The NYC transportation system has many components — from Access-A-Ride, Citi Bike, and the MTA, to our roads, sidewalks, and bike lanes. Yet, our transportation system also perpetuates inequities through limited access to infrastructure and excessive exposure to pollution in many communities. Without access to adequate transportation infrastructure, many Bronx residents have limited opportunities to get to work and school.
Bronxites want safe streets, affordable transportation options, lower commute times, and clean air — in other words, resilient, equitable, sustainable public transportation. To deliver these, we must adopt policies that:
Increase access to public transit
Innovate micro-transit opportunity
Improve cycling infrastructure, expand Open Streets, and make streets safer
Use incentives to nudge people towards Public Transit
NYC must upgrade its services and infrastructure in order to better serve the disabled, older adults, and young children to guarantee all residents equitable access to city services.
Access-A-Ride serves older or disabled New Yorkers, but is plagued with long waits, delays, and missed rides. Today’s technology could solve the problems, it could include people who have smartphones or regular phones, and it could hold drivers accountable.
Subway accessibility remains a huge problem in District 11: Only 7 out of 17 stations comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Most stations lack elevators and this makes access difficult or impossible. In an equitable and resilient city, this kind of infrastructure is prioritized. Equal access will make us all more resilient.
Low-hanging fruit includes bus lanes, transit signal priority, and pre-boarding payment at stops and stations to speed up service.
Bus speeds have plummeted in the Bronx. We need to bring a pre-boarding fare payment to the Bronx and to expand OMNY to all modes of transportation (i.e. buses, subway, LIRR). We can work with the MTA to reduce Metro-North fares and expand runtimes to save people time and money on their commutes.
Currently, getting to midtown Manhattan from the Bronx can take over an hour on the 1 and the 4, but expanding access to the Metro-North could save residents of our district up to an hour of commuting time into Manhattan. By integrating our existing infrastructure for more regional purposes we can reduce emissions, reduce the strain on our roads, and improve lives.
New and innovative forms of micro-transit are needed in New York City.
Whether it’s figuring out the safest way to include e-bikes or designing the most user-friendly scooter — New York streets are where the newest technologies will be tested. On the other side, the entrepreneurs and innovators in this space rely on the City to invest and partner with them to succeed. And, the best new forms of transportation should all be integrated on one common payment platform.
I imagine a transportation innovation incubator supported jointly by New York City and the technology companies powering transportation, where great ideas meet the streets and support needed to become a reality.
NYC should invest in bicycle infrastructure and encourage cycling through electric bicycles.
Every $1,300 investment in bike lanes provides “resident benefits equivalent to one additional year of life in the city.” This means that cycling infrastructure is one of the most cost-effective investments the city can make in order to raise life expectancy.
On higher-traffic routes, protected bike lanes are still cost-effective and make cycling a much safer form of transportation. Bike lanes would reduce traffic congestion and save lives on the Henry Hudson Bridge. The bike lanes on Broadway have been a success and haven’t impacted business or worsened congestion.
To encourage bike commuting in the city, the City Council should commission a study on electric-bike rebates, which cost far less than electric vehicle subsidies and charging infrastructure. When streets are redesigned for safe cycling, the streets end up safer for pedestrians, too.
More open streets are an opportunity to reclaim the streets from polluting vehicles and return them to the people and community.
As a result of the pandemic, NYC has committed to opening 100 of the city’s 8,000 miles of streets to people and closing them to cars. However, these community benefits have gone primarily to white, upper-middle-class neighborhoods. We must ensure benefits flow equitably to all communities when expanding the program, and provide neighborhood stakeholder engagement.
Citi Bike is a cost-effective, healthy, and sustainable transportation option, but access is too limited.
The Citi Bike system is an example of effective, sustainable personal transit. In the United States, the cost of owning a car is about $9,300 a year, and the cost of public transit is about $1,000. But, the cost of a Citi Bike membership is $169. We need to expand Citi Bike into the northwest Bronx if we are going to provide smart transit methods for the Bronx. Let’s begin by working with Lyft, who is investing $100M in the Citi Bike expansion to expand Citi Bike further into the Bronx.
New York has a congestion-pricing plan that was delayed at the Federal level. Can we take it a step further with no-emissions zones in the areas with the most pollution?
No-emission zones are a place we can use to build up equitable and clean infrastructure, open up our streets, and fight the environmental injustices of pollution and poor planning that breaks up communities. No-emission zones have been a successful addition in Europe and would be a welcome complement to the Bronx. By innovating with Bronx infrastructure we can make our city more resilient to heatwaves, have cleaner air, and use cheaper transportation alternatives.
I will push NYC to adopt planning and building code changes that support transit and walkability.
As a former LEED accredited professional with the US Green Building Council, I’ve studied the building codes to support transit and clean air. Studies have shown that more parking leads to more traffic, that wider highways lead to more congestion, and minimum parking requirements inflate the cost of housing.
Our city’s space is far too valuable to be giving away to cars when it can be better used to move people, provide for outdoor dining and entertainment, and provide for plantings and parklets to help cool the city down.
We need what is called transit-oriented development, which gives us the “15-minute city” where we can find leisure, health, exercise, food, medicine, and education within 15 minutes of travel. This is a long-term goal, but it will serve the residents of District 11 well by reducing transportation times and cost.