Wednesday Winners (and Losers)

Suffolk County Legislator Rob Calarco

Your weekly guide to heroic and villainous actions in tri-state transportation and development.

Winners

Suffolk County Legislator Rob Calarco–County Legislator Calarco’s effort to pass the first countywide Complete Streets policy on Long Island appears to be paying off.  Yesterday, the Suffolk County Legislature’s Public Works and Transportation Committee approved a Complete Streets resolution 3-1, sending the bill to the full legislature for a vote next Tuesday.

Elm City Cycling—New Haven’s key sustainable streets organization handed out bike lights, bike shop coupons and postcards explaining Connecticut’s law requiring cyclists to ride with bike lights at night.

Pohatcong Township, New Jersey—In a ballot referendum on election day, 56% of Pohatcong voters overwhelmingly approved red light cameras at dangerous intersections throughout the tiny township of 3,500 residents.  Mayor Kern noted the “cameras work” showing small towns can help lead the way in advancing this life-saving technology.  At intersections with the camera technology in Pohatcong, crashes were reduced by 78%.

NYS State Senator Gustavo Rivera and NYC Council Member Jumaane Williams–MTA fare hike hearings are too often used as an opportunity for elected officials to grandstand, opposing fare hikes they helped create by underfunding transit.  Yesterday, two electeds broke that trend and stood up for transit. Senator Rivera and Council Member Williams  led advocacy groups and riders in calling upon the State Legislature to find more funding to avoid the proposed increase, the fourth in five years.

Losers

MTA riders in Queens, Brooklyn–While the MTA deserves immense credit for getting the region moving so quickly after Superstorm Sandy, the decision to move forward with fare hearings in Queens and Brooklyn is insensitive to riders in hard hit communities still reeling from the storm’s impacts.  Postponing the hearings, as was done in Staten Island and Nassau County, would have been the more prudent approach.  Ongoing recovery efforts might explain why turnout at hearings has been low.

Governor Chris Christie–Governor Christie’s response in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy has been laudable.  However, as the state moves forward in its recovery efforts, Gov. Christie continues to take one potential source of recovery funds off the table:  raising New Jersey’s low gas tax.  The governor is right to call for federal funding to help with rebuilding efforts, but a gas tax that hasn’t been raised in 20 years must be an option, especially since that the inability to invest in the state’s infrastructure in the lead up to the storm could be one of the reasons that New Jersey’s transportation system has lagged behind others in the region in getting back up and running.

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