Wednesday Winners (& Losers)

A weekly roundup of good deeds, missteps, heroic feats and epic failures in the tri-state region and beyond. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo | Photo: governor.ny.gov

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo | Photo: governor.ny.gov

WINNERS

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker — “I cannot support high volume hydraulic fracturing in the great state of New York,” said Zucker, prompting the Governor to announce a ban on the controversial energy extraction process, which would have had a major impact on transportation across the state.

Opponents of the Sterling Forest casino proposal — The state casino siting board announced its choice developers today, none of which will be located in Orange County – great news for those advocating against the Sterling Forest proposal.

Connecticut commuters — Governor Dannel Malloy toured the CTfastrak busway yesterday and stated that he felt confident that “the route will ease traffic jams on I-84, generate economic development and make commuters’ lives better.”

New York City Planning Commissioner Carl Weisbrod — Weisbrod recently promised that future city development would be approached through the lens of coordinated rational growth, with a focus on transit-oriented development.

U.S. Representatives Richard Neal, Rosa DeLauro and John Larson, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, and Connecticut transportation commissioner James Redeker — The elected officials from both Massachusetts and Connecticut rode the rails to highlight recent upgrades to the regional transit line.

North Shore Bus Rapid Transit advocates — Councilwoman Debi Rose, The New York League of Conservation Voters and the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce have joined forces to raise awareness and grow support for expanding transit options to the rapidly-developing North Shore.

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Wednesday Winners (& Losers)

A weekly roundup of good deeds, missteps, heroic feats and epic failures in the tri-state region and beyond.

New Jersey State Senator Loretta Weinberg | Photo: johnjay.jjay.cuny.edu

New Jersey State Senator Loretta Weinberg | Photo: johnjay.jjay.cuny.edu

WINNERS

New Jersey State Senator Loretta Weinberg — The Senator solidified her role as champion for New Jersey bus riders by calling for equal investment in and improved conditions at the Port Authority Bus Terminal at today’s Port Authority budget hearing. She is also holding a second commuter feedback meeting this Thursday.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka — The mayor has joined other leaders in calling for the continuation of the state’s red light camera program.

New York State Senator Jeff Klein — The Senator wants to see part of the state’s windfall bank settlement money used to create a new program called Empire Public Works, dedicated to upgrading the state’s infrastructure, rather than seeing the funds go to a one-shot project.

Camden, NJ — The city recently approved six new major development projects, including Subaru’s new corporate headquarters, “leading to the creation, retention or relocation of some 2,000 jobs.”

Village of Mamaroneck, NY  After completing a zoning study and public engagement process partially funded by Tri-State’s Transit-Centered Development Grant Program, the Village has approved a transit-oriented development rezoning that promotes green building codes, green infrastructure, and green roofs in the TOD district.

PATH riders — Weekend service connecting Exchange Place and the World Trade Center is finally set to resume next week.

Mark Fenton — The public health, planning and transportation expert and Tufts University adjunct professor engaged New Haven residents in a walking tour and planning workshop for the Route 34 development corridor.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo — The mayor is banning cars in central Paris neighborhoods.

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Wednesday Winners (& Losers)

A weekly roundup of good deeds, missteps, heroic feats and epic failures in the tri-state region and beyond.

New Haven, CT city transit chief Doug Hausladen (left) and City Engineer Giovanni Zinn (right) | Photos: Facebook, New Haven Independent

New Haven, CT city transit chief Doug Hausladen (left) and City Engineer Giovanni Zinn (right) | Photos: Facebook, New Haven Independent

WINNERS

Connecticut residents and businesses — This morning, Governor Malloy joined elected officials and transportation advocates to kick off a series of speakers discussing transportation’s role in jobs access.

New Haven, CT transit chief Doug Hausladen and City Engineer Giovanni Zinn — The two local leaders are pushing a “Complete Streets 2.0” program of low-dollar, quick turnaround projects to implement more safety improvements faster.

New York State Assemblyman Michael Miller — The assemblyman is working with the NYC DOT and Mayor de Blasio to bring Vision Zero improvements to Woodhaven.

New York State Department of Transportation — In a recent report, the agency has cited “incorporation of bicycle facilities, consistent with the Complete Streets legislation” as “integral” to Syracuse’s I-81 replacement project.

Cities with red light camera programs — At the 100 intersections with red light cameras in Suffolk County, traffic crashes declined by an average of 5.4 percent, accidents involving injuries dropped 10.6 percent, and side-impact accidents fell 30 percent compared to the previous year.

New Jersey State Assemblymembers Ralph Caputo and Grace Spencer — As the state’s red light camera pilot program comes to a close, the Essex assemblymembers are fighting for local control so that municipalities can reinstate the program at their will.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone — The county executive spearheaded the successful application for a $1.5 million grant for planning, design and construction of a BRT system along Nicolls Road.

Suffolk County Legislature — A bill was approved to improve traffic and pedestrian safety in Huntington Station in advance of new development projects.

Hamilton Township, NJ — The township’s leaders are working to improve traffic safety along the deadly stretch of Black Horse Pike in the wake of three recent casualties.

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We’d Be More Thankful If…

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Photo: people.com

Before we succumb to the increasingly aggressive Christmas creep, we’d like to take a moment to honor another important holiday coming up. No, not National Cookie Day (but that’s coming up on December 4 — mark your calendar). We’re talking, of course, about Thanksgiving.

We’ve got a lot to be thankful for here at MTR, like New York City’s lower default speed limit, the passage of a vulnerable users bill in Connecticut, and New Jersey legislators pushing forward Port Authority transparency. And while some may be thankful for declining Thanksgiving gas prices, it’s worth noting that the number of travelers is skyrocketing.

Yes, there are plenty of reasons to be thankful, but we’d be a lot more thankful if:

Traffic deaths weren’t a requirement for getting safety improvements on our streets — “Let’s wait until someone is struck and killed before we make traffic safety improvements,” said no one ever. But unfortunately, that’s often what it takes to get local governments to fix unsafe street conditions.

New York and New Jersey’s elected officials had to commute via bus or train — We feel pretty confident that if the Port Authority Bus Terminal or Penn Station were part of the daily commute for our states’ leaders, the Gateway Project would be moving forward with real funding, the city’s bus terminals would receive more than a one percent funding priority in the Port Authority capital programand NJ Transit service would be more reliable.

Connecticut cities started acting like cities — Hartford is planning to add over 1,400 new parking spots in the Downtown North district, New Haven’s Route 34 West project looks like something you’d see in a suburban office park, and Stamford’s new Street Smart program doesn’t address the downtown area’s wide arterials that shun pedestrians and bicyclists.

New Jersey drivers were any good at math – We can’t help but add to the pile of disparaging things that have been said about New Jersey drivers. Increasing the state’s gas tax—the second lowest in the nation—by 25 cents per gallon would cost the average driver an additional $292 each year. Last we checked, that’s less than half of what the average NJ driver pays in extra repair costs due to poor roads.

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Wednesday Winners (& Losers)

A weekly roundup of good deeds, missteps, heroic feats and epic failures in the tri-state region and beyond.

Congresswoman Grace Meng | Photo: Facebook

Congresswoman Grace Meng | Photo: Facebook

WINNERS

New Jersey Assembly – There was not a single vote cast against either of the two Port Authority transparency bills that were passed during last Thursday’s Assembly hearing.

Congresswoman Grace Meng The Congresswoman is supporting the Liao family in their efforts to obtain justice against the driver who killed three year-old Allison Liao.

Central Park users  The City has announced a speed limit reduction to 20 mph for the park, among other safety improvements. Banning cars, unfortunately, is not one of them.

Traffic safety advocates The NYC DOT introduced its new comprehensive, interactive Vision Zero View tool the same day that the NYC Department of Health announced that it has begun making traffic-related bicycle and pedestrian injury data available on its website. Here’s hoping other departments pick up the pace with tracking crashes!

Queens Boulevard users  The speed limit for one of NYC’s most notorious speedways will be dropped to 25mph.

New Haven businesses Some companies in the New Haven area are providing shuttles for employees and staggering work schedules in an effort to alleviate congestion and ease commutes.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal – The Connecticut Senator has renewed his call for a full restoration of the federal commuter tax benefit.

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Wednesday Winners (& Losers)

A weekly roundup of good deeds, missteps, heroic feats and epic failures in the tri-state region and beyond.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer | Photo: schumer.senate.gov

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer | Photo: schumer.senate.gov

WINNERS

New York City Health Department — The department’s Center for Health Equity released its first report, which recommends ways to increase “active transportation” for students in areas with high obesity rates, such as adding bike racks and creating and expanding bike lane networks.

New York City Councilwoman Margaret Chin — The councilwoman is calling for enforcement of traffic safety laws to protect pedestrians and cyclists, and has also announced legislation calling on the Department of Transportation to perform a study of the safety impacts of major truck routes through the city.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer — In his continued effort to “restore parity between commuters and drivers,” the Senator is again pushing to expand the commuter tax benefit to those who use mass transit.

Connecticut commuters — Metro-North’s new train schedule went into effect this week, which means more trains more often for those traveling between New Haven and Grand Central.

Port Authority Bus Terminal commuters — There have been some dramatic improvements to bus service operations at the facility, resulting in a 23 percent increase in the number of buses during rush hour and a 50 percent decrease in customer complaints. Still have issues you’d like to discuss with officials? Make sure to attend tomorrow evening’s PABT Commuter Chat session.

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Wednesday Winners (& Losers)

NYC Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer announcing the installation of Queens slow zones. | Photo: Twitter @JimmyVanBramer

NYC Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer announcing the installation of Queens slow zones. | Photo: Twitter

A weekly roundup of good deeds, missteps, heroic feats and epic failures in the tri-state region and beyond.

WINNERS

New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer – Sunnyside Gardens, Woodside and Sunnyside will be included in two new slow zones coming to Queens.

Linden, NJ – Linden’s City Council passed a unanimous resolution in support of “the renewal of the red light camera program in the interest of public safety” – a powerful statement in the face of increasingly vocal opposition.

Connecticut – ConnDOT adopted a departmental Complete Streets policy which “enables the alignment of transportation funds to encourage improvements for non-motorized users,” such as the road diet planned for East Hartford and the addition of bike racks to 50 train cars.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals – New Haven, CT’s Gateway Community College has received a $250,000 subsidy from the company to halve bus fares for college students over the next five years.

Retirees – Americans are outliving their ability to drive safely, and nonprofits are stepping in to connect housing choice and transportation options for the aging.

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Reforming the Port Authority, Part I: Transparency

The next six to twelve months will tell us whether the Port Authority is taking transparency seriously. Many encouraging promises have been made, now they need to be kept. The Port has some work to do to increase fiscal transparency.

John Kaehny, Reinvent Albany

If there’s one good thing that came out of Bridgegate, it was the fact that the public spotlight illuminated the inner workings of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), and revealed the need for a little more “sunshine” to enable the public to keep watch.

Mobilizing the Region asked John Kaehny, Executive Director of Reinvent Albany, what was on his “transparency wish list” for the agency, and we got quite a hefty to-do list in response. One of Kaehny’s biggest wishes is for an improvement to the accessibility of public documents, including Freedom of Information Law requests. He strongly asserted that all documents must be made available online in a downloadable, machine-readable format — including proposed budgets, committee briefing packets, contracts and property transactions. Making these documents easily available would not only increase transparency, but would potentially reduce the number of incoming FOIL requests by making frequently FOIL’ed information easily available to interested parties.

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Wednesday Winners (& Losers)

Albany Councilwoman Leah Golby | Photo: albanyny.gov

Albany Councilwoman Leah Golby | Photo: albanyny.gov

A weekly roundup of good deeds, missteps, heroic feats and epic failures in the tri-state region and beyond.

WINNERS

Councilwoman Leah Golby and the Albany Common Council  – Councilwoman Leah Golby was successful in securing Common Council approval of a red light camera ordinance which stipulates that “All funds in excess of the budgeted revenue… shall be transferred to a Traffic Safety Fund.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio – The mayor signed off on a transit tax benefit bill this week, which will save employers and employees beaucoup bucks each year while also encouraging greater use of public transit.

Hoboken, NJ Mayor Dawn Zimmer – In a move to ease the issues associated with free parking, the City is moving to add more parking meters, the revenue from which would contribute to transportation infrastructure funding.

The Harbor Ring – The advocacy organization’s rally for a bike/ped path across the Verrazano Bridge saw an impressive turn-out of elected officials, local organizations, advocates and residents.

Berlin, CT - After a long wait, the completion of the Depot Crossing transit oriented development project was celebrated this week.

Hudson/Bergen Light Rail Commission – The coalition of 12 mayors from Hudson and eastern Bergen counties came together to support an extension of the HBLR to Englewood.

Montclair, NJ bicyclists – The city has unveiled its first bike depot with 24 protected spaces for bikes at the Bay Street train station.

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Wednesday Winners (& Losers)

Bridgeport, CT Mayor Bill Finch | Photo: bridgeportct.gov

Bridgeport, CT Mayor Bill Finch | Photo: bridgeportct.gov

A weekly roundup of good deeds, missteps, heroic feats and epic failures in the tri-state region and beyond.

WINNERS

Bridgeport, CT Mayor Bill Finch – The mayor unveiled a comprehensive safe streets campaign in the city which include short and long-term infrastructure improvements and increased enforcement.

NYPD 78th Precinct – The Park Slope precinct replaced a parking spot in front of the building’s entrance with a bike corral.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams – After seven years with Tri-State, our Associate Director Ryan Lynch will now serve as Policy Director to Borough President Adams.

New York City Department of City Planning – After three years with Tri-State, our Staff Analyst Kathi Ko will now serve as a planner for the Queens Department of Planning.

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