Tomorrow's Democratic primaries will be the decisive vote in most City Council districts, determining who will represent New York City neighborhoods for the next four years. In some races, the outcome is likely to come down to a few hundred votes or fewer.
Two weeks ago, Streetsblog sent four open-ended questions to the candidates in eight contested City Council races. We’ll be publishing the responses we received, as well as supplementary material from StreetsPAC questionnaires, in a series of posts this afternoon.
Below are the responses for the 28th District, in southeast Queens. Richard David, Hettie Powell, and Adrienne Adams are running to replace Ruben Wills, who resigned last month after being convicted for stealing public funds.
Only David responded to Streetsblog's questions. Below our Q&A are answers from David and Powell to selected items on the StreetsPAC questionnaire.
New York City bus service keeps getting worse. Average speeds are the slowest in the nation, and ridership continues to drop. New York City government can improve service by prioritizing buses on city streets. What policies do you support to make bus service faster and more reliable? Where would you like to see bus improvements in your district?
Richard David: 1) Introducing count down clocks to let riders know when the next bus is coming. These clocks should be synced with the busses to allow real time updates on bus arrivals and increase punctuality.This helps seniors and other who may not have smart phones. It also help to build trust with bus riders - sometimes, as we all know, the buses just don't show up at all or they show up bunched together. 2) Advocate for an increase in the number of busses, including express busses. 3) Redeveloping the Jamaica Bus Terminal is also long overdue. 4) Fight fare increases that increasing prevent students and working class families from taking the bus. 5) Hold more community forums between MTA and residents.
How would you make bicycling safer in your district? Do you support the expansion of protected bike lanes, even if street space has to be reallocated from traffic lanes or parking spaces?
Richard David: On certain corridors, bike lanes would be appropriate and would not make traffic a greater nightmare for drivers.
How can the City Council best use its powers to reduce traffic deaths and injuries and ensure all New Yorkers can safely walk and bike to get where they want to go?
Richard David: Fully fund DOT, prioritize the redesign of arterial streets, work with Albany to get more speed cameras installed. Community boards also need reform: we should work to ensure that all CB's have a diverse membership, including members who bike, walk, and take public transit to get around.
Congestion pricing has been in the news as a potential way to reduce traffic jams and fund the transit system. One option is the Move NY plan, which would toll all East River crossings and a cordon across Manhattan at 60th street while reducing tolls on outlying MTA crossings. The revenue would fund the MTA capital program, accelerating transit improvements and reducing the need for future fare hikes. Do you support this plan?
Richard David: I support that plan if it has an affordable congestion pricing for those in New York are living on a fixed income or receiving minimum wages to be able to get in the city as well.
From the StreetsPAC questionnaire:
Do you support the Move NY fair tolling plan?
David: I have some concerns with the MoveNY fair tolling plan and how funds will be used to help my district, which is and has been a transportation desert.
Will you pledge to support efforts to allow the Department of Transportation to operate speed cameras 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year?
Do you believe that Community Boards should have veto power over projects proposed by the NYC Department of Transportation?