ROUND TWO: StreetsPAC Issues More Council Endorsements
12:01 AM EDT on June 2, 2021
Last week, we gave you the first round of City Council endorsements issued by StreetsPAC, the city's only political action committee devoted to the livable streets movement. Today, we present the remainder:
What a difference eight years makes.
Just eight years ago, StreetsPAC made just 18 endorsements in the 2014 City Council primary. But this year, with the release of its second slate of approvals, the street safety political action committee has issued endorsements in 33 of the 51 races (a few races have incumbents who are cruising to re-election).
And also unlike eight years ago, more and more candidates are boosters of the street safety agenda, "which was seen as a fringe issue eight years ago," the group said in a statement.
"We're just so impressed by the depth of talent of the people running to serve in the City Council — and with how committed they are to centering street safety and advocacy for improved public transit in their campaigns," the group added. "Many of them have published detailed, and impressively progressive, transportation agendas."
Here are the latest endorsements:
Christopher Marte (District 1, Lower Manhanttan): Marte, who lost to retiring Council Member Margaret Chin in 2017, told StreetsPAC that he supports pedestrianizing the Seaport District and a big chunk of the Financial District. He also favors a protected crosstown bike lane on Chambers Street, among other routes. He said he would advocate for delivery cyclists to be able to use the Hudson River Greenway. The group recommends Gigi Li, Chin's chief of staff, as a second choice. (We wrote about this race earlier in the year.)
Billy Freeland (District 5, Upper East Side, pictured): Freeland stands out in a solid field to succeed Ben Kallos, who is running for borough president.
StreetsPAC cited attorney Freeland's "passionate commitment to changing the district's streets" that includes "overhauling Third Avenue and transforming Citi Bike into a public utility."
Much of Freeland's agenda was published by Streetsblog earlier in the campaign. For a second pick, StreetsPAC recommends Julie Menin, who made Streetsblog headlines for her plan to reimagine the FDR Drive. Kim Moscaritolo was ranked third.
Mario Rosser (District 9, Harlem): Rosser wants more dedicated bike lanes and better bus service in his district. Incumbent Bill Perkins did not participate in our endorsement process (he rarely returns our calls also).
Shanequa Moore (District 12, Wakefield): Moore, a social worker, is challenging Kevin Riley for the northern Bronx seat he won in a special election in December. (Riley did not participate in the StreetsPAC process.) Moore says she would advocate for redesigning wide and dangerous streets such as Boston Road. She wants bike-share expanded to the district, with more protected infrastructure.
John Sanchez (District 15, Fordham): Sanchez, who is well known to Streetsblog readers, is district manager of Bronx Community Board 6 and has made safe streets a centerpiece of his campaign. He wants to reduce car use, in part with busways on Fordham Road and Third Avenue, and more protected bike lanes. He has called for massive expansion in daylighting street corners.
Tiffany Cabán (District 22, Astoria): Cabán, whom StreetsPAC endorsed in 2019 for Queens DA, said she supports redesigning streets, creating car-free superblocks and a busway on 21st Street busway. Evie Hantzopoulos got the committee's "very strong" number two ranking.
Shekar Krishnan (District 25, Jackson Heights): Krishnan is a civil rights attorney who is well known to Streetsblog readers for his support for a 34th Avenue linear park.
Krishnan told StreetsPAC that he would prioritize building more transit corridors and busways and dedicated bus lanes on streets like Northern Boulevard, where he supports a comprehensive redesign.
He'll also advocate for a network of connected and protected bike lanes, and more space for pedestrians throughout the district.
Carolyn Tran earned the group's number two slot in District 25 — the race to succeed term-limited Council Member Danny Dromm.
Amit Bagga and Julie Won (District 26, Sunnyside): There are so many good candidates that StreetsPAC had to pick two: Bagga is a City Hall veteran staffer, said he wanted to help delivery cyclists, plus expand express buses and make the transit system "universally accessible." Won "will bring an advocate's passion to the fight for better street design," StreetsPAC said. She knows first-hand what it's like to commute by bike — she was struck by a hit-and-run driver last November. Jesse Laymon earned StreetsPAC's number three ranking.
Juan Ardila (District 30, Middle Village): Ardila is challenging incumbent Council Member Robert Holden, who is an opponent of many street safety initiatives. Ardila wants to improve transportation access with better bus service to transit hubs, the reopening of a former LIRR stations, and more subway station accessibility. He supports a connected network of protected bike lanes.
Lincoln Restler (District 33, Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Downtown): Restler, a former de Blasio staffer who founded New Kings Democrats, said he would advocate for a network of concrete-protected bike lanes, safer intersections, improved bus service, and seamless integration of fares for all transit, including Citi Bike. Restler recently told Streetsblog that he wants to eliminate placards.
As a second pick, StreetsPAC recommends Elizabeth Adams, who was term-limited Council Member Steve Levin's legislative director. She played a crucial role in Levin's bill that would allow citizens to report illegal parking.
Crystal Hudson (District 35, Fort Greene): Hudson told StreetsPAC that she wants increased investment in Vision Zero, bus rapid transit and open streets, as well as getting the NYPD out of traffic enforcement. StreetsPAC chose Michael Hollingsworth as its "strong" second choice.
Sandy Nurse (District 37, Bushwick): Nurse, a community organizer and carpenter, is challenging short-term incumbent Darma Diaz, who won a special election after the resignation of Rafael Espinal. Nurse is keen on improving transit service in a district where two-thirds of residents don't have a car.
Rodrigo Camarena and César Zuñiga (District 38, Sunset Park). Term-limited Council Member Carlos Menchaca has many highly qualified would-be successors, and StreetsPAC was only able to narrow the field down to two: Camarena, a bike commuter, said he would focus on keeping delivery cyclists safe. He also supports improved bus and ferry service. Zuñiga, the chairman of Community Board 7, is laser focused on the dangers of Third Avenue. He also supports improved bus service and a protected cycling network. Alexa Avilés earned the group's number three pick.
Brandon West (District 39, Park Slope): In a surprise, StreetsPAC chose West, a City Hall budget analyst, over better-known candidates to succeed term-limited Brad Lander. The group cited West's advocacy for a "15-minute city," and for a fare system that works across all transit (which he thinks should be free). Shahana Hanif, Justin Krebs, and Doug Schneider were all listed as worthy second picks. StreetsPAC said it could not see enough daylight to separate them.
Rita Joseph (District 40, Flatbush): Joseph, who is well known to Streetsblog readers, is one of many qualified candidates to succeed undistinguished Council Member Mathieu Eugene, "for whom transportation has been an afterthought, at best," StreetsPAC said.
Joseph got the nod because she said she would advocate for better public transit, including busways, and demand faster expansion of Citi Bike and protected lanes.
Josue Pierre got the group's second pick.
Nikki Lucas (District 42, Canarsie): StreetsPAC hopes to break the Barron monopoly on this seat — which has been occupied by Charles or Inez for two decades (Assembly Member Charles Barron is running for his old seat now that his wife is done with it). Lucas got the nod over Wilfredo Florentino (who was picked second) because the group believes her name recognition will help her beat Barron, who is as well known in the district as baseball, hot dogs and apple pie.
Lucas will push to have Linden Boulevard redesigned with protected bike lanes and better pedestrian infrastructure, something Barron didn't see as a priority in a Streetsblog interview. Florentino, the transportation committee chairman of Community Board 5, is a strong number two, the group said.
Anthony Beckford (District 45, East Flatbush): Beckford is challenging incumbent Council Member Farah Louis, who has not made street safety a priority. Beckford knows the challenges of surviving in East Flatbush — he's been hit by drivers three times in the district. He said he would advocate for better bike infrastructure, especially along Coney Island Avenue. Louis got the group's second-place nod, which is incredible, given that she voted against the Councils Streets Master Plan bill in 2019. The group said she's "evolving" on street safety issues.
Amoy Barnes (District 49, North Shore): Barnes, who hopes to succeed term-limited Debbie Rose, said she would focus on transit with real bus rapid transit, more transit-signal priority, and expanded ferry service. She also impressed StreetsPAC by saying her 15-minute bike ride to the Staten Island Ferry terminal feels so unsafe that it's a "disgrace." Ranti Ogunleye got the second-place vote.
The election is on June 22. Early voting begins on June 12. Click here for more information.
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