New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos


<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>New York City Transit</strong></a>&nbsp;is the life blood of New York City, moving more than&nbsp;<a href="; 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="; target="_blank"><strong>Metropolitan Transportation Authority</strong></a>&nbsp;(<a href="; 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="; target="_blank"><strong>MTA</strong></a>&nbsp;without public comment.<br><br>While the&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>Mayor</strong></a>'s&nbsp;<a href="; 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.

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.

AM New York Op-Ed | New Yorkers can’t wait for pedestrian paths on Queensboro Bridge to open any longer by Ben Kallos, Jimmy Van Bramer

Op-Ed | New Yorkers can’t wait for pedestrian paths on Queensboro Bridge to open any longer

Thousands of New Yorkers bike, walk, and run over the Queensboro Bridge each day. The bridge has nine lanes for car traffic, yet only a narrow path along the northern edge of the bridge is open to cyclists and pedestrians, causing conflicts, congestion, and in the age of COVID, dangerous crowding. As the Queens and Manhattan council members whose districts border the bridge, and whose constituents depend on this critical inter-borough connection, we are calling on the city to open the South Outer Roadway to pedestrians.  

New York Times Make the Queensboro Bridge Car-Free by Ben Kallos, Danny Harris, Ken Podziba

Make the Queensboro Bridge Car-Free

To the Editor:

Re “A Proposed Link for Manhattan and Queens, for Bikes and Pedestrians Only” (news article, June 25):

As much as we appreciate big-picture thinking about bike infrastructure, we favor more immediate action to make the Queens-Manhattan bike trip safer and less crowded.

The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge’s south roadway should be made into a walkway, with the north roadway converted to a two-way, bicycle-only path. This approach is supported by Manhattan and Queens elected officials and community boards and could be executed with minimal cost and put into effect immediately.

In the best circumstances, a new bridge could take more than a decade to build. It would face input from parties ranging from the U.S. Coast Guard and state environmental regulators to Roosevelt Island residents rightly concerned about being passed over by yet another structure.

StreetsBlog Roosevelt Island — Home of ‘Four Freedoms’ Park — May Get Four Citi Bike Stations by Gersh Kuntzman

Roosevelt Island — Home of ‘Four Freedoms’ Park — May Get Four Citi Bike Stations

Roosevelt Island — named for the president who elucidated “four freedoms” for all Americans — is poised to finally allow Citi Bike to add four stations, adding a new way for its 14,000 residents to get around, get some exercise or get off the island on the 36th Avenue bridge.

At a meeting on Thursday night, the island’s board of directors — Roosevelt Island is, officially, a fiefdom of the state, where many city rules don’t apply and even the city Department of Transportation doesn’t have hegemony over the roads — is expected to approve a preliminary agreement allowing Citi Bike’s parent company Lyft to start negotiating the terms of the island’s surrender to reality.

As first reported by the blog Roosevelt Islander, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation board will likely nitpick locations for the four docks — one will obviously serve the tramway terminus and the island’s lone subway stop — but it seems the board is, well, on board.

City and State NY City Council may require truck underride guards by RAINIER HARRIS

NY City Council may require truck underride guards

The bill has been referred to the Committee on Transportation which Rodriguez chairs. Councilmember Kallos told City & State in a phone interview that he expects the bill to move quickly through the council because it has the support of the chair of the relevant committee and Speaker Corey Johnson is likely to support the bill, given that Johnson wrote in 2014 which became law in 2015. 

Kallos said he works especially hard on the issue of side guards because the mayor has recently opened a marine transfer station in his district, on the East Side of Manhattan, where “garbage trucks operated by the city are entering a ramp that bisects a children’s playground.”

In terms of how the side guards would be paid for, Kallos said it would be on a “case-by-case basis.” Kallos has not responded to follow-up emails asking for clarification as to what that means. 

A similar bill, the Stop Underrides Act of 2019, was introduced in Congress in July 2019. That bill, sponsored by Rep. Steve Cohen from Tennessee and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, called for the mandatory installation of side underride guards and strengthening rear underride guards to prevent other motor vehicles from sliding underneath. 

In a letter opposing the bill, the American Trucking Association said that equipping 12 million trailers with side underride guards, costing approximately $2,900 each, would prove disastrous for the trucking industry and “result in what is likely the largest unfunded mandate on a private sector industry in US history.” The letter added that the “expected cost of labor in installing these guards would exceed the industry’s annual net revenue, essentially putting trucking out of business, and grinding our economy to a screeching halt.”