Gotham Gazette Gotham Gazette is an online publication covering New York policy and politics as well as news on public safety, transportation, education, finance and more. http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/dot 2017-12-14T04:17:15+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com Little Progress on Utica Avenue Subway Expansion 2017-02-21T01:56:54+00:00 2017-02-21T01:56:54+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6767:little-progress-made-on-utica-avenue-subway-expansion-study Samar Khurshid <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/metropolitan_transportation_authority__patrick_cashin.jpg" alt="Subway stop" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>The new Second Avenue Subway (photo: Patrick Cashin/MTA)</p> <hr /> <p>Two years ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio released a comprehensive plan for the city that included funding to study the expansion of a subway line on Utica Avenue, Brooklyn, one of the most crowded transit corridors in the city. The plan roused speculation among transit advocates and elected officials that funding for the much-needed subway line might eventually be in the pipeline, but with little movement on the study, some are beginning to doubt whether officials are truly committed to the project.</p> <p>The Utica Avenue subway line would extend the 3 and 4 train from Eastern Parkway southward down Utica Avenue, a stretch of Brooklyn that includes East Flatbush, Flatlands, and Marine Park, and is home to about 168,000 residents. The extension has been a topic of discussion for more than a century, first proposed in <a href="https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1910/03/06/104923784.html?pageNumber=55" target="_blank">1910</a> when residents of Brooklyn cited “business and residential needs” as a key factor motivating their desire for a dedicated subway line. In 2015, Mayor de Blasio’s <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/html/onenyc/downloads/pdf/publications/OneNYC-2016-Progress-Report.pdf" target="_blank">One NYC plan</a> designated $5 million towards studying the feasibility of the subway line, a result of the capital funding agreement between the city and state.</p> <p>But elected officials and residents have heard little about the planned study -- which was <a href="http://web.mta.info/capital/pdf/MTA_15-19_Capital_Plan_Board_WEB_Approved_v2.pdf" target="_blank">scheduled</a> to be conducted in the current fiscal year ending June 30 -- and are beginning to voice their complaints about a lack of communication from the state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the New York City Department of Transportation.</p> <p>“I definitely wasn't consulted, I do know about the study, but I wasn't told about it.” said Council Member Jumaane Williams, who represents the East Flatbush district where the line would be built. Williams said he had to contact the DOT directly after he learned about the study in 2015, and ask for an update himself. “My hope is that maybe with this new study, they're trying to get us more involved...but the reality is I don't think many of us are aware,” he said.</p> <p>A spokesperson for the DOT said in an email, “The DOT and MTA launched the study process last year.” The spokesperson did not respond to multiple emails requesting details on the timeline, but stressed, “An extension along Utica would bring great opportunities to more communities and was a priority of the City during MTA capital plan negotiations.”</p> <p>MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz said that the agency was coordinating with the DOT, but that much of the onus fell on the city. As Ortiz explained it, the study had yet to begin. In an email, he said, “This is a city allocated project, so we need a better idea of what the city wants out of the study. So we are working with them to refine the scope to meet their needs and envision hiring a consultant to conduct the study later this year.” In a followup email, he referred questions to the DOT.</p> <p>State Assemblymember N. Nick Perry, whose district includes Williams’ constituency, said he has been given scant information on the proposed study. “I know there’s been a little noise about this, but I haven't heard anything more,” Perry said. “So far it's still something in the pipeline and it may be quite a long pipeline.”</p> <p>The Crown Heights-Utica Avenue subway station, from which the potential Utica line would extend, has almost 9 million riders a year, making it the 37th most popular station out of 472. The extension would run down Utica Avenue to Kings Plaza, cutting across a district that has few trains in the area. “People complained about having to walk a couple of blocks on Second Avenue,” Council Member Williams said. “There are no trains in many parts of my district within many blocks.”</p> <p>Recognizing the dire transit needs on Utica Avenue, the DOT last year launched the B46 Select Bus Service, which runs along the Utica corridor and carries <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/594-16/onenyc-mayor-de-blasio-start-select-bus-service-utica-avenue-major-upgrades-for" target="_blank">44,000</a> people every day. The route was identified as a priority <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/brt/html/routes/brt_phase2.shtml" target="_blank">in 2009</a>, and <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/594-16/onenyc-mayor-de-blasio-start-select-bus-service-utica-avenue-major-upgrades-for" target="_blank">realized in 2016</a> after several meetings with Brooklyn community boards. The route extends six miles from DeKalb Avenue to Kings Plaza, covering a similar region to the prospective Utica Avenue subway.</p> <p>But the buses, according to Council Member Williams and Assemblymember Perry, present their own problems. People in vehicles get penalized for violating the restricted bus lanes, which are closed to cars and trucks from 7am to 4pm. “It's obviously not good for working people's pockets to get $115 tickets, so I'm trying to figure out how they're measuring the success of the bus lanes,” Williams said.</p> <p>Perry believes the ticketing may be taking a toll on commerce in the district as well; truck drivers attempting to make deliveries along the street get fined too. “Right now they get tickets...and some of them can't afford the cost of doing business,” Perry said. “Folks are looking to move off Utica Avenue, and that's an economic hub of this community.”</p> <p>Even with the implementation of the B46, Perry pointed out a similar issue with the DOT, a lack of communication with the affected commuters and residents. “It seems to me that they snuck it through really, because they spoke to a select group of people and by the time the information got down to the folks who were really going to be impacted they were already in their implementation mode,” Perry said.</p> <p>De Blasio’s decision to devote $5 million to the plan in 2015 may have mollified politicians and residents at the time, but some transportation insiders have a different take on the matter. Jon Orcutt, the director of communications and advocacy at TransitCenter, and the director of policy for the DOT from 2007 to 2014, said that the Utica Extension study was one of a number of studies that get funding, but rarely make it beyond the desk of the MTA.</p> <p>“If you go back through MTA capital programs, there are lots and lots of studies like this...in some ways the MTA sort of buys peace with elected officials by studying things that they say they want to look at,” Orcutt said. “They may be studying them for even longer than they need to be studied.”</p> <p>To go from talk to action, said Mitchell Moss, director of the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management, there needs to be a concerted effort by the community, the city and the state. “The important thing is to have advocacy from all levels,” he said.</p> <p>Moss pointed out that the state’s priorities have been elsewhere on larger projects. For the last few years, the MTA had been scrambling to complete construction on the Second Avenue subway line, which was a priority for Governor Andrew Cuomo. After perennial delays, which drew constant complaints from residents of the East Side who bemoaned the lack of mass transit facilities, the line finally opened on deadline to the public on January 1.</p> <p>Political will for the Utica line, in comparison, has been relatively muted. Council Member Williams said he was “not sure why this has stalled.” He continued, “I think many times there are parts of this city that are not paid attention to as much as others, and I think we've fallen into that bucket for quite some time. Obviously it's time to change that.”</p> <p>TransitCenter’s Orcutt thinks the mayor hasn’t prioritized or advocated for the Utica Extension, which he believes is necessary to push it forward. “Bloomberg got the 7 Extension... but they went and made a case with the Governor and went all in for it and it happened,” he said. “I don't think there's anywhere near that kind of push or pressure to get the Utica project going.”</p> <p>

***
by Elena Burger, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/metropolitan_transportation_authority__patrick_cashin.jpg" alt="Subway stop" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>The new Second Avenue Subway (photo: Patrick Cashin/MTA)</p> <hr /> <p>Two years ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio released a comprehensive plan for the city that included funding to study the expansion of a subway line on Utica Avenue, Brooklyn, one of the most crowded transit corridors in the city. The plan roused speculation among transit advocates and elected officials that funding for the much-needed subway line might eventually be in the pipeline, but with little movement on the study, some are beginning to doubt whether officials are truly committed to the project.</p> <p>The Utica Avenue subway line would extend the 3 and 4 train from Eastern Parkway southward down Utica Avenue, a stretch of Brooklyn that includes East Flatbush, Flatlands, and Marine Park, and is home to about 168,000 residents. The extension has been a topic of discussion for more than a century, first proposed in <a href="https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1910/03/06/104923784.html?pageNumber=55" target="_blank">1910</a> when residents of Brooklyn cited “business and residential needs” as a key factor motivating their desire for a dedicated subway line. In 2015, Mayor de Blasio’s <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/html/onenyc/downloads/pdf/publications/OneNYC-2016-Progress-Report.pdf" target="_blank">One NYC plan</a> designated $5 million towards studying the feasibility of the subway line, a result of the capital funding agreement between the city and state.</p> <p>But elected officials and residents have heard little about the planned study -- which was <a href="http://web.mta.info/capital/pdf/MTA_15-19_Capital_Plan_Board_WEB_Approved_v2.pdf" target="_blank">scheduled</a> to be conducted in the current fiscal year ending June 30 -- and are beginning to voice their complaints about a lack of communication from the state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the New York City Department of Transportation.</p> <p>“I definitely wasn't consulted, I do know about the study, but I wasn't told about it.” said Council Member Jumaane Williams, who represents the East Flatbush district where the line would be built. Williams said he had to contact the DOT directly after he learned about the study in 2015, and ask for an update himself. “My hope is that maybe with this new study, they're trying to get us more involved...but the reality is I don't think many of us are aware,” he said.</p> <p>A spokesperson for the DOT said in an email, “The DOT and MTA launched the study process last year.” The spokesperson did not respond to multiple emails requesting details on the timeline, but stressed, “An extension along Utica would bring great opportunities to more communities and was a priority of the City during MTA capital plan negotiations.”</p> <p>MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz said that the agency was coordinating with the DOT, but that much of the onus fell on the city. As Ortiz explained it, the study had yet to begin. In an email, he said, “This is a city allocated project, so we need a better idea of what the city wants out of the study. So we are working with them to refine the scope to meet their needs and envision hiring a consultant to conduct the study later this year.” In a followup email, he referred questions to the DOT.</p> <p>State Assemblymember N. Nick Perry, whose district includes Williams’ constituency, said he has been given scant information on the proposed study. “I know there’s been a little noise about this, but I haven't heard anything more,” Perry said. “So far it's still something in the pipeline and it may be quite a long pipeline.”</p> <p>The Crown Heights-Utica Avenue subway station, from which the potential Utica line would extend, has almost 9 million riders a year, making it the 37th most popular station out of 472. The extension would run down Utica Avenue to Kings Plaza, cutting across a district that has few trains in the area. “People complained about having to walk a couple of blocks on Second Avenue,” Council Member Williams said. “There are no trains in many parts of my district within many blocks.”</p> <p>Recognizing the dire transit needs on Utica Avenue, the DOT last year launched the B46 Select Bus Service, which runs along the Utica corridor and carries <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/594-16/onenyc-mayor-de-blasio-start-select-bus-service-utica-avenue-major-upgrades-for" target="_blank">44,000</a> people every day. The route was identified as a priority <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/brt/html/routes/brt_phase2.shtml" target="_blank">in 2009</a>, and <a href="http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/594-16/onenyc-mayor-de-blasio-start-select-bus-service-utica-avenue-major-upgrades-for" target="_blank">realized in 2016</a> after several meetings with Brooklyn community boards. The route extends six miles from DeKalb Avenue to Kings Plaza, covering a similar region to the prospective Utica Avenue subway.</p> <p>But the buses, according to Council Member Williams and Assemblymember Perry, present their own problems. People in vehicles get penalized for violating the restricted bus lanes, which are closed to cars and trucks from 7am to 4pm. “It's obviously not good for working people's pockets to get $115 tickets, so I'm trying to figure out how they're measuring the success of the bus lanes,” Williams said.</p> <p>Perry believes the ticketing may be taking a toll on commerce in the district as well; truck drivers attempting to make deliveries along the street get fined too. “Right now they get tickets...and some of them can't afford the cost of doing business,” Perry said. “Folks are looking to move off Utica Avenue, and that's an economic hub of this community.”</p> <p>Even with the implementation of the B46, Perry pointed out a similar issue with the DOT, a lack of communication with the affected commuters and residents. “It seems to me that they snuck it through really, because they spoke to a select group of people and by the time the information got down to the folks who were really going to be impacted they were already in their implementation mode,” Perry said.</p> <p>De Blasio’s decision to devote $5 million to the plan in 2015 may have mollified politicians and residents at the time, but some transportation insiders have a different take on the matter. Jon Orcutt, the director of communications and advocacy at TransitCenter, and the director of policy for the DOT from 2007 to 2014, said that the Utica Extension study was one of a number of studies that get funding, but rarely make it beyond the desk of the MTA.</p> <p>“If you go back through MTA capital programs, there are lots and lots of studies like this...in some ways the MTA sort of buys peace with elected officials by studying things that they say they want to look at,” Orcutt said. “They may be studying them for even longer than they need to be studied.”</p> <p>To go from talk to action, said Mitchell Moss, director of the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management, there needs to be a concerted effort by the community, the city and the state. “The important thing is to have advocacy from all levels,” he said.</p> <p>Moss pointed out that the state’s priorities have been elsewhere on larger projects. For the last few years, the MTA had been scrambling to complete construction on the Second Avenue subway line, which was a priority for Governor Andrew Cuomo. After perennial delays, which drew constant complaints from residents of the East Side who bemoaned the lack of mass transit facilities, the line finally opened on deadline to the public on January 1.</p> <p>Political will for the Utica line, in comparison, has been relatively muted. Council Member Williams said he was “not sure why this has stalled.” He continued, “I think many times there are parts of this city that are not paid attention to as much as others, and I think we've fallen into that bucket for quite some time. Obviously it's time to change that.”</p> <p>TransitCenter’s Orcutt thinks the mayor hasn’t prioritized or advocated for the Utica Extension, which he believes is necessary to push it forward. “Bloomberg got the 7 Extension... but they went and made a case with the Governor and went all in for it and it happened,” he said. “I don't think there's anywhere near that kind of push or pressure to get the Utica project going.”</p> <p>

***
by Elena Burger, Gotham Gazette

Read more by this writer.

</p>
All Aboard the BRT Express? 2015-11-16T19:06:12+00:00 2015-11-16T19:06:12+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5991:all-aboard-the-brt-express Super User <p><img alt="bus mta photo m86" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/19667315725_424a50b309_z.jpg" width="600" height="421" /></p> <p>(photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit)</p> <hr /> <p>Google Maps estimated an hour-and-a-half for a trip from near City Hall to a location in Southeast Queens, leaving at 5:30 p.m. on a recent Tuesday. On the E train to its final stop and a bus crawling along jam-packed Merrick Boulevard, the trip took about an hour longer, two-and-a-half hours from door to door.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Now you know what we go through every day,“ City Council Member I. Daneek Miller told Gotham Gazette following that night’s event, which he co-hosted with Council Member Donovan Richards and focused on, what else, transportation.</p> <p dir="ltr">The commute to and from downtown Manhattan that the Council members and some of their constituents face was part of the motivation behind the town hall, set in the outer reaches of the city and called to examine the challenging state of public transit in St. Albans, Laurelton, and surrounding neighborhoods - often referred to as a “transportation desert.”</p> <p dir="ltr">In a recent <a href="http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20151104/OPINION/151029806/how-to-end-those-endless-commutes" target="_blank">op-ed</a> for Crain’s New York Business, Miller laid out the extent of the problem: people from Southeast Queens spend roughly 15 hours a week commuting, 238 percent more time than the average New Yorker.</p> <p dir="ltr">The residents of the area share this plight with several other neighborhoods considered transportation deserts because of their lack of public transit options - places including the Rockaways, the North Bronx, and the South Shore of Staten Island.</p> <p dir="ltr">With the subway map sure to stay mostly as it is, communities in greatest need of good transportation options that can get residents to the city’s main jobs centers are reliant on a bus system lacking in capacity and dependability. Even though 97 percent of the city‘s population lives within a quarter mile of a bus stop, the collective problems with the service--it is one of the slowest systems in the nation and the slowest among big <a href="http://www.straphangers.org/buscams/" target="_blank">cities</a>--render residents far removed from subway lines and feeling helpless.</p> <p dir="ltr">With increased scrutiny of transportation deserts and lengthy New York City commutes come increasing calls for creative bus solutions: with more selective bus service (SBS) and bus rapid transit (BRT) at the forefront.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" alt="transpo deserts" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/Screen_Shot_2015-11-04_at_21.04.49.jpg" width="400" height="307" />[NYC "subway deserts" - <a href="https://team.cartodb.com/u/chriswhong/viz/e60e7660-3982-11e5-9997-0e853d047bba/public_map" target="_blank">map by Chris Whong</a>)</p> <p dir="ltr">According to an <a href="http://comptroller.nyc.gov/newsroom/comptroller-stringer-audit-reveals-nearly-one-third-of-mta-express-buses-not-on-time/" target="_blank">audit</a> released by Comptroller Scott Stringer in April, buses are not just slow, they are also often late: Stringer‘s study revealed that more than 30 percent of the city’s express buses do not run on schedule. Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island are hit the hardest, the comptroller said. The report also found that the MTA had inconsistent inspection standards for wheelchair lifts across their bus fleet, which, in addition to failing disabled riders, also slows bus time.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is more than just a statistic,“ Stringer <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOTCewSGawk" target="_blank">said</a> at the press conference unveiling his audit, “a late bus could mean a missed job opportunity, missed wages, or missed time with children.“</p> <p dir="ltr">One possible antidote for lagging buses and transit hungry commuters is Bus Rapid Transit, and the idea is gaining momentum, as the Miller-Richards town hall showed. The questions ahead are about political will and community buy-in toward expanding BRT in New York City. BRT was a piece of a recent City Council hearing on transportation deserts, but the city’s Department of Transportation has already been made to study BRT through a law passed in the Council and signed by Mayor de Blasio that will lead to a report on areas where BRT should be implemented.</p> <p dir="ltr">Started in Curitiba, Brazil in 1974, BRT was originally formulated as a cheaper alternative for a city that didn‘t have the money to build a subway. In its fullest form BRT combines a variety of features to make it operate at a speed comparable to light rail (an option also talked about for Queens and Staten Island). Long accordion style buses--in Curitiba they hold up to 250 people--shoot up and down bus-only lanes of large streets, stopping at intervals akin to a subway line (rather than the shorter ones of typical bus service).</p> <p dir="ltr">Traffic signals have sensors in order to hold green lights for buses approaching intersections. People pay their fare before they board the bus and stations often feature elevated platforms or curbsides that coincide with the floor of the bus, making it quick and easy for elderly or disabled people to board. All this amounts to more on time, reliable, and efficient bus service.</p> <p dir="ltr">Since the turn of the century cities across the globe including Paris, Istanbul, Bogata, and Los Angeles have all adopted BRT to curb car use and improve public transit overall.</p> <p dir="ltr">Now, Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to bring BRT to New York as part of his efforts to help the city’s lower and middle classes. The argument also goes, of course, that if workers have shorter and easier commutes they are more productive when they’re at work.</p> <p dir="ltr">”Bus riders are the most neglected part of our transportation system,” de Blasio’s <a href="http://b.3cdn.net/deblasio/d193f478cdba70ac0e_2jm6bkaxk.pdf" target="_blank">policy book</a> from his 2013 mayoral campaign reads. “Bus Rapid Transit has the potential to save outer-borough commuters hours off their commute times every week and stimulate economic activity in neighborhoods the subway system doesn’t reach.”</p> <p dir="ltr">While it’s been somewhat slow to materialize, de Blasio’s pledge to bring New York City a “world-class bus rapid transit system” has been gaining steam. When signing the BRT study bill in May, de Blasio <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ya8d5_TmViI" target="_blank">reminded</a> that, “We all know that mass transit is particularly critical for those New Yorkers for whom resources are very tight, whose incomes are very tight - mass transit is their lifeline. It connects them to jobs, schools, everything.”</p> <p dir="ltr">In March the state-run MTA and the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) announced the official plan for the city‘s first full-scale BRT route on Woodhaven Boulevard, in Queens. The project will stretch 14.4 miles, cost around $200 million, and be fully operational by 2017. (By contrast, the Second Avenue subway is supposed to cover 8.5 miles, cost upwards of $17 billion, and be done at a to-be-determined date.)</p> <p dir="ltr">Previously the two organizations’ efforts to speed up bus time came in the form of Select Bus Service, a paired down version of BRT that also utilizes off-board fare collection, along with traffic signal priority, semi-exclusive bus lanes, and longer distances between stations. The first SBS route was launched in 2008 on the Bx12 on Fordham Road in the Bronx, and has enjoyed relative success. According to statistics collected by the MTA one year after the launch, running times increased up to 19 percent, ridership by 8 percent.</p> <p dir="ltr">Over the past seven years the MTA and the DOT have added seven other SBS routes, including ones going up First Avenue and down Second Avenue in Manhattan. All routes have enjoyed faster service and a 2013 DOT <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/brt/downloads/pdf/brt-routes-fullreport.pdf" target="_blank">report</a> claimed that SBS had saved eight million hours of travel time.</p> <p dir="ltr">Still, SBS is not BRT. The former appears more suited for the busier sections for the city, the latter for moving people from the city’s outer reaches to its transit and business hubs.</p> <p dir="ltr">With the Woodhaven route, which will have exclusive lanes and robust, fully-outfitted stations with shelters, seats, and real-time information on bus arrivals (along with off-board fare collection and transit signal priority) the city is setting a new standard for its above-ground transportation. The fully exclusive bus lanes, which will also allow traffic signal priority to be more effective, are particularly exciting given that Kevin Ortiz, spokesperson for the MTA, told Gotham Gazette that traffic congestion and red lights are the top two causes for bus delays.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" alt="woodhaven2 int" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/woodhaven2_int.jpg" width="500" height="332" />[Woodhaven BRT rendering, via NYC DOT]</p> <p dir="ltr">The line, which will run north-south, perpendicular to the A, E, F, J, M, R, and 7 trains, is indicative of the type of improvements BRT could offer in the so-called “outer boroughs.” Joan Byron, Director of Policy at the Pratt Center for Community Development and a member of the advocacy group BRT for NYC, sees this improvement as imperative to the economic empowerment of New York’s outer-borough residents.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We have a problem right now of people not being able to get to their jobs and employers not being able to get to their workforce. Work locations are shifting. Job growth is much faster in the boroughs than it is in Manhattan…and the subway system isn‘t set up to serve them. You can do things with BRT that would take decades to do with rail,“ Byron told Gotham Gazette.</p> <p dir="ltr">As it stands, she explains, “if you live some place like Far Rockaway…the number of jobs that are within a reasonable commute range for you are much smaller than if you live someplace like Park Slope.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The Woodhaven line plans to change that for its service area. BRT lines along the North Shore of Staten Island (something City Council Member Debbie Rose <a href="https://www.facebook.com/CouncilwomanDebiRose/" target="_blank">called</a> “a necessity, not an amenity”) and Southern Brooklyn—two possible routes the MTA and DOT are investigating—would also serve similar purposes.</p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Donovan Richards, who represents part of the area the new BRT route will serve, sees this project as only the beginning. Ultimately, he wants a full-scale BRT network throughout the city, viewing the issue as one that is also key to environmental justice.</p> <p dir="ltr">“[BRT] needs to become as natural as breathing air,“ he said to Gotham Gazette after the town hall. “We have got to remember that if we don’t get cars off the road, climate change is going to wipe out communities in New York City. Overall the city needs to adopt it,” he said, referring to BRT.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" alt="Car Ownership blog" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/Car_Ownership_blog.jpg" width="450" height="450" />[Rates of car ownership, via NYC EDC]</p> <p dir="ltr">Richards, along with city DOT officials, recently had lunch with and gave a tour of the planned Woodhaven route to a federal transportation secretary. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has promised to push for federal funding.</p> <p dir="ltr">The excitement continued into May when the mayor signed into law the new BRT-related <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#/0" target="_blank">bill</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1687958&amp;GUID=C4CBC081-829F-4A83-9036-1F942F6A91EF&amp;Options=ID|Text|&amp;Search=211-A" target="_blank">According to</a> the City Council website, “Under the bill, DOT would work with the MTA and gather input with the public to develop a citywide BRT plan, due to the Council no later than September 1, 2017. The plan would consider areas of the City in need of additional rapid transit options, strategies for serving growing neighborhoods, potential intra-borough and inter-borough BRT corridors DOT plans to establish by 2027, strategies for integrating BRT with other transit routes, and the anticipated operating costs of additional BRT lines.”</p> <p dir="ltr">SBS may continue to expand, and many note that it is a version of BRT, but the extent to which a strong BRT system will be implemented is unclear. In several other cities where the system has achieved success, says Joan Byron of Pratt, the build of these cities naturally accommodated the necessary BRT infrastructure.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The places where that has been done, places like Bogota, Columbia, that model was implemented exactly in the parts of the city that have kind of a post-World War II physical fabric and development pattern. The street there for the main bus line, the Transmillenial, is twelve lanes wide. Pedestrians cross that street on over-passes. It wasn’t a big jump to put dedicated lanes in the center region and to have physical stations that are actually enclosed.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Woodhaven Boulevard, eight lanes wide and notoriously hazardous for pedestrians (the station islands to be installed in the middle of the avenue also act as a <a href="http://qns.com/story/2015/10/09/bus-rapid-transit-advocates-release-woodhaven-boulevard-crash-study-numbers/" target="_blank">safety measure</a>), is at least somewhat similar.</p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Brad Lander, the lead sponsor of the BRT bill, sees Manhattan’s First and Second Avenues as streets also appropriate for the full BRT service, especially given the MTA‘s <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/04/nyregion/mayor-de-blasiojoins-in-criticism-of-2nd-avenue-subway-cuts.html?_r=1" target="_blank">recent announcement</a> to forgo $1 billion in funding for the Second Avenue Subway project.</p> <p dir="ltr">Most buses, though, don‘t operate on streets the width of a small highway (even dedicating a full lane of First or Second Avenue could prove quite contentious). For these routes Lander and Byron see smaller BRT-like features being incorporated into bus operation citywide on a case-by-case basis.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The simple idea of off-board fare payment, that’s something we want to get to on every city bus,” Lander told Gotham Gazette. After that, he said, what is doable will depend on infrastructure features and funding.</p> <p dir="ltr">Lander cited the SBS M86 route, the MTA‘s latest SBS addition, as a prime example. Even though there is not enough room for a dedicated bus lane (the bus runs crosstown on 86th Street in Manhattan), the MTA has already installed off-board fare collection and plans to add bus bulbs - protruding, bulges of sidewalk in front of bus stops, constructed so that the bus doesn‘t have to pull over when it picks up passengers. Stations are also equipped with real-time bus arrival information. A similar approach could be effective on smaller streets in the outer boroughs as well.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" alt="imgres" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/imgres.jpg" width="328" height="153" />[A bus bulb, via Streetsblog.org]</p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Daneek Miller is impatient, saying that his transit-starved constituents can’t wait a decade for BRT lines.</p> <p dir="ltr">“There are 300,000 people in Southeast Queens who it’s talking an hour-and-a-half, an hour-and-forty-five minutes to get to their job in the city, who can’t wait 20 years for a change,” Miller said after his town hall.</p> <p dir="ltr">Miller, who ran a transportation workers union before joining the Council, takes a slightly more cynical view of SBS. He says the recent buzz around BRT has led the city to overlook basic adaptations that could yield considerable results, like those he outlined in his op-ed, such as <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2271101&amp;GUID=C0E2BACA-89E7-47EE-8684-8DD0495D4E1A&amp;Options=Advanced&amp;Search=" target="_blank">fare reform</a> on the LIRR. For his constituents, Miller said, “BRT might be the second best answer. I can get to City Hall in 50 [minutes] on the LIRR; it takes me an hour-and-40-minutes using public transportation.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Still, Miller certainly wants to see extended express bus service to Downtown Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn. He acknowledges infrastructure challenges of implementing BRT in some places, saying “We don‘t want to put square pegs in a round hole,” and that it is essential to have all the components, otherwise it won’t be BRT, but a “glorified express bus service.”</p> <p dir="ltr">With an eye toward communities like those represented by his colleagues Miller and Richards, Lander points to the need for more options for commuters. Citing “low-income New Yorkers and communities of color” that “have disproportionately long commute times,” Lander said at the May bill-signing that “New Yorkers across the city – especially in transit-starved, outer-borough neighborhoods – need more mass-transit options. This law, and subsequent exploration of a Bus Rapid Transit network, will significantly improve public transportation access in the parts of NYC that need it most, at a cost we can afford, and help insure a more sustainable future.”</p> <p dir="ltr">BRT and SBS advocates, like Lander, stand confident that their plan will deliver, and sooner than projected.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I think it’s going to accelerate,“ said Byron. “For every elected official that will stand up and say ‘I want BRT in my district now,’ which all the Council members along the Q52, Q53 routes have said, you’ll get others that say, ‘Forget it, my constituents ride the bus,‘” Byron said, referring to hesitant Council members who she thinks will acquiesce.</p> <p dir="ltr">When asked about the twelve year timeline in his BRT bill, a charged Lander replied, “the city - the DOT with the MTA - is already rolling out BRT at a pretty rapid rate...we are not waiting.“</p> <p dir="ltr">****<br />by Colin O’Connor<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a><br /><a href="https://twitter.com/colinqoconnor93" target="_blank">@colinqoconnor93</a></p> <p><img alt="bus mta photo m86" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/19667315725_424a50b309_z.jpg" width="600" height="421" /></p> <p>(photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit)</p> <hr /> <p>Google Maps estimated an hour-and-a-half for a trip from near City Hall to a location in Southeast Queens, leaving at 5:30 p.m. on a recent Tuesday. On the E train to its final stop and a bus crawling along jam-packed Merrick Boulevard, the trip took about an hour longer, two-and-a-half hours from door to door.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Now you know what we go through every day,“ City Council Member I. Daneek Miller told Gotham Gazette following that night’s event, which he co-hosted with Council Member Donovan Richards and focused on, what else, transportation.</p> <p dir="ltr">The commute to and from downtown Manhattan that the Council members and some of their constituents face was part of the motivation behind the town hall, set in the outer reaches of the city and called to examine the challenging state of public transit in St. Albans, Laurelton, and surrounding neighborhoods - often referred to as a “transportation desert.”</p> <p dir="ltr">In a recent <a href="http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20151104/OPINION/151029806/how-to-end-those-endless-commutes" target="_blank">op-ed</a> for Crain’s New York Business, Miller laid out the extent of the problem: people from Southeast Queens spend roughly 15 hours a week commuting, 238 percent more time than the average New Yorker.</p> <p dir="ltr">The residents of the area share this plight with several other neighborhoods considered transportation deserts because of their lack of public transit options - places including the Rockaways, the North Bronx, and the South Shore of Staten Island.</p> <p dir="ltr">With the subway map sure to stay mostly as it is, communities in greatest need of good transportation options that can get residents to the city’s main jobs centers are reliant on a bus system lacking in capacity and dependability. Even though 97 percent of the city‘s population lives within a quarter mile of a bus stop, the collective problems with the service--it is one of the slowest systems in the nation and the slowest among big <a href="http://www.straphangers.org/buscams/" target="_blank">cities</a>--render residents far removed from subway lines and feeling helpless.</p> <p dir="ltr">With increased scrutiny of transportation deserts and lengthy New York City commutes come increasing calls for creative bus solutions: with more selective bus service (SBS) and bus rapid transit (BRT) at the forefront.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" alt="transpo deserts" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/Screen_Shot_2015-11-04_at_21.04.49.jpg" width="400" height="307" />[NYC "subway deserts" - <a href="https://team.cartodb.com/u/chriswhong/viz/e60e7660-3982-11e5-9997-0e853d047bba/public_map" target="_blank">map by Chris Whong</a>)</p> <p dir="ltr">According to an <a href="http://comptroller.nyc.gov/newsroom/comptroller-stringer-audit-reveals-nearly-one-third-of-mta-express-buses-not-on-time/" target="_blank">audit</a> released by Comptroller Scott Stringer in April, buses are not just slow, they are also often late: Stringer‘s study revealed that more than 30 percent of the city’s express buses do not run on schedule. Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island are hit the hardest, the comptroller said. The report also found that the MTA had inconsistent inspection standards for wheelchair lifts across their bus fleet, which, in addition to failing disabled riders, also slows bus time.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is more than just a statistic,“ Stringer <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOTCewSGawk" target="_blank">said</a> at the press conference unveiling his audit, “a late bus could mean a missed job opportunity, missed wages, or missed time with children.“</p> <p dir="ltr">One possible antidote for lagging buses and transit hungry commuters is Bus Rapid Transit, and the idea is gaining momentum, as the Miller-Richards town hall showed. The questions ahead are about political will and community buy-in toward expanding BRT in New York City. BRT was a piece of a recent City Council hearing on transportation deserts, but the city’s Department of Transportation has already been made to study BRT through a law passed in the Council and signed by Mayor de Blasio that will lead to a report on areas where BRT should be implemented.</p> <p dir="ltr">Started in Curitiba, Brazil in 1974, BRT was originally formulated as a cheaper alternative for a city that didn‘t have the money to build a subway. In its fullest form BRT combines a variety of features to make it operate at a speed comparable to light rail (an option also talked about for Queens and Staten Island). Long accordion style buses--in Curitiba they hold up to 250 people--shoot up and down bus-only lanes of large streets, stopping at intervals akin to a subway line (rather than the shorter ones of typical bus service).</p> <p dir="ltr">Traffic signals have sensors in order to hold green lights for buses approaching intersections. People pay their fare before they board the bus and stations often feature elevated platforms or curbsides that coincide with the floor of the bus, making it quick and easy for elderly or disabled people to board. All this amounts to more on time, reliable, and efficient bus service.</p> <p dir="ltr">Since the turn of the century cities across the globe including Paris, Istanbul, Bogata, and Los Angeles have all adopted BRT to curb car use and improve public transit overall.</p> <p dir="ltr">Now, Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to bring BRT to New York as part of his efforts to help the city’s lower and middle classes. The argument also goes, of course, that if workers have shorter and easier commutes they are more productive when they’re at work.</p> <p dir="ltr">”Bus riders are the most neglected part of our transportation system,” de Blasio’s <a href="http://b.3cdn.net/deblasio/d193f478cdba70ac0e_2jm6bkaxk.pdf" target="_blank">policy book</a> from his 2013 mayoral campaign reads. “Bus Rapid Transit has the potential to save outer-borough commuters hours off their commute times every week and stimulate economic activity in neighborhoods the subway system doesn’t reach.”</p> <p dir="ltr">While it’s been somewhat slow to materialize, de Blasio’s pledge to bring New York City a “world-class bus rapid transit system” has been gaining steam. When signing the BRT study bill in May, de Blasio <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ya8d5_TmViI" target="_blank">reminded</a> that, “We all know that mass transit is particularly critical for those New Yorkers for whom resources are very tight, whose incomes are very tight - mass transit is their lifeline. It connects them to jobs, schools, everything.”</p> <p dir="ltr">In March the state-run MTA and the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) announced the official plan for the city‘s first full-scale BRT route on Woodhaven Boulevard, in Queens. The project will stretch 14.4 miles, cost around $200 million, and be fully operational by 2017. (By contrast, the Second Avenue subway is supposed to cover 8.5 miles, cost upwards of $17 billion, and be done at a to-be-determined date.)</p> <p dir="ltr">Previously the two organizations’ efforts to speed up bus time came in the form of Select Bus Service, a paired down version of BRT that also utilizes off-board fare collection, along with traffic signal priority, semi-exclusive bus lanes, and longer distances between stations. The first SBS route was launched in 2008 on the Bx12 on Fordham Road in the Bronx, and has enjoyed relative success. According to statistics collected by the MTA one year after the launch, running times increased up to 19 percent, ridership by 8 percent.</p> <p dir="ltr">Over the past seven years the MTA and the DOT have added seven other SBS routes, including ones going up First Avenue and down Second Avenue in Manhattan. All routes have enjoyed faster service and a 2013 DOT <a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/brt/downloads/pdf/brt-routes-fullreport.pdf" target="_blank">report</a> claimed that SBS had saved eight million hours of travel time.</p> <p dir="ltr">Still, SBS is not BRT. The former appears more suited for the busier sections for the city, the latter for moving people from the city’s outer reaches to its transit and business hubs.</p> <p dir="ltr">With the Woodhaven route, which will have exclusive lanes and robust, fully-outfitted stations with shelters, seats, and real-time information on bus arrivals (along with off-board fare collection and transit signal priority) the city is setting a new standard for its above-ground transportation. The fully exclusive bus lanes, which will also allow traffic signal priority to be more effective, are particularly exciting given that Kevin Ortiz, spokesperson for the MTA, told Gotham Gazette that traffic congestion and red lights are the top two causes for bus delays.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" alt="woodhaven2 int" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/woodhaven2_int.jpg" width="500" height="332" />[Woodhaven BRT rendering, via NYC DOT]</p> <p dir="ltr">The line, which will run north-south, perpendicular to the A, E, F, J, M, R, and 7 trains, is indicative of the type of improvements BRT could offer in the so-called “outer boroughs.” Joan Byron, Director of Policy at the Pratt Center for Community Development and a member of the advocacy group BRT for NYC, sees this improvement as imperative to the economic empowerment of New York’s outer-borough residents.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We have a problem right now of people not being able to get to their jobs and employers not being able to get to their workforce. Work locations are shifting. Job growth is much faster in the boroughs than it is in Manhattan…and the subway system isn‘t set up to serve them. You can do things with BRT that would take decades to do with rail,“ Byron told Gotham Gazette.</p> <p dir="ltr">As it stands, she explains, “if you live some place like Far Rockaway…the number of jobs that are within a reasonable commute range for you are much smaller than if you live someplace like Park Slope.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The Woodhaven line plans to change that for its service area. BRT lines along the North Shore of Staten Island (something City Council Member Debbie Rose <a href="https://www.facebook.com/CouncilwomanDebiRose/" target="_blank">called</a> “a necessity, not an amenity”) and Southern Brooklyn—two possible routes the MTA and DOT are investigating—would also serve similar purposes.</p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Donovan Richards, who represents part of the area the new BRT route will serve, sees this project as only the beginning. Ultimately, he wants a full-scale BRT network throughout the city, viewing the issue as one that is also key to environmental justice.</p> <p dir="ltr">“[BRT] needs to become as natural as breathing air,“ he said to Gotham Gazette after the town hall. “We have got to remember that if we don’t get cars off the road, climate change is going to wipe out communities in New York City. Overall the city needs to adopt it,” he said, referring to BRT.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" alt="Car Ownership blog" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/Car_Ownership_blog.jpg" width="450" height="450" />[Rates of car ownership, via NYC EDC]</p> <p dir="ltr">Richards, along with city DOT officials, recently had lunch with and gave a tour of the planned Woodhaven route to a federal transportation secretary. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has promised to push for federal funding.</p> <p dir="ltr">The excitement continued into May when the mayor signed into law the new BRT-related <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#/0" target="_blank">bill</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1687958&amp;GUID=C4CBC081-829F-4A83-9036-1F942F6A91EF&amp;Options=ID|Text|&amp;Search=211-A" target="_blank">According to</a> the City Council website, “Under the bill, DOT would work with the MTA and gather input with the public to develop a citywide BRT plan, due to the Council no later than September 1, 2017. The plan would consider areas of the City in need of additional rapid transit options, strategies for serving growing neighborhoods, potential intra-borough and inter-borough BRT corridors DOT plans to establish by 2027, strategies for integrating BRT with other transit routes, and the anticipated operating costs of additional BRT lines.”</p> <p dir="ltr">SBS may continue to expand, and many note that it is a version of BRT, but the extent to which a strong BRT system will be implemented is unclear. In several other cities where the system has achieved success, says Joan Byron of Pratt, the build of these cities naturally accommodated the necessary BRT infrastructure.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The places where that has been done, places like Bogota, Columbia, that model was implemented exactly in the parts of the city that have kind of a post-World War II physical fabric and development pattern. The street there for the main bus line, the Transmillenial, is twelve lanes wide. Pedestrians cross that street on over-passes. It wasn’t a big jump to put dedicated lanes in the center region and to have physical stations that are actually enclosed.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Woodhaven Boulevard, eight lanes wide and notoriously hazardous for pedestrians (the station islands to be installed in the middle of the avenue also act as a <a href="http://qns.com/story/2015/10/09/bus-rapid-transit-advocates-release-woodhaven-boulevard-crash-study-numbers/" target="_blank">safety measure</a>), is at least somewhat similar.</p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Brad Lander, the lead sponsor of the BRT bill, sees Manhattan’s First and Second Avenues as streets also appropriate for the full BRT service, especially given the MTA‘s <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/04/nyregion/mayor-de-blasiojoins-in-criticism-of-2nd-avenue-subway-cuts.html?_r=1" target="_blank">recent announcement</a> to forgo $1 billion in funding for the Second Avenue Subway project.</p> <p dir="ltr">Most buses, though, don‘t operate on streets the width of a small highway (even dedicating a full lane of First or Second Avenue could prove quite contentious). For these routes Lander and Byron see smaller BRT-like features being incorporated into bus operation citywide on a case-by-case basis.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The simple idea of off-board fare payment, that’s something we want to get to on every city bus,” Lander told Gotham Gazette. After that, he said, what is doable will depend on infrastructure features and funding.</p> <p dir="ltr">Lander cited the SBS M86 route, the MTA‘s latest SBS addition, as a prime example. Even though there is not enough room for a dedicated bus lane (the bus runs crosstown on 86th Street in Manhattan), the MTA has already installed off-board fare collection and plans to add bus bulbs - protruding, bulges of sidewalk in front of bus stops, constructed so that the bus doesn‘t have to pull over when it picks up passengers. Stations are also equipped with real-time bus arrival information. A similar approach could be effective on smaller streets in the outer boroughs as well.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" alt="imgres" src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/imgres.jpg" width="328" height="153" />[A bus bulb, via Streetsblog.org]</p> <p dir="ltr">Council Member Daneek Miller is impatient, saying that his transit-starved constituents can’t wait a decade for BRT lines.</p> <p dir="ltr">“There are 300,000 people in Southeast Queens who it’s talking an hour-and-a-half, an hour-and-forty-five minutes to get to their job in the city, who can’t wait 20 years for a change,” Miller said after his town hall.</p> <p dir="ltr">Miller, who ran a transportation workers union before joining the Council, takes a slightly more cynical view of SBS. He says the recent buzz around BRT has led the city to overlook basic adaptations that could yield considerable results, like those he outlined in his op-ed, such as <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2271101&amp;GUID=C0E2BACA-89E7-47EE-8684-8DD0495D4E1A&amp;Options=Advanced&amp;Search=" target="_blank">fare reform</a> on the LIRR. For his constituents, Miller said, “BRT might be the second best answer. I can get to City Hall in 50 [minutes] on the LIRR; it takes me an hour-and-40-minutes using public transportation.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Still, Miller certainly wants to see extended express bus service to Downtown Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn. He acknowledges infrastructure challenges of implementing BRT in some places, saying “We don‘t want to put square pegs in a round hole,” and that it is essential to have all the components, otherwise it won’t be BRT, but a “glorified express bus service.”</p> <p dir="ltr">With an eye toward communities like those represented by his colleagues Miller and Richards, Lander points to the need for more options for commuters. Citing “low-income New Yorkers and communities of color” that “have disproportionately long commute times,” Lander said at the May bill-signing that “New Yorkers across the city – especially in transit-starved, outer-borough neighborhoods – need more mass-transit options. This law, and subsequent exploration of a Bus Rapid Transit network, will significantly improve public transportation access in the parts of NYC that need it most, at a cost we can afford, and help insure a more sustainable future.”</p> <p dir="ltr">BRT and SBS advocates, like Lander, stand confident that their plan will deliver, and sooner than projected.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I think it’s going to accelerate,“ said Byron. “For every elected official that will stand up and say ‘I want BRT in my district now,’ which all the Council members along the Q52, Q53 routes have said, you’ll get others that say, ‘Forget it, my constituents ride the bus,‘” Byron said, referring to hesitant Council members who she thinks will acquiesce.</p> <p dir="ltr">When asked about the twelve year timeline in his BRT bill, a charged Lander replied, “the city - the DOT with the MTA - is already rolling out BRT at a pretty rapid rate...we are not waiting.“</p> <p dir="ltr">****<br />by Colin O’Connor<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a><br /><a href="https://twitter.com/colinqoconnor93" target="_blank">@colinqoconnor93</a></p> With Risks, P3s and Design-Build Seen as Beneficial to Infrastructure Planning 2015-11-03T22:49:57+00:00 2015-11-03T22:49:57+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5967:with-risks-p3s-and-design-build-seen-as-beneficial-to-infrastructure-planning Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/22591061626_f2b6ab93a4_z.jpg" alt="MTA MetroNorth garage" height="399" width="600" /></p> <p>A new MTA MetroNorth facility (<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/mtaphotos/22591061626/in/dateposted/" target="_blank">photo</a>:&nbsp;MTA/Patrick Cashin)</p> <hr /> <p>At an Urban Land Institute conference last week, two panels of transportation experts – one from the public sector, the other from the private sector – discussed the issues plaguing tri-state transportation systems and the potential of public-private partnerships to address them.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Transportation agencies are great at delivering state-of-good-repair projects, delivering normal replacement projects,” former New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald said during the first panel. “I’m not so sure that transportation agencies are the entities best-suited to do some of these mega projects that are not just about transportation.”</p> <p dir="ltr">With transportation infrastructure, a public-private partnership, or P3 agreement, is used most often in a design-build contract - design-build is a method of project-delivery in which a private contractor wins a bid to design and construct a project. Ongoing regional public-private infrastructure projects include the construction of a new Port Authority Bus Terminal and an MTA project to build a Long Island Rail Road station beneath Grand Central Terminal (known as East Side Access).</p> <p dir="ltr">Organized by the Urban Land Institute’s New York, New Jersey and Westchester/Fairfield chapters, the forum was hosted at Shearman &amp; Sterling’s East Midtown headquarters, drawing a crowd of around one hundred.</p> <p dir="ltr">During the panel of current and former public officials, moderated by CityLab New York bureau chief Eric Jaffe, the speakers disagreed on the role of public-private partnerships in terms of their potential for improving transportation infrastructure.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The bigger you get, when you have many more stakeholders, many more local zoning laws, then it becomes more difficult,” Steve Santoro, New Jersey Transit's assistant executive director of capital planning, said of expansive P3 projects.</p> <p dir="ltr">All agreed, however, that area transportation infrastructure is in a state of crisis.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The term 'transportation Armageddon' has been used,” Jaffe said, referring to Senator Chuck Schumer's remarks about the potential results of the damaged Hudson River tunnels. If the existing New York-to-New Jersey tunnels close - a plausible scenario given their age, deterioration and the fact that they have reached current capacity - it would be disastrous for commuters and the regional economy.</p> <p dir="ltr">In remarks after the panel, Drew Galloway, Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor chief of planning and performance expressed openness to working with a private sector contractor on the Gateway Project, a proposed high-speed rail corridor planned to help solve a potential crisis with the tunnels, which are used by NJTransit and Amtrak and bring many commuters into New York City.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We absolutely intend to consider [public-private partnerships] and will welcome the proposals as it goes forward,” Galloway told <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/10/8581252/unfunded-mega-projects-experts-suggest-turning-private-sector" target="_blank">Politico New York</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">After the conference’s 15-minute networking break, the private sector panel convened to discuss the best P3 business practices globally, as well as the potential hazards and benefits of P3s.</p> <p dir="ltr">“You have competition among entities of the private sector to come up with the best and most cost-effective design,” Karen Hedlund, national P3 advisor for Parsons Brinckerhoff, said at the panel, which was moderated by Urban Land Institute's senior vice president, Rachel MacCleery.</p> <p dir="ltr">For underfunded tri-state transportation agencies, design-build can be an attractive method of cutting project costs. As Mike Parker, of Ernst &amp; Young Infrastructure Advisors, LLC, pointed out, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey estimated that it saved ten percent by using a P3 for the Goethals Bridge reconstruction versus a public plan.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the case of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, Hedlund explained, its dire need for infrastructure repair may repel potential private partners.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Would they be willing to accept the cost of bringing the Northeast Corridor up to a state-of-good-repair?” Hedlund asked. “It's a much more complicated question than sometimes some politicians would like you to believe.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Last year, P3s, especially as design-build, were <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#page=23" target="_blank">recommended</a> by the MTA Transportation Reinvention Commission, a team of 24 local, regional, and international transportation experts. In July, New York State Budget Director Mary Beth Labate again endorsed their use in a <a href="http://cdn-sas.secondavenuesagas.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Labate-to-Prendergast.pdf" target="_blank">letter</a> to MTA Chair Thomas Prendergast, calling design-build and other P3 tools a means of reducing the agency’s capital program costs and achieving “faster project delivery."</p> <p dir="ltr">Certainly, the MTA needs faster project delivery - a recent <a href="http://www.cbcny.org/sites/default/files/REPORT_STATIONS_09022015_1.pdf" target="_blank">report</a> by the Citizens Budget Commission (CBC), a nonpartisan watchdog group, estimated that MTA repair and upgrade projects will be finished by 2067 at their current rate. The Second Avenue Subway extension is notoriously behind schedule and beyond budget.</p> <p dir="ltr">But though public-private partnerships are recommended for MTA repair projects, the CBC report warns that a “P3 can leave public agencies at risk when private parties fail to perform adequately,” as they did in the early 2000s with a London Underground repair project.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The London experience showed that there’s some problems with P3s that dealt with a lot of maintaining existing assets and bringing existing infrastructure up to a state-of-good-repair,” Jamison Dague, the report’s author, told Gotham Gazette. “And that’s not to say that you can’t have a P3 that does those things successfully, but that was one challenge that they saw there.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, design-build contracts for New York infrastructure, Dague added, have proven successful in the past. The newly approved (and controversial) <a href="http://web.mta.info/capital/pdf/CapitalProgram2015-19_WEB%20v4%20FINAL_small.pdf" target="_blank">MTA five-year capital plan</a> was reduced by billions of dollars after the agency accounted for increased use of design-build and other cost-saving strategies.</p> <p dir="ltr">From a policy standpoint, measures can be taken to prevent private sector malfeasance when engaging companies in major infrastructure projects. In his remarks, Galloway emphasized the need for transportation officials to independently estimate a project’s cost before private sector involvement.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Otherwise, they will price their own investment in such a way to cover that risk,” Galloway said. “And you very quickly lose some of the advantages that you would otherwise see in a public-private partnership.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Transportation officials and others have suggested oversight mechanisms as a means of preventing similar problems before. Independent evaluation of projects before private-sector involvement was recommended by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli in a 2013 <a href="http://www.osc.state.ny.us/reports/infrastructure/p3_report_2013.pdf" target="_blank">report</a>, which also calls for the creation of an oversight entity for public-partnership agreements and other changes to the state's P3 policies.</p> <p dir="ltr">Jaffe mentioned the ongoing concern: “The fear is always that in the long run, the public will end up paying more than they said they would pay up front.”</p> <p dir="ltr">***<br />by Ryan Brady, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/22591061626_f2b6ab93a4_z.jpg" alt="MTA MetroNorth garage" height="399" width="600" /></p> <p>A new MTA MetroNorth facility (<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/mtaphotos/22591061626/in/dateposted/" target="_blank">photo</a>:&nbsp;MTA/Patrick Cashin)</p> <hr /> <p>At an Urban Land Institute conference last week, two panels of transportation experts – one from the public sector, the other from the private sector – discussed the issues plaguing tri-state transportation systems and the potential of public-private partnerships to address them.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Transportation agencies are great at delivering state-of-good-repair projects, delivering normal replacement projects,” former New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald said during the first panel. “I’m not so sure that transportation agencies are the entities best-suited to do some of these mega projects that are not just about transportation.”</p> <p dir="ltr">With transportation infrastructure, a public-private partnership, or P3 agreement, is used most often in a design-build contract - design-build is a method of project-delivery in which a private contractor wins a bid to design and construct a project. Ongoing regional public-private infrastructure projects include the construction of a new Port Authority Bus Terminal and an MTA project to build a Long Island Rail Road station beneath Grand Central Terminal (known as East Side Access).</p> <p dir="ltr">Organized by the Urban Land Institute’s New York, New Jersey and Westchester/Fairfield chapters, the forum was hosted at Shearman &amp; Sterling’s East Midtown headquarters, drawing a crowd of around one hundred.</p> <p dir="ltr">During the panel of current and former public officials, moderated by CityLab New York bureau chief Eric Jaffe, the speakers disagreed on the role of public-private partnerships in terms of their potential for improving transportation infrastructure.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The bigger you get, when you have many more stakeholders, many more local zoning laws, then it becomes more difficult,” Steve Santoro, New Jersey Transit's assistant executive director of capital planning, said of expansive P3 projects.</p> <p dir="ltr">All agreed, however, that area transportation infrastructure is in a state of crisis.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The term 'transportation Armageddon' has been used,” Jaffe said, referring to Senator Chuck Schumer's remarks about the potential results of the damaged Hudson River tunnels. If the existing New York-to-New Jersey tunnels close - a plausible scenario given their age, deterioration and the fact that they have reached current capacity - it would be disastrous for commuters and the regional economy.</p> <p dir="ltr">In remarks after the panel, Drew Galloway, Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor chief of planning and performance expressed openness to working with a private sector contractor on the Gateway Project, a proposed high-speed rail corridor planned to help solve a potential crisis with the tunnels, which are used by NJTransit and Amtrak and bring many commuters into New York City.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We absolutely intend to consider [public-private partnerships] and will welcome the proposals as it goes forward,” Galloway told <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/10/8581252/unfunded-mega-projects-experts-suggest-turning-private-sector" target="_blank">Politico New York</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">After the conference’s 15-minute networking break, the private sector panel convened to discuss the best P3 business practices globally, as well as the potential hazards and benefits of P3s.</p> <p dir="ltr">“You have competition among entities of the private sector to come up with the best and most cost-effective design,” Karen Hedlund, national P3 advisor for Parsons Brinckerhoff, said at the panel, which was moderated by Urban Land Institute's senior vice president, Rachel MacCleery.</p> <p dir="ltr">For underfunded tri-state transportation agencies, design-build can be an attractive method of cutting project costs. As Mike Parker, of Ernst &amp; Young Infrastructure Advisors, LLC, pointed out, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey estimated that it saved ten percent by using a P3 for the Goethals Bridge reconstruction versus a public plan.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the case of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, Hedlund explained, its dire need for infrastructure repair may repel potential private partners.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Would they be willing to accept the cost of bringing the Northeast Corridor up to a state-of-good-repair?” Hedlund asked. “It's a much more complicated question than sometimes some politicians would like you to believe.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Last year, P3s, especially as design-build, were <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/#page=23" target="_blank">recommended</a> by the MTA Transportation Reinvention Commission, a team of 24 local, regional, and international transportation experts. In July, New York State Budget Director Mary Beth Labate again endorsed their use in a <a href="http://cdn-sas.secondavenuesagas.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Labate-to-Prendergast.pdf" target="_blank">letter</a> to MTA Chair Thomas Prendergast, calling design-build and other P3 tools a means of reducing the agency’s capital program costs and achieving “faster project delivery."</p> <p dir="ltr">Certainly, the MTA needs faster project delivery - a recent <a href="http://www.cbcny.org/sites/default/files/REPORT_STATIONS_09022015_1.pdf" target="_blank">report</a> by the Citizens Budget Commission (CBC), a nonpartisan watchdog group, estimated that MTA repair and upgrade projects will be finished by 2067 at their current rate. The Second Avenue Subway extension is notoriously behind schedule and beyond budget.</p> <p dir="ltr">But though public-private partnerships are recommended for MTA repair projects, the CBC report warns that a “P3 can leave public agencies at risk when private parties fail to perform adequately,” as they did in the early 2000s with a London Underground repair project.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The London experience showed that there’s some problems with P3s that dealt with a lot of maintaining existing assets and bringing existing infrastructure up to a state-of-good-repair,” Jamison Dague, the report’s author, told Gotham Gazette. “And that’s not to say that you can’t have a P3 that does those things successfully, but that was one challenge that they saw there.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, design-build contracts for New York infrastructure, Dague added, have proven successful in the past. The newly approved (and controversial) <a href="http://web.mta.info/capital/pdf/CapitalProgram2015-19_WEB%20v4%20FINAL_small.pdf" target="_blank">MTA five-year capital plan</a> was reduced by billions of dollars after the agency accounted for increased use of design-build and other cost-saving strategies.</p> <p dir="ltr">From a policy standpoint, measures can be taken to prevent private sector malfeasance when engaging companies in major infrastructure projects. In his remarks, Galloway emphasized the need for transportation officials to independently estimate a project’s cost before private sector involvement.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Otherwise, they will price their own investment in such a way to cover that risk,” Galloway said. “And you very quickly lose some of the advantages that you would otherwise see in a public-private partnership.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Transportation officials and others have suggested oversight mechanisms as a means of preventing similar problems before. Independent evaluation of projects before private-sector involvement was recommended by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli in a 2013 <a href="http://www.osc.state.ny.us/reports/infrastructure/p3_report_2013.pdf" target="_blank">report</a>, which also calls for the creation of an oversight entity for public-partnership agreements and other changes to the state's P3 policies.</p> <p dir="ltr">Jaffe mentioned the ongoing concern: “The fear is always that in the long run, the public will end up paying more than they said they would pay up front.”</p> <p dir="ltr">***<br />by Ryan Brady, Gotham Gazette<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a>&nbsp;</p> The Week Ahead in New York Politics, October 26 2015-10-25T05:00:00+00:00 2015-10-25T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5949:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-october-26-2015 Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>This week will be dominated by the World Series, we know that. The New York Mets begin their quest for the title against the Royals in Kansas City on Tuesday night, followed by another game in KC on Wednesday and then games in Queens on Friday, Saturday, and, if necessary, Sunday. If the series continues, games six and seven would be the following Tuesday and Wednesday (Nov. 3 and 4) back in Kansas City. On Sunday, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced a wager over the series, with the loser having to wear the jersey of the winning team to work for a day. There are other aspects of the bet, too, with significant home-state items to be sent from loser to winner.</p> <p>Now, on to politics sans sport.</p> <p>It was a quiet political weekend. Mayor de Blasio, City Council Member Dan Garodnick, and others touted the new Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village sales deal to the complex's tenant association on Saturday afternoon. [Read CM Garodnick's thoughts on the sale <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/5947-the-future-of-stuyvesant-town-a-peter-cooper-village-garodnick" target="_blank">in this Gotham Gazette op-ed</a>]</p> <p>On Monday, de Blasio has no public events scheduled.&nbsp;Governor Cuomo is in New York City Monday, though, to make an announcement at 1:30 p.m. at Chelsea Piers.</p> <p>There is a lot happening Monday and beyond. Services will occur this week to honor Police Officer Randolph Holder, who was killed on October 20. As has been the case since Holder was shot and killed, criminal justice reform and policing are sure to be sources of significant attention this week.</p> <p>Thursday is the three-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy hitting New York; there are sure to be both rememberances of the people and property lost, as well as assessments of progress made in recovering from Sandy and preparing for the next big storm.</p> <p>See our day-by-day rundown below.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>At the <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a> on Monday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. the Committee on Consumer Affairs will meet to discuss a bill that would ban the sale of personal care products or over the counter drugs that contain microbeads, as well as pass a resolution on the Microbeads-free Waters Acts.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. the Committee on Environmental Protection will meet to discuss bills related to the use of biodiesel.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">On Monday morning, current and former elected officials and others will honor recently-retired former Assemblymember Joan Millman. Comptroller Scott Stringer is among those who will speak.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 12:30 p.m. Monday,&nbsp;schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña will visit the High School of Fashion Industries to kick off College Application Week and make an announcement.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday at 1 p.m. at City Hall, Congressional Rep. Nydia Velazquez will announce new legislation aimed at reducing the number of guns in New York and nationwide. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries; Public Advocate Letitia James; Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams; Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson; Leah Gunn Barrett, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence; and NYC families impacted by gun violence will also participate.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 3 p.m. Monday, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a <a href="http://www.ny1.com/nyc/queens/news/2015/10/22/-hometown-rally--for-mets-fans-monday-at-queens-borough-hall.html" target="_blank">Hometown Rally</a> to cheer on the Mets as they start Game 1 of the World Series Tuesday night in Kansas City. Other elected officials, including City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and Public Advocate Letitia James are set to participate.</p> <p dir="ltr">Later, Mark-Viverito will speak at the 2015 Roy &amp; Lila Ash Innovations Award for Public Engagement in Government, where she and the City Council are receiving an award for their Participatory Budgeting program. [Read more about the award and the participatory budgeting program in <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5946-participatory-budgeting-grows-in-nyc-why-isnt-every-council-member-doing-it" target="_blank">our new in-depth report</a>: Participatory Budgeting Grows in NYC - Why Isn't Every Council Member Doing It?]</p> <p>Then, Mark-Viverito "speaks at 2015 Shine Event for LGBT Immigration Equality."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7 p.m. Monday the Bronx Young Democrats will discuss the achievements and current initiatives of young female Bronx leaders. The <a href="https://twitter.com/vanessalgibson/status/654191195590160384" target="_blank">event</a> will feature Darcel Clark, Democratic candidate for Bronx District Attorney; City Council Member Vanessa Gibson; State Assemblymember Latoya Joyner; and Marsha Michael, Attorney &amp; Law Clerk.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7:15 p.m. the Immigration Equality event “<a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1706785126218100" target="_blank">SHINE</a>”, celebrating women’s leadership in in the LGBT community, will honor City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and &nbsp;Denise Chambers, Immigration Equality client and asylum winner from Trinidad.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday evening, several uptown Manhattan Democratic clubs <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/894423727260973/" target="_blank">are hosting</a> Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer for a discussion of relevant issues. City Council Member Mark Levine will also participate in the dialogue.</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday evening is the Riders Alliance gala. Public Advocate Letitia James is among those set to attend.</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">event</a>: CM Mark Treyger (District 47, Brooklyn) 6 p.m.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>On Tuesday, at 8:30 a.m., Stroock, the public affairs law firm, will host a Government Leadership forum &nbsp;<a href="http://colreaction.stroock.com/Reaction/RSGenPage.asp?RSID=fIqA7tbEiXYreT0_7kSPHQ&amp;RSTYPE=RSVP" target="_blank">“What is the Future of Organized Labor?</a>” Vincent Alvarez, President of the New York City Central Labor Council; Gregory Floyd, President of Local 237 Teamsters; Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers; and Harry Nespoli, President of the Uniformed Sanitationmen's Association will be on the panel. Robert Abrams, former New York State Attorney General and Chair of Stroock's Government Relations Practice Group, and Alan M. Klinger, Co-Managing Partner and Co-Chair of Stroock's Litigation Practice Group, will moderate.</p> <p>On Tuesday, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is in Westchester County meeting with elected officials and touring different areas.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 10:30 a.m. the New York Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) will <a href="http://www.jcope.ny.gov/public/agendas/Public%20Meeting%20Agenda%2010.27.15%20for%20website.pdf" target="_blank">meet</a> on a number of matters including its ongoing search for a new Executive Director.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 11 a.m. Vocal-NY, City Council Member Jumaane Williams, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and others will hold the <a href="https://twitter.com/VOCALNewYork/status/657622574965391360" target="_blank">Fair Chance Rally</a>. The purpose of the rally is to raise awareness about the Fair Chance Act, which makes it illegal for New York City employers to ask about one’s criminal record until after a job offer is made, and is going into effect.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a> on Tuesday: the Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation and Assembly Climate Change Work Group will have a roundtable discussion on Climate Change.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a> on Tuesday: at 11 a.m. the Committee on Women’s Issues; the Committee on Health; and the Committee on Education will meet for a joint oversight hearing on sex education in NYC schools. They will discuss three bills that would: require the Department of Education to provide a report on student health services to the Council; require the DOE to report annually on information about health education and HIV/AIDS education for students in grades six through twelve; require the DOE to submit an annual report on the sexual health education received by instructors in public middle and high schools.</p> <p dir="ltr">Prior to that City Council hearing, at 10 a.m.,&nbsp;there will be a "press conference to call for comprehensive sex education in NYC schools" led by Council Members Laurie Cumbo, Chair of the Committee on Women's Issues; Daniel Dromm, Chair of the Committee on Education; and Corey Johnson, Chair of the Committee on Health; as well as representatives from Planned Parenthood of New York City; NARAL Pro-Choice New York; New York Civil Liberties Union; and Reproductive Healthcare Advocates.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Tuesday at 2 p.m. at 250 Broadway,&nbsp;"State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), together with Public Advocate Letitia James, Council Member Annabel Palma and Make the Road New York, will release a bombshell investigative report "The American Scheme: Herbalife's Pyramid 'Shake'down.""</p> <p dir="ltr">At 4 p.m. Safe Passage Project will hold an <a href="http://www.safepassageproject.org/event/representing-immigrant-children-one-year-later/" target="_blank">event</a> composed of two parts. The first will be discussing the unmet needs of recent migrant children and young parent from Central America. City Council Member Rory Lancman will make opening remarks. There will be multiple related panel discussions thereafter.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday evening, Governor Cuomo is set to deliver remarks at the Business Council of Westchester’s <a href="http://www.lohud.com/story/money/business-in-the-burbs/2015/10/05/business-burbs/72982700/" target="_blank">Annual Dinner</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. the city Panel for Educational Policy will have a <a href="http://schools.nyc.gov/AboutUs/leadership/PEP/schedule/2015-2016/20152016PanelforEducationalPolicyCalendar.htm" target="_blank">public meeting</a> in Manhattan. At the event the Chancellor will give an update on current policies and the panel will discuss a number of important topics including: Race and Diversity in School Admission, Aggregation of Community District Budgets Together with a Proposed Budget for Administrative Expenditures of the City Board and the Chancellor, and more; while also taking public comment.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m. during <a href="https://twitter.com/JimmyVanBramer/status/654009551277195264" target="_blank">The Hispanic Leadership Awards</a>, City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer will lead a celebration honoring several people for their outstanding leadership in the Latino community, including Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who will receive a Distinguished Public Service Award. &nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7 p.m. City Council Members Donovan Richards and I. Daneek Miller will hold a Southeast Queens Transportation Town Hall. Representatives from DOT, MTA, TLC, and NYPD will attend.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">CM Mathieu Eugene (District 40, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a> on Wednesday: The Assembly Standing Committee on Aging along with the Assembly Task Force on People with Disabilities, the Assembly Subcommittee on Community Integration, and the Assembly Subcommittee on Outreach and Oversight of Senior Citizen Programs, will hold a joint public hearing regarding the “New York State Office for the Aging’s study on the benefits of creating an office of community living”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m. several groups host <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/why-she-ran-a-conversation-with-women-in-politics-tickets-19020356398" target="_blank">“Why She Ran: A Conversation With Women in Politics”</a> discussing the challenges women face in New York politics and encouraging women to run for office. Public Advocate Letitia James, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member Julissa Ferreras, and Council Member Helen Rosenthal will speak at the event. Sponsors of the event include the Working Families Party, Eleanor's Legacy, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Higher Heights for America, Ladies of Labor, Shirley Chisholm Institute, NOW-NYS, Women's Organizing Network, and WIN NYC.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also at 6:30 p.m., school district 3 will host a <a href="http://insideschools.org/calendar/event/3450-d3-town-hall-w-chancellor" target="_blank">Town Hall</a> meeting with Chancellor Carmen Fariña.</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Helen Rosenthal (District 6, Manhattan) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Ritchie Torres (District 15, Bronx) time TBA</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Eric Ulrich (District 32, Queens) 8 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Jumaane D. Williams (District 45, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>On Thursday beginning at 8:30 a.m. the Urban Land Institute will hold <a href="http://newyork.uli.org/event/save-date-uli-tri-state-infrastructure-summit/" target="_blank">a conference</a> about the best new practices to help fund public transportation infrastructure in the New York metro area in the face of withering public funding, including solutions through partnerships with the private sector.</p> <p>At the&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a>&nbsp;on Thursday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10:30 a.m. the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Elections will meet to hear communication from Orlando Marin of the City Planning Commission</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1:30 p.m. will be a City Council Stated Meeting; prefaced, as always, by the Speaker’s pre-stated press conference at 12:30 p.m.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At 5:30 p.m. United States Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates will <a href="http://web.law.columbia.edu/public-integrity/current-state-criminal-justice-conversation-us-deputy-attorney-general-sally-yates" target="_blank">discuss</a> the administration’s top goals and priorities at the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity at Columbia Law School; following the speech will be a Q&amp;A session.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 5:30 p.m. The Hopkins-Hunter Forum for Education Policy, The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and The Hunter College Gifted and Talented Program will host “<a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-excellence-gap-the-state-of-gifted-talented-education-tickets-17894759708?aff=mcivte" target="_blank">The Excellence Gap: The State of Gifted and Talented Education</a>,” an event that will discuss the income based education gap among students, and talk about suggestions on how to address the issue in the future.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. Mayor Bill de Blasio will be hosting a <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/10/8579632/de-blasio-kick-2017-campaign-midtown-fundraiser" target="_blank">fundraiser</a> for his 2017 campaign, as reported by Politico New York.</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">CM Mathieu Eugene (District 40, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Corey Johnson (District 3, Manhattan) 4:30 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Donovan Richards (District 31, Queens) time TBA</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>On Saturday and Sunday, Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray will hold two <a href="http://gothamist.com/2015/10/22/deblasio_halloween_spooky.php" target="_blank">Spooky Parties</a> at Gracie Mansion, inviting families with children 5-10 years old to come tour their haunted house. Families must have tickets through the ticket giveaway being held prior to the event.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Sunday at 2 p.m. a large group of Democratic political clubs and progressive organizations will hold a <a href="http://www.presidentialforumnyc.com/" target="_blank">Democratic Party Presidential Candidate Forum</a>. Representatives from the Clinton, Sanders, O’Malley and Lessing campaigns will participate.. The forum will be moderated by Ronnie Eldridge.</p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Colin O'Connor, Konstantine Beridze, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>This week will be dominated by the World Series, we know that. The New York Mets begin their quest for the title against the Royals in Kansas City on Tuesday night, followed by another game in KC on Wednesday and then games in Queens on Friday, Saturday, and, if necessary, Sunday. If the series continues, games six and seven would be the following Tuesday and Wednesday (Nov. 3 and 4) back in Kansas City. On Sunday, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced a wager over the series, with the loser having to wear the jersey of the winning team to work for a day. There are other aspects of the bet, too, with significant home-state items to be sent from loser to winner.</p> <p>Now, on to politics sans sport.</p> <p>It was a quiet political weekend. Mayor de Blasio, City Council Member Dan Garodnick, and others touted the new Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village sales deal to the complex's tenant association on Saturday afternoon. [Read CM Garodnick's thoughts on the sale <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/opinion/5947-the-future-of-stuyvesant-town-a-peter-cooper-village-garodnick" target="_blank">in this Gotham Gazette op-ed</a>]</p> <p>On Monday, de Blasio has no public events scheduled.&nbsp;Governor Cuomo is in New York City Monday, though, to make an announcement at 1:30 p.m. at Chelsea Piers.</p> <p>There is a lot happening Monday and beyond. Services will occur this week to honor Police Officer Randolph Holder, who was killed on October 20. As has been the case since Holder was shot and killed, criminal justice reform and policing are sure to be sources of significant attention this week.</p> <p>Thursday is the three-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy hitting New York; there are sure to be both rememberances of the people and property lost, as well as assessments of progress made in recovering from Sandy and preparing for the next big storm.</p> <p>See our day-by-day rundown below.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>At the <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a> on Monday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10 a.m. the Committee on Consumer Affairs will meet to discuss a bill that would ban the sale of personal care products or over the counter drugs that contain microbeads, as well as pass a resolution on the Microbeads-free Waters Acts.</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1 p.m. the Committee on Environmental Protection will meet to discuss bills related to the use of biodiesel.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">On Monday morning, current and former elected officials and others will honor recently-retired former Assemblymember Joan Millman. Comptroller Scott Stringer is among those who will speak.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 12:30 p.m. Monday,&nbsp;schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña will visit the High School of Fashion Industries to kick off College Application Week and make an announcement.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday at 1 p.m. at City Hall, Congressional Rep. Nydia Velazquez will announce new legislation aimed at reducing the number of guns in New York and nationwide. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries; Public Advocate Letitia James; Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams; Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson; Leah Gunn Barrett, New Yorkers Against Gun Violence; and NYC families impacted by gun violence will also participate.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 3 p.m. Monday, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz will hold a <a href="http://www.ny1.com/nyc/queens/news/2015/10/22/-hometown-rally--for-mets-fans-monday-at-queens-borough-hall.html" target="_blank">Hometown Rally</a> to cheer on the Mets as they start Game 1 of the World Series Tuesday night in Kansas City. Other elected officials, including City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and Public Advocate Letitia James are set to participate.</p> <p dir="ltr">Later, Mark-Viverito will speak at the 2015 Roy &amp; Lila Ash Innovations Award for Public Engagement in Government, where she and the City Council are receiving an award for their Participatory Budgeting program. [Read more about the award and the participatory budgeting program in <a href="http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/government/5946-participatory-budgeting-grows-in-nyc-why-isnt-every-council-member-doing-it" target="_blank">our new in-depth report</a>: Participatory Budgeting Grows in NYC - Why Isn't Every Council Member Doing It?]</p> <p>Then, Mark-Viverito "speaks at 2015 Shine Event for LGBT Immigration Equality."</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7 p.m. Monday the Bronx Young Democrats will discuss the achievements and current initiatives of young female Bronx leaders. The <a href="https://twitter.com/vanessalgibson/status/654191195590160384" target="_blank">event</a> will feature Darcel Clark, Democratic candidate for Bronx District Attorney; City Council Member Vanessa Gibson; State Assemblymember Latoya Joyner; and Marsha Michael, Attorney &amp; Law Clerk.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7:15 p.m. the Immigration Equality event “<a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1706785126218100" target="_blank">SHINE</a>”, celebrating women’s leadership in in the LGBT community, will honor City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and &nbsp;Denise Chambers, Immigration Equality client and asylum winner from Trinidad.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Monday evening, several uptown Manhattan Democratic clubs <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/894423727260973/" target="_blank">are hosting</a> Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer for a discussion of relevant issues. City Council Member Mark Levine will also participate in the dialogue.</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday evening is the Riders Alliance gala. Public Advocate Letitia James is among those set to attend.</p> <p dir="ltr">Monday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">event</a>: CM Mark Treyger (District 47, Brooklyn) 6 p.m.</p> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>On Tuesday, at 8:30 a.m., Stroock, the public affairs law firm, will host a Government Leadership forum &nbsp;<a href="http://colreaction.stroock.com/Reaction/RSGenPage.asp?RSID=fIqA7tbEiXYreT0_7kSPHQ&amp;RSTYPE=RSVP" target="_blank">“What is the Future of Organized Labor?</a>” Vincent Alvarez, President of the New York City Central Labor Council; Gregory Floyd, President of Local 237 Teamsters; Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers; and Harry Nespoli, President of the Uniformed Sanitationmen's Association will be on the panel. Robert Abrams, former New York State Attorney General and Chair of Stroock's Government Relations Practice Group, and Alan M. Klinger, Co-Managing Partner and Co-Chair of Stroock's Litigation Practice Group, will moderate.</p> <p>On Tuesday, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is in Westchester County meeting with elected officials and touring different areas.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 10:30 a.m. the New York Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) will <a href="http://www.jcope.ny.gov/public/agendas/Public%20Meeting%20Agenda%2010.27.15%20for%20website.pdf" target="_blank">meet</a> on a number of matters including its ongoing search for a new Executive Director.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 11 a.m. Vocal-NY, City Council Member Jumaane Williams, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and others will hold the <a href="https://twitter.com/VOCALNewYork/status/657622574965391360" target="_blank">Fair Chance Rally</a>. The purpose of the rally is to raise awareness about the Fair Chance Act, which makes it illegal for New York City employers to ask about one’s criminal record until after a job offer is made, and is going into effect.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a> on Tuesday: the Assembly Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation and Assembly Climate Change Work Group will have a roundtable discussion on Climate Change.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a> on Tuesday: at 11 a.m. the Committee on Women’s Issues; the Committee on Health; and the Committee on Education will meet for a joint oversight hearing on sex education in NYC schools. They will discuss three bills that would: require the Department of Education to provide a report on student health services to the Council; require the DOE to report annually on information about health education and HIV/AIDS education for students in grades six through twelve; require the DOE to submit an annual report on the sexual health education received by instructors in public middle and high schools.</p> <p dir="ltr">Prior to that City Council hearing, at 10 a.m.,&nbsp;there will be a "press conference to call for comprehensive sex education in NYC schools" led by Council Members Laurie Cumbo, Chair of the Committee on Women's Issues; Daniel Dromm, Chair of the Committee on Education; and Corey Johnson, Chair of the Committee on Health; as well as representatives from Planned Parenthood of New York City; NARAL Pro-Choice New York; New York Civil Liberties Union; and Reproductive Healthcare Advocates.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Tuesday at 2 p.m. at 250 Broadway,&nbsp;"State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), together with Public Advocate Letitia James, Council Member Annabel Palma and Make the Road New York, will release a bombshell investigative report "The American Scheme: Herbalife's Pyramid 'Shake'down.""</p> <p dir="ltr">At 4 p.m. Safe Passage Project will hold an <a href="http://www.safepassageproject.org/event/representing-immigrant-children-one-year-later/" target="_blank">event</a> composed of two parts. The first will be discussing the unmet needs of recent migrant children and young parent from Central America. City Council Member Rory Lancman will make opening remarks. There will be multiple related panel discussions thereafter.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday evening, Governor Cuomo is set to deliver remarks at the Business Council of Westchester’s <a href="http://www.lohud.com/story/money/business-in-the-burbs/2015/10/05/business-burbs/72982700/" target="_blank">Annual Dinner</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. the city Panel for Educational Policy will have a <a href="http://schools.nyc.gov/AboutUs/leadership/PEP/schedule/2015-2016/20152016PanelforEducationalPolicyCalendar.htm" target="_blank">public meeting</a> in Manhattan. At the event the Chancellor will give an update on current policies and the panel will discuss a number of important topics including: Race and Diversity in School Admission, Aggregation of Community District Budgets Together with a Proposed Budget for Administrative Expenditures of the City Board and the Chancellor, and more; while also taking public comment.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m. during <a href="https://twitter.com/JimmyVanBramer/status/654009551277195264" target="_blank">The Hispanic Leadership Awards</a>, City Council Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer will lead a celebration honoring several people for their outstanding leadership in the Latino community, including Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who will receive a Distinguished Public Service Award. &nbsp;</p> <p dir="ltr">At 7 p.m. City Council Members Donovan Richards and I. Daneek Miller will hold a Southeast Queens Transportation Town Hall. Representatives from DOT, MTA, TLC, and NYPD will attend.</p> <p dir="ltr">Tuesday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">CM Mathieu Eugene (District 40, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>At the <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?sh=hear" target="_blank">New York State Legislature</a> on Wednesday: The Assembly Standing Committee on Aging along with the Assembly Task Force on People with Disabilities, the Assembly Subcommittee on Community Integration, and the Assembly Subcommittee on Outreach and Oversight of Senior Citizen Programs, will hold a joint public hearing regarding the “New York State Office for the Aging’s study on the benefits of creating an office of community living”</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6:30 p.m. several groups host <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/why-she-ran-a-conversation-with-women-in-politics-tickets-19020356398" target="_blank">“Why She Ran: A Conversation With Women in Politics”</a> discussing the challenges women face in New York politics and encouraging women to run for office. Public Advocate Letitia James, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Council Member Julissa Ferreras, and Council Member Helen Rosenthal will speak at the event. Sponsors of the event include the Working Families Party, Eleanor's Legacy, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Higher Heights for America, Ladies of Labor, Shirley Chisholm Institute, NOW-NYS, Women's Organizing Network, and WIN NYC.</p> <p dir="ltr">Also at 6:30 p.m., school district 3 will host a <a href="http://insideschools.org/calendar/event/3450-d3-town-hall-w-chancellor" target="_blank">Town Hall</a> meeting with Chancellor Carmen Fariña.</p> <p dir="ltr">Wednesday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Helen Rosenthal (District 6, Manhattan) 6 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Ritchie Torres (District 15, Bronx) time TBA</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Eric Ulrich (District 32, Queens) 8 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Jumaane D. Williams (District 45, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>On Thursday beginning at 8:30 a.m. the Urban Land Institute will hold <a href="http://newyork.uli.org/event/save-date-uli-tri-state-infrastructure-summit/" target="_blank">a conference</a> about the best new practices to help fund public transportation infrastructure in the New York metro area in the face of withering public funding, including solutions through partnerships with the private sector.</p> <p>At the&nbsp;<a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">City Council</a>&nbsp;on Thursday:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">At 10:30 a.m. the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Elections will meet to hear communication from Orlando Marin of the City Planning Commission</li> <li dir="ltr">At 1:30 p.m. will be a City Council Stated Meeting; prefaced, as always, by the Speaker’s pre-stated press conference at 12:30 p.m.</li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">At 5:30 p.m. United States Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates will <a href="http://web.law.columbia.edu/public-integrity/current-state-criminal-justice-conversation-us-deputy-attorney-general-sally-yates" target="_blank">discuss</a> the administration’s top goals and priorities at the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity at Columbia Law School; following the speech will be a Q&amp;A session.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 5:30 p.m. The Hopkins-Hunter Forum for Education Policy, The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and The Hunter College Gifted and Talented Program will host “<a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-excellence-gap-the-state-of-gifted-talented-education-tickets-17894759708?aff=mcivte" target="_blank">The Excellence Gap: The State of Gifted and Talented Education</a>,” an event that will discuss the income based education gap among students, and talk about suggestions on how to address the issue in the future.</p> <p dir="ltr">At 6 p.m. Mayor Bill de Blasio will be hosting a <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2015/10/8579632/de-blasio-kick-2017-campaign-midtown-fundraiser" target="_blank">fundraiser</a> for his 2017 campaign, as reported by Politico New York.</p> <p dir="ltr">Thursday’s City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr">CM Mathieu Eugene (District 40, Brooklyn) 6:30 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Corey Johnson (District 3, Manhattan) 4:30 p.m.</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Donovan Richards (District 31, Queens) time TBA</li> <li dir="ltr">CM Paul Vallone (District 19, Queens) 7 p.m.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>On Saturday and Sunday, Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray will hold two <a href="http://gothamist.com/2015/10/22/deblasio_halloween_spooky.php" target="_blank">Spooky Parties</a> at Gracie Mansion, inviting families with children 5-10 years old to come tour their haunted house. Families must have tickets through the ticket giveaway being held prior to the event.</p> <p dir="ltr">On Sunday at 2 p.m. a large group of Democratic political clubs and progressive organizations will hold a <a href="http://www.presidentialforumnyc.com/" target="_blank">Democratic Party Presidential Candidate Forum</a>. Representatives from the Clinton, Sanders, O’Malley and Lessing campaigns will participate.. The forum will be moderated by Ronnie Eldridge.</p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Colin O'Connor, Konstantine Beridze, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> The Week Ahead in New York Politics, October 5 2015-10-04T05:00:00+00:00 2015-10-04T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=5920:the-week-ahead-in-new-york-politics-october-5 Super User <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>This week will include a focus on what the city can do to stop gas-related explosions after another such explosion occurred this weekend, this time in Borough Park; education politics and policy, as the pro-charter, anti-de Blasio group Families for Excellent Schools will hold a large rally; a continuation of negotiation and criticism between city and state entities over MTA funding; and more.</p> <p>Oh, and it's the Major League Baseball playoffs, with both the Mets and Yankees in the post-season for the first time in a long time, with many hoping for a "subway series" World Series between the two, a la 2000, when the Yankees defeated the Mets.</p> <p><strong>TRACKING DE BLASIO:</strong> With the threat from Hurricane Joaquin abated, Mayor de Blasio decided to go through with his trip to Washington, D.C. and Baltimore on Friday and Saturday. The mayor delivered remarks at a reception for the State Innovation Exchange Conference on Friday, then attended the United States Conference of Mayors Fall Leadership Meeting on Saturday. The mayor then headed back to Borough Park, Brooklyn, where he attended to the emergency gas explosion that tore apart a building, killing at least one and injuring several.</p> <p>The incident is another in a string of gas explosions, including East Harlem and the East Village, that has many worried and talking about a need for new measures to combat the deadly incidents. Gov. Cuomo announced he was deploying representatives to investigate and city officials are calling for action. This explosion appears to have been caused by mistakes made during the removal of an oven.</p> <p>On Monday, Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray will be on Staten Island for the groundbreaking of The Staten Island Family Justice Center, at which the mayor will speak around 10 a.m.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/10/staten_island_family_justice_center.html" target="_blank">Read more from</a>&nbsp;the Staten Island Advance, including that Staten Island will join the other boroughs, each of which already has such a center, which "provide comprehensive criminal justice, civil legal and social services free of charge to victims of domestic violence, elderly abuse and sex trafficking in the other boroughs."</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening&nbsp;all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read our day-by-day rundown below.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>At 10:30 a.m. Monday at the Bronx County Courthouse, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman "will announce a major crackdown on distributors of synthetic marijuana and other designer drugs."</p> <p>On Monday morning, "State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan joins state Sen. Martin Golden on a walking tour and media availability in Gerritsen Beach, starting in front of 3078 Gerritsen Ave., Brooklyn," according to City &amp; State NY.</p> <p>At 12:30 p.m. Monday, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will announce&nbsp;the "launch of MonumentArt, an International Mural Festival hosted in East Harlem and the South Bronx," from La Marqueta.</p> <p>On Monday,&nbsp;Public Advocate Letitia James "will travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in the Funders' Committee for Civic Participation conference."</p> <p>Monday evening, First Lady McCray will be among the honorees of a&nbsp;Feminist Power Award from the Feminist Press.</p> <p>At 8 p.m. Monday, Comptroller Scott Stringer "Receives the Pacesetter Award at The National Association of Investment Companies 45th Annual Meeting &amp; Convention Welcome Reception."</p> <p>Monday's City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Corey Johnson (District 3, Manhattan) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Julissa Ferreras (District 21, Queens) 7 pm</li> </ul> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>Tuesday, at 10 a.m., a press conference in PACE University's downtown campus will mark the beginning of Poverty Awareness Week, which is co-sponsored by Pace University and The Mayor's Office. The week will include a series of events. Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. will be one keynote speaker; Shola Olatoye, Chair and CEO of NYCHA will participate in a discussion on "Local Initiatives to Eradicate Poverty."</p> <p>On Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio "will deliver remarks at the ribbon-cutting for the Brooklyn College Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School for Cinema at Steiner Studios."</p> <p>At 5 p.m., the Mayor will appear on WCBS Newsradio 880.</p> <p>In the evening, Mayor de Blasio, Governor Cuomo, and many others will attend a birthday celebration for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Tuesday, the Brooklyn Historical Society <a href="http://www.brooklynhistory.org/visitor/calendar.html" target="_blank">will host</a> "Why New York? Our Broken Bail System." The event will be moderated by New York Times journalist Shaila Dewan, with panelists: Judge George Grasso, public defender Josh Saunders, criminal justice reform advocate Glenn E. Martin, and an individual who couldn't afford bail.</p> <p>At 7 p.m. Tuesday, NY Tech Meetup will be <a href="http://www.meetup.com/ny-tech/events/220016185/?mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRoku6zIe%2B%2FhmjTEU5z16uUuWaW0gJt41El3fuXBP2XqjvpVQcNhNrDNRw8FHZNpywVWM8TIKNARt9B5LwzkAG8%3D" target="_blank">held</a> at NYU, with a number of New York companies presenting demos of technologies that they are developing.</p> <p>Tuesday's City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 4 pm</li> <li>CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Corey Johnson (District 3, Manhattan) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Brad Lander (District 39, Brooklyn) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Eric Ulrich (District 32, Queens) 8 pm</li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>JCOPE is set to meet Wednesday morning in Albany.</p> <p>Wednesday morning at 8 a.m., City &amp; State NY <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/on-energy-tickets-18606786399?aff=erelexporg" target="_blank">holds</a> its fifth annual "On Energy" event, inviting leaders in government, advocacy and business to speak on a number of topics related to the future of energy. Among the topics of discussion will be Governor Andrew Cuomo's regulatory overhaul in New York, Mayor de Blasio's 80 by 50 plan, and more. The event includes a panel with Jonathan Bowles, Executive Director of Center for an Urban Future; Nilda Mesa, Director at NYC Mayor's Office of Sustainability; Kathryn Garcia, Commissioner, NYC Department of Sanitation. Other notable speakers to appear include: Richard Kauffman, NYS Chair of Energy &amp; Finance; Arthur "Jerry" Kremer, Chairman of New York AREA; Ambassador Ron Kirk, Chairman of CASEnergy; Kevin Parker, a New York state Senator and ranking member of the Energy &amp; Telecommunications Committee.</p> <p>On Wednesday, The Families for Excellent Schools rally, postponed from last week because of weather and "to demand equal opportunity in our schools," will take place, starting mid-morning at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn, followed by a march across the Brooklyn Bridge, and a 12:30 p.m. press conference at City Hall. <a href="http://www.familiesforexcellentschools.org/parentsrally" target="_blank">The rally</a> is, in essence, to promote more more charter schools and criticize Mayor de Blasio's education agenda, which does not include more charters. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is expected to headline the rally, along with several high-profile performers, including Jennifer Hudson.</p> <p>At the City Council <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">on Wednesday</a>:</p> <ul> <li>10 a.m., The Committee on Transportation will meet to discuss a bill that would require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct a study on the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists along bus routes. DOT would then institute new safety measures based on the data. The Committee will also discuss a bill that would require the identification of dangerous intersections based on incidents involving pedestrians, and implement curb extensions in such areas. The Committee will also make a decision on resolutions that would require the MTA to instal rear guards on bus wheels and to study ways to eliminate blind spots for buses.</li> <li>Also 10 a.m., The Committee on Aging will hold an oversight hearing on older adult employment.</li> </ul> <p>At 10 a.m. <a href="http://www.eastriverfiftiesalliance.com/" target="_blank">The East 50s Alliance</a> will hold a community rally to protest the planned construction of a 900-foot tower in the 58th street residential area. The residents are "deeply concerned that the tower will diminish the safety, accessibility and livability of a narrow side street during a lengthy construction process and forever after." City Council Member Ben Kallos will speak.</p> <p>At 5:30 p.m. Wednesday City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Vivertio, along with Council Members Paul Vallone and Vincent Gentile and others, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1500786460235939/" target="_blank">will hold</a> a Celebration of Italian Heritage at the Council Chambers in City Hall. The event will also celebrate Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday.</p> <p>From 6 to 8 p.m. at Fordham Law School, The Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center and the Women's City Club of New York&nbsp;<a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/this-bridge-called-my-back-women-of-color-and-the-fight-for-economic-security-tickets-17973743952" target="_blank">will host</a> "This Bridge Called My Back: Women of Color and the Fight for Economic Security", on "how gender intersects with economic and racial inequality in New York City." Dr. Christina Greer, professor of political science at Fordham University, will moderate the panel, with Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York; Luna Ranjit, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Adhikaar; Joanne N. Smith Founder and Executive Director of Girls for Gender Equality; and Margarita Rosa, Executive Director of National Center for Law and Economic Justice participating in the discussion.</p> <p>Wednesday's City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li>CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Helen Rosenthal (District 6, Manhattan) 6 pm</li> <li>Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Mathieu Eugene (District 40, Brooklyn) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Karen Koslowitz (District 29, Queens) 7 pm</li> </ul> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>On Thursday <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">at the City Council</a>:</p> <ul> <li>9:30 a.m., Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet to discuss three land use applications in Manhattan.</li> <li>10 a.m., Committee on Finance will meet regarding the Department of Finance's Office of the Taxpayer Advocate.</li> <li>11 a.m., Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses will meet to discuss a land use application in Brooklyn</li> <li>1 p.m., Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions will meet to discuss another land use application in Brooklyn</li> </ul> <p>Thursday at the New York State Legislature: the&nbsp;Assembly Standing Committee on Health, Assembly Standing Committee on Mental Health, and Assembly Task Force on People with Disabilities <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/comm/Health/20150911/" target="_blank">will hold</a> a joint public hearing regarding Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment and Services. "The Committees are seeking oral and written testimony from patients and their families, clinicians, service providers, and the Department on topics including the incidence, severity and consequences of TBI; treatment and service appropriateness and availability, including the rights of patients sent out-of-state; and issues relating to the transition of the TBI Waiver program to managed care."</p> <p>At 9 a.m. Thursday New York State Assembly Members Latoya Joyner and Marcos Crespo <a href="https://events.gybo.com/events/132/detail" target="_blank">will kick off</a> "Let's Put Our Cities on the Map," sponsored and hosted by Google at the Bronx Museum of Arts, which will offer free counseling for small businesses on how to reach local customer bases, specifically by using "SmartLogic" online tools.</p> <p>"The next public meeting of the New York City Campaign Finance Board will be held on Thursday, October 8 at 10:00 AM."</p> <p>At 5 p.m. Thursday, EmblemHealth and LaborPress <a href="http://laborpress.org/sectors/municipal-labor/2900-laborpress-honors-heroes-of-labor" target="_blank">will honor</a> 12 labor union members, from eight different labor unions, for their remarkable contributions to the labor communities at the fourth annual "Heroes of Labor Awards". EmblemHealth has invited many city elected officials to speak, several are expected.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Thursday in Washington, D.C., the Brennan Center for Justice and Vox <a href="https://www.brennancenter.org/politics-of-participation" target="_blank">will hold</a> "The Politics of Participation: Building an Engaged Citizenry for Millennials and Beyond," including City Council Member Eric Ulrich. It is billed as "a candid conversation about what the shifting demographic landscape means for grassroots movements, political action, and civic engagement; how can we shape our democracy into one that is truly representative of the people being governed?"</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, the Brooklyn Historical Society <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-changing-face-of-activism-tickets-17896902116" target="_blank">will hold</a> "The Changing Face of Activism," which will explore the historical progression of activism from the 1960s desegregation movement to the present day Black Lives Matter movement. Moderated by Alethia Jones, a leader of 1199 SEIU, the panel will feature activist Barbara Smith; Joo-Hyun Kang of Communities United for Police Reform; and Jose Lopez, Lead Organizer at Make the Road NY and member of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.</p> <p>At 8:15 p.m. Thursday, Dan Abrams of ABC News&nbsp;<a href="http://www.92y.org/Event/Ray-Kelly-in-Conversation" target="_blank">will talk</a> with Ray Kelly, the longest-serving NYPD Commissioner, at the 92nd Street Y. Kelly will hold a book signing for his new memoir Vigilance: My Life Serving America and Protecting Its Empire City, after his talk with Mr. Abrams.</p> <p>Thursday's City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li>CM Steve Levin (District 33, Brooklyn) 5 pm</li> <li>CM Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Karen Koslowitz (District 29, Queens) 7 pm</li> <li>CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) 8 pm</li> </ul> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>Friday at 8:15 a.m., NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton <a href="https://nyls.wufoo.com/forms/william-bratton-citylaw-breakfast/" target="_blank">will speak</a> at New York Law School, as part of the CityLaw breakfast series.</p> <p>Weekend <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">participatory budgeting</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Friday, CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 1 pm.</li> <li>Saturday, CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn), time TBA.</li> <li>Sunday, CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn), time TBA.</li> </ul> <p><em>*Note: we'll publish our next 'Week Ahead' on Monday, October 13 given the Columbus Day holiday</em></p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Colin O'Connor, Konstantine Beridze, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p> <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2014/03/640px-New_York_City_Hall.jpg" alt="New York City Hall" height="450" width="600" /></p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;">New York City Hall</span></p> <hr /> <p><strong>What to watch for this week in New York politics:</strong></p> <p>This week will include a focus on what the city can do to stop gas-related explosions after another such explosion occurred this weekend, this time in Borough Park; education politics and policy, as the pro-charter, anti-de Blasio group Families for Excellent Schools will hold a large rally; a continuation of negotiation and criticism between city and state entities over MTA funding; and more.</p> <p>Oh, and it's the Major League Baseball playoffs, with both the Mets and Yankees in the post-season for the first time in a long time, with many hoping for a "subway series" World Series between the two, a la 2000, when the Yankees defeated the Mets.</p> <p><strong>TRACKING DE BLASIO:</strong> With the threat from Hurricane Joaquin abated, Mayor de Blasio decided to go through with his trip to Washington, D.C. and Baltimore on Friday and Saturday. The mayor delivered remarks at a reception for the State Innovation Exchange Conference on Friday, then attended the United States Conference of Mayors Fall Leadership Meeting on Saturday. The mayor then headed back to Borough Park, Brooklyn, where he attended to the emergency gas explosion that tore apart a building, killing at least one and injuring several.</p> <p>The incident is another in a string of gas explosions, including East Harlem and the East Village, that has many worried and talking about a need for new measures to combat the deadly incidents. Gov. Cuomo announced he was deploying representatives to investigate and city officials are calling for action. This explosion appears to have been caused by mistakes made during the removal of an oven.</p> <p>On Monday, Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray will be on Staten Island for the groundbreaking of The Staten Island Family Justice Center, at which the mayor will speak around 10 a.m.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/10/staten_island_family_justice_center.html" target="_blank">Read more from</a>&nbsp;the Staten Island Advance, including that Staten Island will join the other boroughs, each of which already has such a center, which "provide comprehensive criminal justice, civil legal and social services free of charge to victims of domestic violence, elderly abuse and sex trafficking in the other boroughs."</p> <p>As always, there's a great deal happening&nbsp;all over the city, with many events to be aware of - read our day-by-day rundown below.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?</em><br /><em>E-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>***</em></p> <p><strong>The run of the week in detail:</strong></p> <p><strong>Monday<br /></strong>At 10:30 a.m. Monday at the Bronx County Courthouse, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman "will announce a major crackdown on distributors of synthetic marijuana and other designer drugs."</p> <p>On Monday morning, "State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan joins state Sen. Martin Golden on a walking tour and media availability in Gerritsen Beach, starting in front of 3078 Gerritsen Ave., Brooklyn," according to City &amp; State NY.</p> <p>At 12:30 p.m. Monday, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will announce&nbsp;the "launch of MonumentArt, an International Mural Festival hosted in East Harlem and the South Bronx," from La Marqueta.</p> <p>On Monday,&nbsp;Public Advocate Letitia James "will travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in the Funders' Committee for Civic Participation conference."</p> <p>Monday evening, First Lady McCray will be among the honorees of a&nbsp;Feminist Power Award from the Feminist Press.</p> <p>At 8 p.m. Monday, Comptroller Scott Stringer "Receives the Pacesetter Award at The National Association of Investment Companies 45th Annual Meeting &amp; Convention Welcome Reception."</p> <p>Monday's City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Corey Johnson (District 3, Manhattan) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Julissa Ferreras (District 21, Queens) 7 pm</li> </ul> <p><strong>Tuesday<br /></strong>Tuesday, at 10 a.m., a press conference in PACE University's downtown campus will mark the beginning of Poverty Awareness Week, which is co-sponsored by Pace University and The Mayor's Office. The week will include a series of events. Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. will be one keynote speaker; Shola Olatoye, Chair and CEO of NYCHA will participate in a discussion on "Local Initiatives to Eradicate Poverty."</p> <p>On Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio "will deliver remarks at the ribbon-cutting for the Brooklyn College Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School for Cinema at Steiner Studios."</p> <p>At 5 p.m., the Mayor will appear on WCBS Newsradio 880.</p> <p>In the evening, Mayor de Blasio, Governor Cuomo, and many others will attend a birthday celebration for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Tuesday, the Brooklyn Historical Society <a href="http://www.brooklynhistory.org/visitor/calendar.html" target="_blank">will host</a> "Why New York? Our Broken Bail System." The event will be moderated by New York Times journalist Shaila Dewan, with panelists: Judge George Grasso, public defender Josh Saunders, criminal justice reform advocate Glenn E. Martin, and an individual who couldn't afford bail.</p> <p>At 7 p.m. Tuesday, NY Tech Meetup will be <a href="http://www.meetup.com/ny-tech/events/220016185/?mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRoku6zIe%2B%2FhmjTEU5z16uUuWaW0gJt41El3fuXBP2XqjvpVQcNhNrDNRw8FHZNpywVWM8TIKNARt9B5LwzkAG8%3D" target="_blank">held</a> at NYU, with a number of New York companies presenting demos of technologies that they are developing.</p> <p>Tuesday's City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 4 pm</li> <li>CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Corey Johnson (District 3, Manhattan) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Brad Lander (District 39, Brooklyn) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Eric Ulrich (District 32, Queens) 8 pm</li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday<br /></strong>JCOPE is set to meet Wednesday morning in Albany.</p> <p>Wednesday morning at 8 a.m., City &amp; State NY <a href="https://www.eventbrite.com/e/on-energy-tickets-18606786399?aff=erelexporg" target="_blank">holds</a> its fifth annual "On Energy" event, inviting leaders in government, advocacy and business to speak on a number of topics related to the future of energy. Among the topics of discussion will be Governor Andrew Cuomo's regulatory overhaul in New York, Mayor de Blasio's 80 by 50 plan, and more. The event includes a panel with Jonathan Bowles, Executive Director of Center for an Urban Future; Nilda Mesa, Director at NYC Mayor's Office of Sustainability; Kathryn Garcia, Commissioner, NYC Department of Sanitation. Other notable speakers to appear include: Richard Kauffman, NYS Chair of Energy &amp; Finance; Arthur "Jerry" Kremer, Chairman of New York AREA; Ambassador Ron Kirk, Chairman of CASEnergy; Kevin Parker, a New York state Senator and ranking member of the Energy &amp; Telecommunications Committee.</p> <p>On Wednesday, The Families for Excellent Schools rally, postponed from last week because of weather and "to demand equal opportunity in our schools," will take place, starting mid-morning at Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn, followed by a march across the Brooklyn Bridge, and a 12:30 p.m. press conference at City Hall. <a href="http://www.familiesforexcellentschools.org/parentsrally" target="_blank">The rally</a> is, in essence, to promote more more charter schools and criticize Mayor de Blasio's education agenda, which does not include more charters. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is expected to headline the rally, along with several high-profile performers, including Jennifer Hudson.</p> <p>At the City Council <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">on Wednesday</a>:</p> <ul> <li>10 a.m., The Committee on Transportation will meet to discuss a bill that would require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct a study on the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists along bus routes. DOT would then institute new safety measures based on the data. The Committee will also discuss a bill that would require the identification of dangerous intersections based on incidents involving pedestrians, and implement curb extensions in such areas. The Committee will also make a decision on resolutions that would require the MTA to instal rear guards on bus wheels and to study ways to eliminate blind spots for buses.</li> <li>Also 10 a.m., The Committee on Aging will hold an oversight hearing on older adult employment.</li> </ul> <p>At 10 a.m. <a href="http://www.eastriverfiftiesalliance.com/" target="_blank">The East 50s Alliance</a> will hold a community rally to protest the planned construction of a 900-foot tower in the 58th street residential area. The residents are "deeply concerned that the tower will diminish the safety, accessibility and livability of a narrow side street during a lengthy construction process and forever after." City Council Member Ben Kallos will speak.</p> <p>At 5:30 p.m. Wednesday City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Vivertio, along with Council Members Paul Vallone and Vincent Gentile and others, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/1500786460235939/" target="_blank">will hold</a> a Celebration of Italian Heritage at the Council Chambers in City Hall. The event will also celebrate Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday.</p> <p>From 6 to 8 p.m. at Fordham Law School, The Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center and the Women's City Club of New York&nbsp;<a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/this-bridge-called-my-back-women-of-color-and-the-fight-for-economic-security-tickets-17973743952" target="_blank">will host</a> "This Bridge Called My Back: Women of Color and the Fight for Economic Security", on "how gender intersects with economic and racial inequality in New York City." Dr. Christina Greer, professor of political science at Fordham University, will moderate the panel, with Linda Sarsour, Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York; Luna Ranjit, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Adhikaar; Joanne N. Smith Founder and Executive Director of Girls for Gender Equality; and Margarita Rosa, Executive Director of National Center for Law and Economic Justice participating in the discussion.</p> <p>Wednesday's City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li>CM Elizabeth Crowley (District 30, Queens) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Helen Rosenthal (District 6, Manhattan) 6 pm</li> <li>Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (District 8, Manhattan/Bronx) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Mathieu Eugene (District 40, Brooklyn) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Karen Koslowitz (District 29, Queens) 7 pm</li> </ul> <p><strong>Thursday<br /></strong>On Thursday <a href="http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/Calendar.aspx" target="_blank">at the City Council</a>:</p> <ul> <li>9:30 a.m., Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will meet to discuss three land use applications in Manhattan.</li> <li>10 a.m., Committee on Finance will meet regarding the Department of Finance's Office of the Taxpayer Advocate.</li> <li>11 a.m., Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses will meet to discuss a land use application in Brooklyn</li> <li>1 p.m., Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions and Concessions will meet to discuss another land use application in Brooklyn</li> </ul> <p>Thursday at the New York State Legislature: the&nbsp;Assembly Standing Committee on Health, Assembly Standing Committee on Mental Health, and Assembly Task Force on People with Disabilities <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/comm/Health/20150911/" target="_blank">will hold</a> a joint public hearing regarding Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment and Services. "The Committees are seeking oral and written testimony from patients and their families, clinicians, service providers, and the Department on topics including the incidence, severity and consequences of TBI; treatment and service appropriateness and availability, including the rights of patients sent out-of-state; and issues relating to the transition of the TBI Waiver program to managed care."</p> <p>At 9 a.m. Thursday New York State Assembly Members Latoya Joyner and Marcos Crespo <a href="https://events.gybo.com/events/132/detail" target="_blank">will kick off</a> "Let's Put Our Cities on the Map," sponsored and hosted by Google at the Bronx Museum of Arts, which will offer free counseling for small businesses on how to reach local customer bases, specifically by using "SmartLogic" online tools.</p> <p>"The next public meeting of the New York City Campaign Finance Board will be held on Thursday, October 8 at 10:00 AM."</p> <p>At 5 p.m. Thursday, EmblemHealth and LaborPress <a href="http://laborpress.org/sectors/municipal-labor/2900-laborpress-honors-heroes-of-labor" target="_blank">will honor</a> 12 labor union members, from eight different labor unions, for their remarkable contributions to the labor communities at the fourth annual "Heroes of Labor Awards". EmblemHealth has invited many city elected officials to speak, several are expected.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. Thursday in Washington, D.C., the Brennan Center for Justice and Vox <a href="https://www.brennancenter.org/politics-of-participation" target="_blank">will hold</a> "The Politics of Participation: Building an Engaged Citizenry for Millennials and Beyond," including City Council Member Eric Ulrich. It is billed as "a candid conversation about what the shifting demographic landscape means for grassroots movements, political action, and civic engagement; how can we shape our democracy into one that is truly representative of the people being governed?"</p> <p>At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, the Brooklyn Historical Society <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-changing-face-of-activism-tickets-17896902116" target="_blank">will hold</a> "The Changing Face of Activism," which will explore the historical progression of activism from the 1960s desegregation movement to the present day Black Lives Matter movement. Moderated by Alethia Jones, a leader of 1199 SEIU, the panel will feature activist Barbara Smith; Joo-Hyun Kang of Communities United for Police Reform; and Jose Lopez, Lead Organizer at Make the Road NY and member of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.</p> <p>At 8:15 p.m. Thursday, Dan Abrams of ABC News&nbsp;<a href="http://www.92y.org/Event/Ray-Kelly-in-Conversation" target="_blank">will talk</a> with Ray Kelly, the longest-serving NYPD Commissioner, at the 92nd Street Y. Kelly will hold a book signing for his new memoir Vigilance: My Life Serving America and Protecting Its Empire City, after his talk with Mr. Abrams.</p> <p>Thursday's City Council Participatory Budgeting <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">events</a>:</p> <ul> <li>CM Steve Levin (District 33, Brooklyn) 5 pm</li> <li>CM Jimmy Van Bramer (District 26, Queens) 6 pm</li> <li>CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 6:30 pm</li> <li>CM Karen Koslowitz (District 29, Queens) 7 pm</li> <li>CM Ydanis Rodriguez (District 10, Manhattan) 8 pm</li> </ul> <p><strong>Friday and the weekend<br /></strong>Friday at 8:15 a.m., NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton <a href="https://nyls.wufoo.com/forms/william-bratton-citylaw-breakfast/" target="_blank">will speak</a> at New York Law School, as part of the CityLaw breakfast series.</p> <p>Weekend <a href="http://council.nyc.gov/html/pb/events.shtml" target="_blank">participatory budgeting</a>:</p> <ul> <li>Friday, CM Antonio Reynoso (District 34, Brooklyn/Queens) 1 pm.</li> <li>Saturday, CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn), time TBA.</li> <li>Sunday, CM Carlos Menchaca (District 38, Brooklyn), time TBA.</li> </ul> <p><em>*Note: we'll publish our next 'Week Ahead' on Monday, October 13 given the Columbus Day holiday</em></p> <p>***<br />Have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics? E-mail Gotham Gazette executive editor Ben Max any time:&nbsp;<a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com"></a><a href="mailto:bmax@gothamgazette.com">bmax@gothamgazette.com</a>&nbsp;(please use "For Week Ahead" as email subject).</p> <p>***<br />by Colin O'Connor, Konstantine Beridze, and Ben Max<br /><a href="https://twitter.com/GothamGazette" target="_blank">@GothamGazette</a></p>