New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio mentioned the Vision Zero initiative early in last week’s address marking 100 days since taking office, citing a 26 percent decrease in traffic fatalities during the first quarter of 2014. He also pointed out that his administration has filled nearly 289,000 potholes this year – more than double the potholes filled last year – saying of the new record, “that’s something to be proud of.”
While he has made strides in implementing the Vision Zero program so far, much remains to be done, including identifying how he will fund the implementation of the program. Beyond Vision Zero, here are a few more transportation issues that Tri-State hopes to see tackled in the next 100 days:
Will he make good on his plan for “world class bus rapid transit?” Faster and more efficient bus service is an issue that has been gaining momentum, and better buses were a highlight of candidate de Blasio’s policy book in 2013. In it, he called for allocating funds from the city’s capital budget to “create a citywide Bus Rapid Transit network with more than 20 bus lines… at a fraction of the cost of major subway projects.” Six Select Bus Service routes have been implemented in four boroughs, but to achieve the mayor’s goal, his administration will have to devote considerable resources to the task. In addition, the mayor has yet to outline how he will go beyond SBS, or BRT-lite, and implement full BRT in New York City.
Who will he nominate for the MTA Board of Directors? Transportation advocates were pleased with the selection of US Department of Transportation Undersecretary for Policy Polly Trottenberg as New York City’s Transportation Commissioner, but will the mayor’s four nominees for the MTA Board of Directors be as progressive as Ms. Trottenberg? With MTA service suffering from underfunding and overcrowding, here’s hoping the nominees will be creative thinkers as New York State debates how it will fund the upcoming MTA Capital Program (due the end of this year), as well as a voice for riders, who face a planned fare hike next year.
If he won’t support Citi Bike financially, how will he support the program? While the installation of new bike lanes across the city demonstrate a commitment to his campaign promise to support bicycling, Mayor de Blasio has rightfully called for Alta Bike Share, and its Citi Bike subsidiary NYC Bike Share, to fix its house first before any discussion of funding from New York City. Advocates and experts have made suggestions for fixes to the funding issue, and some congressional leaders have taken steps toward securing support for the program, but Citi Bike’s success demands a strong show of support from the mayor’s office.
How can we get the city’s parking problem onto Mayor de Blasio’s radar? The appointments of Michael Schein as chair of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Vicki Been as Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner, and Carl Weisbrod as chair of the City Planning Commission have raised hopes that the city’s regressive parking policies may finally be addressed. But as years of effort by advocates has shown, it will take a great deal of inter-agency collaboration to tackle a problem of this magnitude. Tri-State has long been advocating for residential parking permits, and others have been making their own recommendations like eliminating the minimum parking requirement, but it will be up to the mayor to advance forward-thinking reforms.