New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Transportation

<a href="http://www.mta.info/nyct/index.html&quot; target="_BLANK"><strong>New York City Transit</strong></a>&nbsp;is the life blood of New York City, moving more than&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mta.info/mta/ind-perform/per-nyct.htm&quot; target="_BLANK"><strong>187.9 million</strong></a>&nbsp;passengers per month. However, the Lexington Avenue Subway Line is currently over 150% of capacity. As the City grows we must improve capacity and investigate transportation alternatives. We must find alternative transportation routes for residents of Roosevelt Island by modifying current subway service, trams, ferries, and even building additional subway stations.<br><br>While we are building any improvements, including the long overdue Second Avenue Subway, we must make sure that the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mta.info/&quot; target="_blank"><strong>Metropolitan Transportation Authority</strong></a>&nbsp;(<a href="http://www.mta.info/&quot; target="_blank"><strong>MTA</strong></a>) is&nbsp;<strong>transparent</strong>&nbsp;by making its construction plans available to the people,&nbsp;<strong>open</strong>&nbsp;to review and suggestions from the community, and&nbsp;<strong>accountable</strong>&nbsp;should final decisions be made by the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mta.info/&quot; target="_blank"><strong>MTA</strong></a>&nbsp;without public comment.<br><br>While the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nyc.gov/mayor/&quot; target="_BLANK"><strong>Mayor</strong></a>'s&nbsp;<a href="http://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/congestionpricing/index.htm&quot; target="_BLANK"><strong>Congestion Pricing</strong></a>&nbsp;plan may not have been enacted, it is important not to let a greener New York fall by the wayside. As your City Council member I will work with you to implement initiatives that preserve our environment, improve transportation and make New York City a clean, affordable, and accessible place to live.

West Side Spirit Transportation Alternatives leads effort to reallocate 25 percent of public space for pedestrians by Jason Cohen

Transportation Alternatives leads effort to reallocate 25 percent of public space for pedestrians

As NYC slowly recovers from the pandemic, a coalition of over 80 advocacy groups and nonprofit organizations recently laid out a plan to transform public space in the five boroughs.

Spearheaded by Transportation Alternatives, the coalition released NYC 25x25, which calls on the next mayoral administration to allocate 25 percent of the street space by 2025 into pedestrian space.

If adopted, this policy could hypothetically create:

· 500 lane miles of new protected bus-only lanes, so every New Yorker lives within a quarter mile of a protected bus lane

· 1,000 lane miles of permanent Open Streets

· 780,000 spaces for car-share parking and paid parking spaces (converted from free parking) with the potential to generate, by the most conservative estimate, at least one billion dollars annually

· 19.4 million square feet of bike parking spaces, including racks, secure bike parking, bike share and other micromobility uses, so that Citi Bike access can stretch citywide and nearly every New York City block will host bike parking

· “Universal daylighting” — removing car parking directly adjacent to an intersection in order to increase visibility and decrease the likelihood of a crash — at every one of New York City’s 39,000 intersections

· A one-block-long car-free multi-use space for play, student drop-off and pick-up and outdoor learning outside each of New York City’s 1,700 public schools

· At least one 80-foot-long zone on every block for deliveries, e-cargo bikes, for-hire-vehicle and taxi passenger drop-off, and trash collection, so trash bags are off the sidewalk.

One supporter of this plan is Councilman Ben Kallos. The lawmaker, who is running for borough president, is one of the few elected officials who does not own a car and commutes on his bike.

“I’m about making the city livable and walkable and all about public transportation,” he told Our Town.

Positive Feedback

According to Kallos, only 20 percent of NYC residents own cars, so he questions why the public space is geared towards them. He noted when the Open Streets Program launched last year due to the pandemic, his office was flooded with positive feedback.

Kallos recalled this was one of the first times he has seen parking spots taken away without a fight.

However, he understands that for those who do have a vehicle, parking is limited. Kallos hopes that in the future the council will examine mandating that new construction have parking garages. Prior to the 1980s, they were required with new buildings, but legislation deemed it an accessory.

New York Times Car Lanes to Become Bike Lanes on 2 Major New York City Bridges by Emma G. Fitzsimmons, Winnie Hu

Car Lanes to Become Bike Lanes on 2 Major New York City Bridges

City Councilmen Ben Kallos and Jimmy Van Bramer, whose districts include either end of the Queensboro Bridge, have fought for years for a separate bike lane. They have held several rallies and recently marched across the bridge during the pandemic.

“This news couldn’t have come sooner as more people rely on bikes during the pandemic,” Mr. Kallos said. “The single shared lane on the Queensboro Bridge has gotten more crowded and dangerous.”

Upper East Side Patch Upper East Side Bike Lane Snowplows Blocked By City, Pols Say by Nick Garber

Upper East Side Bike Lane Snowplows Blocked By City, Pols Say

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — Two Upper East Side officeholders said the city has blocked them from buying snow plows to clear the neighborhood's bike lanes, even though residents asked for them and the money is already allocated.

"It's incredibly stupid to put the health and safety of people riding bikes in jeopardy because the city doesn't want to spend $30,000," said City Councilmember Ben Kallos, referring to the cost of the six-foot plow attachment in question.

New Yorkers have long complained that intersections and bike lanes remain slush-covered for days after snowstorms, posing a hazard to cyclists and pedestrians alike.

Our Town Calls for More Bike Parking by Jason Cohen

Calls for More Bike Parking

Council Member Ben Kallos, who is a bike rider and one of the only elected officials without a car, spoke with Our Town about the need for more bike parking.

“Anyone would be amused or horrified to learn what New Yorkers do to fit their bikes in tiny studio apartments,” Kallos said. “I once had to put my bike vertically in a bathtub while visiting a friend for lack of bike parking or space in their apartment. I fully support every recommendation from Transportation Alternatives and will work to make them a reality. We’ve already partnered with residents to place bike racks throughout the district anytime they are requested. I am particularly interested in the climate protected and even pods to protect bikes from theft.”

He noted that even if someone is fortunate to live in a building with bike parking, it can take months or a year to get a spot.

According to Kallos, when he first ran for office there were several complaints about bikes being chained to trees and sides of buildings, both of which are illegal. So, when he got elected he asked his constituents how they wanted the streets to look and many wanted more bike parking.

New York Daily News NYC bill would put yellow taxi and Uber hails in a single app, offering possible help to struggling industry by Clayton Guse

NYC bill would put yellow taxi and Uber hails in a single app, offering possible help to struggling industry

New York City’s ailing taxicab industry may get a boost if a proposed bill gets a green light from the City Council.

The legislation would require the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission to establish a “universal e-hail app” to let riders order from a single app any for-hire vehicle — including taxis and cars that normally drive for Uber or Lyft.

ntroduced by Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), the bill is like one he pitched in 2014, before Uber raked in a majority of the city’s ride hails.

But with e-hail companies like Uber and Lyft getting three times the rides as yellow and green taxis before the pandemic — and more than eight times the rides as of September — Kallos said it’s high time to level the playing field.

AM New York A spooky Gracie Mansion rally calls for safer bike lanes, bridges for people by Todd Maisel

A spooky Gracie Mansion rally calls for safer bike lanes, bridges for people

Dozens of cyclists on Halloween, dressed in their spooky best, haunted the exterior of Gracie Mansion on All Hallow’s Eve to send a message to the mayor to provide more cycling space, especially for crowded East River bridges.

Costumed cyclists from all five boroughs rode to the historic mayoral residence on East 86th Street to call for more pedaling space on New York City’s bridges — specifically the Brooklyn Bridge and Ed Koch-Queensboro Bridge, which they say are dangerously crowded for pedestrians and cyclists.

Organized by Transportation Alternatives’ #Bridges4People campaign, the cyclists gathered with three Councilmembers Ben Kallos (who came dressed as Captain America), Brad Lander (who dressed as The Magician) and Carlos Menchaca (who appeared as himself). All three have been staunch advocates of cyclists in the city and their efforts to make it safer to transverse the city’s bridges.

StreetsBlog A Beautiful Day on the Queensboro Bridge — Will It Lead to More Space for Oppressed Pedestrians? by Streetsblog

A Beautiful Day on the Queensboro Bridge — Will It Lead to More Space for Oppressed Pedestrians?

Don’t care how, they want it now.

Two City Council Members, two state Senators, a Borough President and the head of the city’s foremost bike and pedestrian advocacy group met with Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg on Monday — and got what participants said was a firm quasi-commitment that the city would take back a lane on the Queensboro Bridge from car drivers and finally give it back to pedestrians, who currently share a single crowded lane with cyclists going in both directions.

“Everyone wants this project to happen, including Polly Trottenberg,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who walked the bridge with his Council colleague Ben Kallos, plus state Senators Jessica Ramos and Michael Gianaris, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Transportation Alternatives Executive Director Danny Harris and Trottenberg. “And everyone knows these are disastrous budgetary times, but the money is not the issue. It’s a small amount of money relatively speaking.”

AM New York A ‘ferry’ big deal: Mayor, local officials laud NYC Ferry extension in Queens by Angelica Acevedo

A ‘ferry’ big deal: Mayor, local officials laud NYC Ferry extension in Queens

Mayor Bill de Blasio joined community leaders in Astoria, Queens, on Friday for a ride on NYC Ferry’s new extension from Astoria to the Upper East Side.

Last week, the NYC Ferry service announced it would finally expand the line to connect the neighboring boroughs, after years of advocacy from Astoria community leaders. The line will offer a direct connection from 3-10 Astoria Blvd. to 90th Street on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Before they embarked on what Manhattan Councilman Ben Kallos called a two-minute ride across the river, the mayor held a press conference with Kallos, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Economic Development Corporation Executive Director James Wong at Astoria’s pier.

StreetsBlog STREETSBLOG GETS ACTION: DOT Chief Accepts Council Offer of Queensboro Bridge Fix Cash by Dave Colon

STREETSBLOG GETS ACTION: DOT Chief Accepts Council Offer of Queensboro Bridge Fix Cash

She said yes.

DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said on Thursday that she welcomes a recent City Council offer — revealed last week in Streetsblog — to cover the cost of turning the South Outer Roadway on the Queensboro Bridge into a badly needed pedestrian lane on the jammed up bridge. The project has long been stalled due to a variety of DOT excuses.

...

Council Members Ben Kallos of Manhattan and Jimmy Van Bramer of Queens recently told Streetsblog they were willing to use their discretionary budgets to cover the cost of the eight-foot high security fencing that the DOT said is needed to convert the South Outer Roadway into a pedestrian walkway, freeing up the bridge’s northernmost lane for cyclists, who currently share the space with walkers. DOT had said the fencing is a “multi-million dollar” project, but Streetsblog estimated the cost would be around $450,000, based on a similar project on the George Washington Bridge.

StreetsBlog OUT OF EXCUSES: Council Members Offer DOT Money for QBB Security Fence by Gersh Kuntzman

OUT OF EXCUSES: Council Members Offer DOT Money for QBB Security Fence

All she has to do is ask.

Two members of the City Council — whose districts flank the Queensboro Bridge — have promised to allocate capital money that they control to install a security fence on the south outer roadway, a missing piece of infrastructure that Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg says is preventing her agency from doubling the amount of pedestrian and cycling space on the fabled span.

“I’m all in,” said Queens Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer.

“We could do this now,” added his Manhattan colleague Ben Kallos.