Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
City Council

Pro-Safety Council Member Lincoln Restler Booted from Transportation Committee

Council leadership removed one of the most prominent safe street politicians from its powerful Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. 

Photo: NYC Council|

Brooklyn Councilman Lincoln Restler will no longer be on the Council’s Transportation Committee.

City Council leadership removed one of the most prominent safe street politicians from its powerful Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. 

Council Member Lincoln Restler, who represents a walking- and biking-friendly district in Brooklyn, will no longer serve on the committee, according to the city lawmaking body’s list of assignments released Thursday. 

Council Speaker Adrienne Adams removed three other progressive lawmakers from their committee chair positions as part of the lawmaking body’s reshuffling, which some saw as retaliation targeting pols, like Restler, who voted against the last city budget in June. The retaliation theory was buffeted, however, by one fact: as he was booted from his Transportation Committee slot, Restler was also given his first chairmanship, that of the committee on Governmental Operations, State and Federal Legislation.

Restler said his reassignment was not retribution, adding that he was glad with the new chairmanship.  

“I loved serving on the Transportation Committee, I would have loved to continue to serve on it, but I’m confident that I'll be able to be actively involved on these issues,” Restler told Streetsblog. “The great thing about the City Council is I’m allowed to continue to come to Transportation Committee hearings and ask questions, and I absolutely plan to do so.”

Restler introduced several promising livable streets bills since he entered office in 2022, but Transportation Chair Selvena Brooks-Powers (D–Queens) — a close ally of Speaker Adams — declined to advance his proposals, despite strong support from fellow Council members.

Lincoln Restler in happier times.Photo: NYC Council

Restler said he will be able to advocate for laws at higher levels of government in his new role, such as the upcoming push in Albany to allow the city to lower its speed limit.

“The [Operations] committee will oversee home rule messages and that’s a great opportunity to push on Sammy’s Law and other transportation safety priorities that require Albany approval,” he said. 

Restler last year tried to pass a bill creating a program that would have allowed people to report drivers blocking bike and bus lanes. But the bill, Intro 501, never came up for a vote, despite majority support and after lawmakers watered it down by removing a bounty for people reporting the illegal parking. Brooks-Powers notably did not sign on, citing “serious concerns” about the proposed law resulting in “conflict in public spaces between New Yorkers.”

Restler plans to give citizen enforcement another go this year.

“I am reintroducing 501, the citizen reporting bill, and will push as hard as I can to get it over the finish line,” he said.

Successful legislation proposed by Restler included a bill repealing a decade-old law that artificially delayed bike lane installations by requiring 90-day notices to community boards. 

The lawmaker also introduced some bills to tighten regulations around government parking placard abuse, ban non-essential helicopter flights from city heliports, and phase out the use of gas-powered generators in ice cream trucks.

The Transportation Committee also lost conservative lawmakers Kalman Yeger, David Carr, and Ari Kagan (who was not re-elected), along with Queens pols Linda Lee and Nantasha Williams.

Vocal safe street supporters like Carlina Rivera and Julie Won stayed on, while uptown Council Member Carmen De La Rosa and freshman lawmaker Chris Banks, who represents East New York and Brownsville, newly joined the committee. Banks replaced anti-safety Council Member Charles Barron in the legislature.

Street safety advocates were optimistic that Restler would still be a booster for transportation issues, along with old and new members of the Transportation Committee.  

“I guess some changes to the committee makeup were inevitable,” said StreetsPAC's Executive Director Eric McClure. "It’s disappointing that Council Member Restler isn’t on the roster, as he’s been a terrific ally, but we’re glad to see that Carlina Rivera, Julie Won, and Amanda Farías will remain on the committee, and that CM Restler will get a chairmanship of his own."

De La Rosa was the chief of staff for Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez when he was in the Council and chaired the Transportation Committee; Banks got StreetsPAC's endorsement during a 2013 run for expressing "progressive views on transportation policy," McClure added.

“We’ll definitely miss Council Member Restler on the transportation committee,” said Jon Orcutt, Director of Advocacy at Bike New York. “But given his very strong record, anticipate that he’ll be as vociferous as ever on behalf of safe streets and a bike and pedestrian friendly city.”

Adams and Brooks-Powers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Thursday’s Headlines: Paris is a Lot Cooler than NYC Edition

The City of Light has figured out how to reduce the heat island effect. Plus other news in today's daily digest.

July 18, 2024

Exclusive: Legal Team Announced for Suit Against Hochul’s Congestion Pricing ‘Pause’

Attorneys from three firms have inked a joint defense agreement to fight "the governor’s illegal decision to cancel congestion pricing," Comptroller Brad Lander said.

July 17, 2024

Brooklyn BP Wants Mayor Adams To Do More To Reduce Parking

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso's recommendation on City of Yes: Eliminating parking mandates is not enough!

July 17, 2024

Wednesday’s Headlines: Citi Bike By the Numbers Edition

Haters of Citi Bike are really going to detest the new website. Plus other news.

July 17, 2024

Once Again, There is More Evidence that Safer Streets Help Local Business

...and there's more insight into why people simply don't believe it.

July 17, 2024
See all posts