Gotham Gazette

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Adams 2021: In-depth - Moving Forward Together

Moving Forward Together

New York City only really works when its transportation system works, and for too many New Yorkers it has not worked for a long time — or ever. New York City buses are notoriously slow and were losing ridership even before COVID-19 hit, impacted in large part by chronic and persistent congestion. Our subway system has suffered from decades of underinvestment and neglect, and is facing a true safety crisis. The vision of Vision Zero has yet to be realized, with a rising number of pedestrians and cyclists struck by traffic violence. There is an even more serious disconnect for our neighbors with disabilities and older residents, who face daily injustice and hours of lost time a day in trying to get around. Simply put, if we want to move our city forward and achieve a real recovery from this pandemic, we need to expand mobility while prioritizing equity and safety investments that we cannot afford to defer.

Solving our challenges in transportation addresses a multitude of issues. It makes us a more prosperous city, supporting not only job growth and tourism but also hard-working New Yorkers in transit deserts who need a helping hand. It improves our environmental health and sustainability through a multi-modal system that embraces green modes of transit. It also takes on the terrible racist legacy of Robert Moses-era city planning and highway construction that is a physical and metaphysical roadblock in our fight to close the historical inequality gap that has swallowed communities of color whole.

New Yorkers deserve a 24/7 transportation system that is forward-thinking, data-driven, and a vehicle for our mission to make this a more equitable, efficient city for everyone. Those will be the guiding principles of the Adams Administration’s agenda.

Build Out A State-Of-The-Art Bus Transit System
Projects like the 14th Street Busway and expanded Select Bus Service (SBS) into full Bus  Rapid Transit (BRT) will help revolutionize how New York City residents move around New  York City and support economic development around transit hubs. We should make SBS  

service the baseline for bus service, and take advantage of opportunities for true BRT.  BRT is cost effective, high quality, and will do the most in the shortest amount of time to  build out our transit network without depending solely on New York State. We must  create a BRT system that doesn't simply connect communities to Manhattan but to  communities within boroughs and interboroughs. I will identify core corridors like Linden  Boulevard and 3rd Avenue in Brooklyn, as well as stretches in every borough, to bring a  real interconnected BRT system to New York City, starting on roadways with service  roads in transit deserts.  

We will also stripe more bus lanes and create more busways — as mayor, we will build  150 miles of new bus lanes and busways in four years — and expedite the rollout of  Transit Signal Priority technology. 

Speed Up Our Conversion To  All-Electric Buses
To both protect the environment and make an investment that will save the City money  on fuel and maintenance savings, we will significantly speed up our conversion to an  entirely electric bus fleet. This can be achieved by raising money through the City’s  capital program to pay for the higher up-front cost of the vehicles against the long-term  benefits. The deployment of electric buses will be prioritized for communities facing the  most serious environmental health risk.

Expand Our Safe Cycling Network
I’m proud to be part of this city’s diverse cycling community, and as mayor I will work to  protect all our communities with the same passion and purpose I’ve had for more than  three decades of my public life, including from the dangers of traffic violence. We are a  

city of pedestrians, cyclists, skaters, drivers, and mass transit riders. The use of our  streets must reflect all of those uses safely while encouraging forms of movement that  reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. As mayor, I will build 300 new miles  of protected bike lanes in four years. Based on reporting from 2016 of City officials’  estimates, which considered an average cost of $600,000 per mile of protected bike  lane, we project an approximate cost for this of $45 million annually for this effort. My  administration will seek federal DOT reimbursement in large part for that investment, as  well as allocate funding from their major green infrastructure bond initiative.  

Our new protected bike lanes will include “bicycle superhighways,” using unused road  space under elevated highways and railways; protected bike and pedestrian  infrastructure as safe routes to parks, for neighborhoods far from large open spaces,  and additional protected infrastructure for small but critical gaps in our existing bike  network, including the Harbor Ring and expanded cycling access over bridges like the  Verrazzano-Narrows. And, to support safe cycling year-round, we will ensure that bike  lanes will be prioritized for street cleaning and snow removal during the winter months,  establish minimum allotments for parklets and bike corrals in each community district,  and expand secure bike parking. 

Create Shared Electric Bike And  Scooter Networks For Transit-Starved Communities
Millions of New Yorkers — mostly people of color in lower-income and middle-income  communities -- are not within walking distance of the subway and do not have access to  decent public transit options. CitiBike says it will close some of those gaps — but it is  right now largely in higher-income areas. To connect underserved communities to mass  transit and allow them to get around their communities and connect to transit more  easily, we will create a citywide network of shared electric bikes and scooters that  prioritizes those New Yorkers disconnected from transit. We will also expand Citi Bike  well beyond more affluent communities by committing City funding.

Support Open Streets And NYC 25x25
NYC 25x25 is a challenge to reallocate 25 percent of the city's streetscape by 2025 from  car-centric uses to people-focused uses, not just protected bike lanes but also wider  sidewalks, dedicated bus lanes, plazas, Open Streets, and green spaces. We will  pedestrianize more of the city where there are multiple transit options and, where we  can, discourage car use to attract visitors with more open space and open markets,  while improving public safety and making the city more livable for its residents.  Regarding Open Streets in particular, we will allocate more funding to make the plan  sustainable by supporting local groups that maintain these spaces, and deploy the  program more equitably to neighborhoods across the city, including in communities of  color and lower-income areas that are in need of safe open space. 

Reform The Parking Placard System And Shrink The City Fleet
To advance the City’s fight against placard abuse, we will publish an online database of  all precinct integrity control officers (ICOs) and City agency inspectors general (IGs),  expand ICO/IG responsibilities and enforcement powers to address placard abuse and  improper vehicle usage in their precinct, and deploy a dedicated roving City vehicle  staffed for rapid response to 311 placard abuse complaints. Additionally, we will reduce  the number of both placards and City fleet vehicles as determined by an independent  analysis of agency needs, including the implementation of a municipal car share system  to consolidate the vehicles of agencies in downtown clusters. 

Advance Accessibility In Mass Transit
We will fight to fast-track ADA improvements at inaccessible subway stations, including  new elevators, tactile guideways and signs, and better wayfinding. Our advocacy will also  focus on reopening closed subway entrances and exits as well as fixing long-standing  equity issues like the outdated, unreliable Access-A-Ride system, for which we will  pursue the expansion of on-demand e-hail service that has proven popular for riders  with disabilities.

Recapture Land Lost To Robert  Moses-Era Highway Projects
New York City can’t grow more land so we must recapture lost land. That means  jumpstarting projects like the BQ Green and PX Forward, as well mapping and analyzing  opportunities across the five boroughs to recapture lost land to reconnect our  communities. As aging infrastructure like the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) triple  cantilever approaches the end of its lifespan, we will take a regional examination of our  transit needs and prioritize planning that promotes a healthier, more sustainable future  — rather than just rebuilding or expanding existing highways.

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