Better Transit for New York City

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New Yorkers have some of the nation’s longest commute times — and the farther you go from Manhattan, the longer those commutes become. Workers in Brooklyn and Queens spend, on average, more than an hour and 20 minutes on buses, trains, or behind the wheel every day. In far too many communities, trains are at capacity and buses are stuck in traffic. Commuters face never-ending fare hikes. These problems only deepen New York City’s economic divide and add more strain to working families that are trying to make ends meet.

For New York City to thrive as a 21st century economy, and for working families to make ends meet, our city needs a fast, reliable and affordable transportation system. We need innovative ways to rebuild and expand public transit. We need safer streets that help seniors and families with children connect with their neighborhoods. And we need a more accessible and connected system that links trains, buses, bicycles, commuter rail and pedestrian spaces into a unified whole that serves every New Yorker.

 

The De Blasio Record on Transportation

Bill de Blasio has stood up for outer-borough neighborhoods that don’t receive fair or reliable service from their transit system.

  • Fighting For Outer-Borough Transit. Bill de Blasio rallied small businesses and residents along the G-train to pre- serve five extra stops the MTA was considering to close — and helped keep them open permanently. The G-train is the Brooklyn-Queens crosstown local, and it’s the only subway line that doesn’t serve Manhattan.
  • Saving Transit Service in Communities Hit Hard by Sandy. When the Rockaways faced the loss of mid-day service on its shuttle buses that replaced the Sandy-dam- aged A-train, Bill de Blasio fought for seniors and working families who needed this last connection to the rest of New York City.
  • Improving traffic in Local Communities. As a Brooklyn City Council member, Bill de Blasio fought for safer streets in neighborhoods throughout his district. De Blasio worked with civic groups to ease traffic in residential areas overrun by commuter cars, won more car-free hours in Prospect Park, and helped expand the bicycle network. He also fought for traffic calming at dangerous intersections.

 

The De Blasio Vision For New York City Transportation

Bill de Blasio will deliver a safe, sustainable and affordable transportation system that can drive our economy and contribute to vibrant neighborhoods across all five boroughs. De Blasio will prioritize long-neglected parts of the outer boroughs, alleviate dangerous conditions that make streets unsafe, and work toward a more efficient and flexible network that delivers real choice for New Yorkers.

World-Class Bus Rapid Transit

Bus riders are the most neglected part of our transportation system. Routes like the Bronx’s Bx19 can barely crack five miles per hour. Cross-town buses in Manhattan are literally slower than walking. And service cuts to outer-borough communities since 2010 have meant longer walks to the nearest bus stop and more time waiting for a bus to arrive.

The city and the MTA have innovated new Bus Rapid Transit routes to speed up service, and the results show that painted lanes, easier boarding and pre-paid fares have modestly reduced commute times. It’s time to take the next step. Bill de Blasio will work to phase in the creation of a citywide Bus Rapid Transit network with more than 20 lines, linking communities underserved by transit to the city’s primary transportation and employment hubs. These routes will offer one-seat commutes from Co-op City to the West Side, from Long Island City to LaGuardia Airport, from Flushing to Washington Heights, and from Bay Ridge to Jackson Heights. De Blasio will allocate funding from the city’s capital budget to accelerate implementation—at a fraction of the cost of major subway projects. 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.

Invest in Transportation in the Outer Boroughs

It isn’t enough to keep the system we have — we need to expand it. We’ve seen a decade pass when every single major expansion of the transit system was made in Manhattan. Projects like a restored 21st Century Penn Station are critical and will need the city’s support—but Bill de Blasio will also pursue investments in the outer boroughs, where more New Yorkers live and increasingly work. He will work with the MTA to prioritize and greenlight outer-borough improvements that make use of existing infrastructure and right of ways, like North Shore rail or BRT in Staten Island and expanded Metro-North service to Co-op City and parts of the Bronx.

Limit MSG Permit to 10 Years and Expand Penn Station

Penn Station is a key transportation hub for central Manhattan and for the broader New York region, serving over 640,000 riders every day. The station is the gateway through which many commuters enter New York City, and its continued vitality will be an important driver of economic growth and development in the city. However, the station is straining under growing ridership—it currently is more than 100 percent over capacity, as any rider using the station will immediately note. We need to transform Penn Station into a transit hub that will meet the city’s future transportation needs, instead of struggling to keep up with current usage. However, while Madison Square Garden sits on top of Penn Station, no expansion is possible for the perpetually overwhelmed station.


Because of this, the City Planning Commission erred this year in granting MSG a 15-year special permit, and it erred in approving the permit with a loophole that may lock away the city’s ability to realize the full promise of surrounding area. We must follow the recommendation made forcefully by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, and limit the permit to 10 years while requiring public hearings and review before any further extension of the permit. By limiting the permit and finding a new home for the arena, we can set the groundwork for a true transformation at Penn Station and for the rest of New York, with a new transportation hub that can accommodate the growth we want to see in our city.

Revive the Rockaways

Vulnerable coastal areas like the Rockaways were devastated by Superstorm Sandy. Services like the A-train were disabled for months, adding hours to commutes that were already among the city’s longest. New Yorkers in the Rockaways need better, more resilient transit. When the waters receded after Sandy, buses were up and running in a matter of days. As mayor, Bill de Blasio will work with communities from Roxbury to Far Rockaway to develop a new Bus Rapid Transit corridor linking them to hubs like Jamaica. The new service will carry more passengers than existing bus lines, provide a one-seat commute to thousands of riders, and ensure high-quality transit for the peninsula immediately after weather emergencies.

Build the Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel and Invest in Rail Infrastructure

It’s not all about moving people. Right now, more than 90 percent of the freight to and through our region is shipped by trucks that pollute our air and clog our streets. We need to increase the share of freight that moves by rail, and Bill de Blasio will fight in Washington for a fully funded Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel to take thousands of trucks off local streets, create good local jobs, and make the entire region more economically competitive. The Environmental Impact Study will be released later this year, and de Blasio will work to ensure this project becomes a significant piece of the Port Authority’s long-term strategic plan. We also need to establish intermodal rail yards in New York and in the region east of the Hudson.

To help spur this agenda, Bill de Blasio won’t just rely on Washington and Albany. Expanding on his work to invest public pension funds locally, he will work with trustees of the city’s $140 billion-worth public pension funds to identify strategic local transportation infrastructure investments that will foster growth, add good local jobs, and stimulate economic development.

Keep Fares Affordable

While City Hall doesn’t control the MTA, it has a duty to help protect the affordability of our transit system on behalf of the millions of New Yorkers who use it every day. As mayor, Bill de Blasio will fight to protect the critical financial support of the transit system, including the payroll tax. He will partner with New York City’s congressional delegation for a national transportation agenda that fully funds public transit maintenance and expansion, instead of fueling sprawl with unnecessary and wasteful new highways far from urban centers.

Zero Traffic Fatalities, and Home Rule on Traffic Cameras

One crash is too many. Every year on New York City streets, hundreds of pedestrians, cyclists, drivers and passengers lose their lives. Bill de Blasio believes in “Vision Zero,” an approach that combines education, smarter streets, and strong enforcement to reduce dangerous and illegal behavior on our streets — including speeding, distracted driving, and failure to yield to pedestrians. The goal: reduce serious injuries and fatalities on our streets to zero. This holistic approach has been implemented around the world and ensures we address every factor that makes streets dangerous, from behavior to road design. To put us on this path, de Blasio will stop waiting on Albany and fight for home rule, so New York City — on its own — can install red light cameras and speed- enforcement cameras around hundreds of schools and senior centers. De Blasio will establish more 20 mph zones in residential neighborhoods, so kids and seniors can walk their streets safely. He will be an active partner for communities trying to tame dangerous thoroughfares, including Bruckner Boulevard in the Bronx and Queens Boulevard.

Establish Gateless Tolling

Even with EZ Pass, toll booths still mean congestion and delay for thousands of drivers every day. The MTA has successfully experimented with gateless tolls on the Henry Hudson Bridge, proving that new technology can allow us to remove toll booths and let motorists make toll crossings without reducing speed, thereby saving time and reducing congestion. Bill de Blasio will work with the MTA to introduce gateless tolling on existing toll bridges that are notoriously traffic- choked, like the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Better Bicycling

Bicycling has become a mainstream way for many New Yorkers to commute to work and travel around the city. It’s inexpensive, it promotes public health, and it’s a key part of helping the city respond to climate change. Right now, the city’s goal is to increase bicycling to 3 percent of all trips by 2020. Bill de Blasio will double that goal—using education, promotion and safer streets to grow bicycling to 6 percent by 2020. De Blasio will continue expanding bike lanes around the city so that bicyclists have a safe, dedicated space to ride—and drivers and pedestrians will have more predictable streets. He will expand the public Bike Share program to outer-borough neighborhoods and increase education outreach to promote safe riding. With these tools, de Blasio will set a goal of cutting serious cycling injuries and fatalities in half — even as the number of cyclist continues to grow. De Blasio believes strongly that communities deserve a voice in decisions that affect them—and this includes bike lanes. As mayor, de Blasio will expand communication before street changes are installed by notifying residents and small businesses through the distribution of fliers and door-to-door outreach. He will work to address their feedback before projects are installed. By better communicating on the front end, de Blasio will reduce friction and bolster public support for expanding cycling in the city.

“Accidents” vs. “Crashes”

Part of making our streets safer is acknowledging the role our language plays in the way we deal with crashes and other incidents. Calling a crash an “accident” relieves all parties of responsibility, and in doing so undermines the city’s resolve to investigate crashes and blame responsible parties, where appropriate. In a de Blasio administration, all city agencies will refer to crashes as “crashes,” both operationally and in reports like the NYPD’s Accident Data Reports.

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