian Lehrer played excerpts on his show this […]

Thompson: Baseless Speculation Trumps Safety Gains on Grand Street

|
Mayoral contender Bill Thompson continues to elaborate on his opposition to the city’s expanded bike infrastructure. In an interview published Friday, Thompson told the Downtown Express that just because injuries are down on Grand Street since the installation of a protected bike lane last year, doesn’t mean those improvements should be preserved. According to Dept. […]

The Third Term

|
For the next four years, Mike Bloomberg will be joined in citywide office by Democrats Bill de Blasio and John Liu. Mike Bloomberg defeated Bill Thompson yesterday to claim a third term as New York City mayor, but no one except the mayor’s own staff is calling the five point margin a victory for the […]

Bill Thompson Rents Ads-by-Bicycle to Woo Borough Park Voters

|
Here’s an ironic twist for the mayoral candidate who all but ignored bicycling and walking in his transportation platform: Bill Thompson has rented mobile advertisements-by-bike, with yellow-vested, red-helmeted riders pedaling around Borough Park with Yiddish-language advertisements for his campaign. Despite Thompson’s anemic transportation policy, it’s a step up from the last time around. In 2009, he made […]

Bill Thompson Was for Bike Lanes Before He Was Against Them

|
The current iteration of Grand Street, by most any objective measure, has to be considered a success. In the year since it was reconfigured to host the city’s first parking-protected bike lane, with the blessing of Community Board 2, injuries are down 30 percent, with about 1,000 cyclists using the lane daily. Thompson tells NY1 […]

Thompson vs. Bloomberg: The Ultimate Bicycling Referendum?

|
Tonight’s debate will be broadcast on NY1. Tonight at 7:00, mayoral contenders Mike Bloomberg and Bill Thompson face off in the first debate of the general election. Andrew Hawkins at City Hall News has some good pre-debate reading for New Yorkers who care about how this election will affect the future of our streets and […]