On February 15th, state Senator Liz Krueger, Manhattan Borough President Gayle Brewer, Council members Keith Powers and Ben Kallos, wrote a letter to the DOB citing its actions on the Upper West Side project. “Regardless of whether the void in the building proposed at 249 East 62nd Street is enclosed or open air as described to the press, we believe you must also refer this building to the FDNY.”
On Thursday, Kallos said the letter was intended to "call attention to the disparate treatment by the DOB between East Side and West Side." He said he was glad that the matter had been referred to the FDNY, noting that the measure "will ultimately keep residents safe."
Kallos’s district includes the Upper East Side, Midtown East, Roosevelt Island and East Harlem. For his first three years on the council, he was the chair of the council’s Government Operations Committee, where he tackled more than the campaign finance issue. He also focused on using technology to aid access to government and took aim at patronage. He helped get rid of outside income for council members, and to end the practice wherein the council speaker had the discretion to give “lulus,” or specific financial disbursements.
What has he not done? He hasn’t stopped the city’s plan for a marine transfer station in the area. “Doesn’t mean I have given up yet,” he says.
One big surprise when he got to the council: the corruption. He remembers being told that he needed to “go along to get along” and hearing advice against making any waves. “These are all the things that you might read about in a book,” he says.
The buses are also a priority for New York City Transit President Andy Byford. His transit overhaul plan released last year called for redesigning the city's bus route network and rolling out 2,800 new buses within five years. His agency also wants to speed up boarding by using all doors.
But officials should move faster to make changes that can help commuters, said City Councilman Ben Kallos, whose Upper East Side district got a failing grade.
"What do we say to all the commuters who had a rough commute this morning, who didn't get to work on time, who lost money or may have lost their jobs because of the bus that never showed up, the bus that showed up bunched or the bus that got caught in traffic because there was no bus lane?" Kallos, a Democrat, said.
The MTA says its redesign of Staten Island's express bus network has made average bus speeds 12 percent faster, and a redesign is now underway for The Bronx. But Max Young, the agency's chief external affairs officer, acknowledged that there is still "an enormous amount of work to do on this issue" despite recent progress.
East Side Council Member Ben Kallos says his answer is “cheesy.”
The 38-year-old rising star in Manhattan politics has been asked about his greatest accomplishment. He points first to the little girl that he and his wife welcomed last year.
“My daughter is the end-all and be-all of my life. And to the extent that’s an accomplishment, it starts and ends there—just to have the privilege of being a father. But I think that’s just a personal milestone,” he says, speaking at his desk in his East 93rd Street office. Snow falls on the other side of the window. He’s wearing a blue suit, white shirt and no tie, talking easily and without the requisite staff members that so often sit in on a politician’s interview.
“I take paternity leave pretty seriously and family leave pretty seriously,” he adds, “and I admit I’ve been a little bit of a bully with any men that I know who aren’t taking leave because I think both partners regardless of gender should be taking an equal and active role in the child-rearing process.”
The New York City Council’s Democratic conference held on Thursday what officials said was its first ever public vote to appoint three new commissioners to the New York City Board of Elections.
UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — The debate around congestion pricing in New York City is often focused on bustling areas such as Midtown Manhattan and the Financial District, but neighborhoods such as the Upper East Side stand to benefit from the policy as well, safe streets advocates said during a Thursday morning rally in the neighborhood.
"I would love to see New York City and New York State catch up to other jurisdictions to keep children and parents safe, but I would also like us to become a leader," Kallos told the Post.
School buses are currently equipped with stop arm devices that display a stop sign when the bus is stopped for pickups and dropoffs. Drivers are supposed to yield so that kids can get to the curb safely, but nearly 50,000 drivers ignore the signals each year in New York State, the Post reported.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- After two separate incidents in which vehicles in Brooklyn drove on a sidewalk near a school within the last week -- almost mowing down school children and pedestrians -- a New York City councilman is calling for a new law that would add cameras to the stop sign of a school bus.
A New York City Council member is calling for cameras on the sides of school buses that can record drivers so impatient they drive dangerously, following two such incidents recently in Brooklyn.
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — One New York City lawmaker wants to make it easier to fine drivers who don’t hit the brakes around stopped school buses.
NEW YORK - A Manhattan councilman is pushing a bill that would add cameras to all school buses in the city.
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Police are looking for at least two drivers in Brooklyn who were caught on camera driving on a sidewalk to get around school traffic... coming dangerously close to kids.
City Councilman Ben Kallos is proposing drastic measures to deal with impatient drivers, according to reports published in the NY Post.
The de Blasio administration is sour on legislation that would require chain restaurants to list products with added sugar because it could be difficult to enforce, a city official said Monday.
A pair of bills introduced today in the City Council of New York would help consumers—including kids—eat and drink more healthfully at restaurants.
Cameras are just about everywhere and now a Manhattan legislator wants to add them on school buses
Motorists are supposed to hit the brakes when confronted by a stopped school bus.
But an estimated 50,000 a year statewide ignore the safety regulation.
MANHATTAN, NY — New York City is dedicating an addition $75 million to complete and repair sections of the East River Esplanade in Harlem, the Upper East Side and Midtown, parks officials announced Thursday.
The City’s zoning laws are now instantly accessible to New Yorkers. On February 6, 2019, Department of City Planning Director Marisa Lago announced the release of the City’s digital Zoning Resolution online platform. The online platform will serve as a green replacement for the 1,570-page physical copy of the Resolution, which will no longer be printed to save money, increase government transparency, and fight climate change. It will also be a more interactive replacement for the static PDFs currently on the City Planning website. The platform will make the City’s Zoning Resolution more accessible for New Yorkers.