New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Press Releases

Ribbon Cut on New $600,000 Science Lab at P.S. 183 Funded by Council Member Kallos Following Participatory Budgeting Win

Friday, October 25, 2019

Ribbon Cut on New $600,000 Science Lab at P.S. 183 Funded by
Council Member Kallos Following Participatory Budgeting Win


Upper East Side, NY – Today, students, teachers, school administrators and members of the school's PTA joined Council Member Ben Kallos to cut the ribbon on a new $600,000 hydroponics lab. P.S. 183 won the discretionary funds from Council Member Ben Kallos to build the lab during Participatory Budgeting in 2017 with 1,514 votes.
Construction began in July of 2018 and was completed in under a year. Construction in the lab featured electrical upgrades, moving a heating unit, and all new sinks, countertops, cabinetry, furniture, as well as lab equipment.
“We must invest in STEM education to prepare students for jobs of the future and today we cut the ribbon on a $600,000 science lab,” said Council Member Ben Kallos who has allocated funding through Participatory Budgeting in 2017. “Voting creates real change. The 11-year-olds and parents who voted can see for themselves, as they learn first hand the power of democracy, not to mention all the science they’ll get done.”

$3.3 Million Playground Reconstruction for Dilapidated Carl Schurz Park Playground Funded by Borough President Brewer and Council Member Kallos

Thursday, October 3, 2019


Upper East Side, NY – An Upper East Side playground in need of repair will be starting full reconstruction. Today, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Council Member Ben Kallos, who together provided $3,270,000 in funding, joined NYC Parks to break ground on Carl Schurz Park Playground.
At the request of parents, construction was postponed until the end of the summer. Construction completion is anticipated for September 2020, with Catbird Playground at the north end of the playground expected to remain open throughout.
 The new playground upgrades will include:

  • A reconstructed spray shower,
  • New play equipment for children ages 2 to 5 and 5 to 12,
  • Swings for children of all ages,
  • New accessible ramps that connect to Catbird Playground,
  • New game tables, benches, plantings and pavers.

The $3.3 million project was funded by a $2.5 million allocation from New York City Council Member Ben Kallos, $775,000 from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and an additional 89,000 for Mayor Bill de Blasio. In the fall and winter of 2015, Council Member Ben Kallos and NYC Parks hosted two meetings to receive community input and ideas on how to reconstruct the playground.
“We are happy to break ground on this reconstruction project,” said NYC Parks Manhattan Borough Commissioner Castro. “The updated layout with new play equipment, benches, and swings will provide a brighter, safer, and more welcoming playground for the community. Thanks to Council Member Ben Kallos and Borough President Gale Brewer for this remarkable investment in Carl Schurz Park.”

Council Member Kallos on Pedestrianizing the QBB South Outer Roadway

Friday, September 27, 2019

FRIDAY, September 27, Council Member Ben Kallos joined Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Bike New York, Transportation Alternatives, cycling advocates, and community members to call on the NYC Department of Transportation to create separate, exclusive lanes for pedestrians and cyclists on the Queensboro Bridge. Council Member Kallos supports the proposal to convert the south outer roadway into an accessible walkway and the north outer roadway into a dedicated bike lane.

New York City Is Poised to Become the Largest School District in the Country to Require Stop-Arm Cameras on All School Buses

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

New York City Is Poised to Become the Largest School District in the Country to Require Stop-Arm Cameras on All School Buses 
Bill by Council Member Ben Kallos Is an Effort to Prevent Irresponsible Drivers Who Illegally Pass Stopped School Buses Endangering Children

New York, NY - Looking to better protect children, a bill being introduced by Council Member Ben Kallos on Wednesday seeks to make New York City the largest school district in the nation to require that stop-arm cameras be installed on school buses to better catch motorists who endanger students by illegally passing school buses during drop off and pick up.
Int. 1724 of 2019 authored by Council Member Ben Kallos comes after a series of high profile instances of drivers around the City caught on video going around stopped school buses. It would require the cameras on all of the city's nearly 10,000 school buses.
According to the NYS Association of School Pupil Transportation, in a study cited by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee as part of Operation Safe Stop, last year an estimated 50,000 drivers throughout New York State illegally passed a stopped school bus every day. Additionally, a study by the National Safety Council showed that 70 percent of deaths related to school buses occur outside of the bus, and it's been found that more school-age pedestrians have been killed during the hour before and after school than any other time of day.
In a recent one-month (26 school day) pilot by the East Meadow School District in nearby Nassau County (conducted by BusPatrol and the Logan Bus Company), 10 school buses captured 615 violations for an average of about 2.3 violations per bus per day (615 violations on 10 buses over 26 school days). Using that violation rate in modeling the New York City school bus fleet, which has roughly 10,000 buses, we can expect to see an estimated 23,000 violations per day or 4.2 million violations per school year in the city.
“Every child must be safe as they get on and off the school bus. It could be anyone’s child at risk from drivers speeding by and worse yet drivers who have actually driven up on sidewalks," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "We are all in a rush to get where we are going, but there is no excuse to put our children at risk. Stop-arm cameras will catch dangerous drivers and automatically issue tickets to keep our children safe." 
“It’s time to hold reckless drivers accountable by ticketing those who illegally pass a school bus when the stop-arm is active. As the co-prime sponsor of the legislation, I’m proud to join Council Member Kallos in introducing this important bill that will open the door for better enforcement of irresponsible driving to protect the safety of school children while they’re traveling to and from school. Parents have enough to worry about without having to be concerned for the safety of their children getting on and off the school bus,” said Council Member Mark Treyger, Chair of the Committee on Education
While it’s already illegal in New York to pass a stopped school bus, it previously was required that a police officer had to witness the violation to issue a ticket. But the state earlier this year enacted a law that allows localities and school districts to install cameras on school bus arms that capture the license plates of cars that pass stopped buses.
The photos are sent to law enforcement, who determine whether a violation occurred. Tickets are then sent to the vehicle owner. Though the vehicle owners are fined, there are no moving violations or points issued. In other states that allow such technology, repeat offenders are virtually non-existent.
Kallos' bill would require the Department of Education and the Office of Pupil Transport to install stop-arm cameras on all nearly 10,000 school buses.
Under the legislation, the NYPD’s Parking Violation Bureau would enforce fines for first-time offenders ranging from $250 to $275 and $300 for second and third offenders. The bill also requires that some of the funds recouped from the fines be given to the New York City Department of Education. 
Once passed the legislation will take effect immediately, requiring the City to issue a Request for Proposal for vendors who could install the cameras most efficiently and cost-effectively.  


New Park Opened for Sutton Place by Conservancy, Community and Elected Officials at Ribbon Cutting

Thursday, September 12, 2019

New Park Opened for Sutton Place by Conservancy, Community and Elected Officials at Ribbon Cutting
Public-Private Partnership Yields Millions in Investments and New 10,000 Square Foot Park

Midtown East, NY – Magic was in the air as residents of all ages came out to celebrate a new park for Sutton Place built a top a deck over the F.D.R. Drive. What was once a private garden connecting two small parks at 57th and 56th Streets will now add some 10,000 square feet of park space to a Council District known for having the least park space per capita in the city. The new park was the result of a collaboration between the Parks Department and 1 Sutton Place South who subdivided their private garden in order to provide more park space for the community.  Elected officials joined Sutton Place Parks Conservancy and Sutton Area Community for a ribbon cutting and celebration that included music, games, and magic.

“Retirement Security for All” to Offer Savings to New York City Private-Sector Workers Moves Forward with Rally and Hearing

Monday, September 23, 2019

New York, NY – More than one million private-sector workers in New York City that do not have any access to retirement plans through their employers could finally get one as “Retirement Security for All” legislation sponsored by Council Members I. Daneek Miller and Ben Kallos received a public hearing in the City Council. Employers with more than 4 employees that do not currently offer a retirement plan would be required to automatically enroll employees through payroll deduction. There would be no cost to employers with small employers and gig workers able to voluntarily join the program.
States and municipalities throughout the nation are seeking to take provide a state-sponsored retirement savings program, with at least 43 states acting to implement a new program, undertaking a study, or proposing legislation according to Georgetown University Center for Retirement Initiatives. So far, 10 states and 1 city that have enacted government-sponsored retirement programs for private-sector workers. OregonSaves Network launched its first-in-the-nation auto-IRA for private-sector workers in 2017 and has already signed up 3,200 employers, established 50,000 accounts for new savers, with a participation rate of 70% and $30 million saved in just two years, with monthly contributions of nearly $4 million a month and increasing. As it was pointed out in a recent op-ed titled "Make Retirement Savings Plans Accessible to All New Yorkers" by Council Members Ben Kallos, I. Daneek Miller and Ben Finkel the New York state director of AARPdata shows people are a full 15 times more likely to save for retirement if an employer offers a plan. A survey conducted by AARP also found that over half of all Boomers, and two-thirds of Gen X say they will likely leave the City because they can no longer afford to live here. Their significant spending power will be lost if they flee. 

Construction Workers and Allies Target New Line Structures Over Unpaid Wages and Hiring Practices

Tuesday, September 17, 2019



New York, NY --New York City’s construction workers, including immigrant workers, members of the construction trades,  and non-unionized workers, gathered at the headquarters of general contractor, New Line Structures, in Manhattan to speak out about the contractor’s ties to construction worker deaths, worker exploitation, wage theft, and hiring practices of subcontractors who put construction workers’ lives in danger.


Lead by organizers from the Laborers’ International Union of North American (LIUNA), construction workers demanded that New Line end their practice of hiring irresponsible contractors. They shared a laundry-list of violations, ranging from wage theft, illegal dumping of hazardous construction waste, and dangerous jobsite accidents proving the company does not prioritize worker safety, wages, or New York City residents.


New Line hires subcontractors with histories of worker deaths on their current projects. Currently cranes owned by Cranes Express are permitted to operate at 85 Jay Street, Brooklyn, a project managed by New Line Structures. On April 13, 2019, at a different construction site, a 7.5 ton counterweight fell on Greg Echevarria, a 34-year-old father, and crushed him to death as he was setting up equipment owned by Cranes Express. Highbury Concrete is another questionable subcontractor that operated under New Line in 2016 and 2018. Mahamoudon Marega, a 30-year-old employee of Highbury Concrete, died two days before Christmas 2016 when he fell three stories down an elevator shaft. OSHA issued a violation against Highbury for failing to provide adequate fall protection. An earlier OSHA investigation of another jobsite in 2014 found that Highbury did not meet fall protection standards and fined the firm $4,900. These incidents and others demonstrate a clear pattern of disregard for workers’ lives and safety.

City of New York Releases Plan for Next Decade of Open Data

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

NEW YORK -- The de Blasio administration today released its annual Open Data plan, update on Open Data for All, and its strategic plan for the next decade of NYC Open Data. This 10-year vision builds on a legacy of New York City leading the way on public data access. Nearly 600 datasets were published on NYC Open Data during Fiscal Year 2019, including:

Community to Get Advance Notice in Fight Against Overdevelopment Under Proposal from Council Member Kallos

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Community to Get Advance Notice in Fight Against Overdevelopment
Under Proposal from Council Member Kallos

Transfers of Development Rights Would Trigger Public Notice

New York, NY – Communities seeking to fight back against living in the shadow of supertall buildings for billionaires seeking better views could get a new weapon in the form of a public notice provided when real estate developers transfer development rights, under legislation authored by Council Member Ben Kallos. Introduction 1701 of 2019 would require that anytime a transfer of a development site is recorded with the city a copy be provided within 5 days to the relevant Community Board, Council Member, and Borough President along with the Speaker of the City Council.
While New York City is no stranger to tall buildings, ever since the birth of Billionaire’s Row with 432 Park Avenue, developers have been using the transfer of development rights to stack all the development rights on to very small lots seeking to build narrow supertall buildings (in excess of 984 feet). Now development of out of context skyscrapers and supertalls are being proposed for residential neighborhoods at 58 Sutton, 180 East 88th Street, 249 East 62nd Street, 200 Amsterdam Avenue, and 50 West 66th Street, all of which have faced fierce community challenge. Residents involved in the transfers often do not know they are helping bring a supertall to their community and community challenges are often a race to the clock making public notice essential.
"One by one we see storefronts shutter, lights out in apartments at night, at first just buildings, then whole city blocks go abandoned, a blight in even the nicest of neighborhoods. We're solving the mystery of who is buying what so that neighbors know what is going on and the community can respond in time to do something about it," said Council Member Ben Kallos who has actually thwarted a developer's assemblage of development rights at 58 Sutton. "Residents in my district really didn't know they were helping a developer amass development rights for a supertall and once they found out with lots of work we were able to stop the developer in his tracks and cut the height down." 

Testimony to Get Big Money Out of Albany

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

New York State Commission to Create Public Financing of Elections
New York City Hearing
September 10, 2019 

Spoken Testimony

Thank you to the distinguished Commission, fellow elected officials, and to the hundreds of people here today. I am Council Member Ben Kallos.

Over one million people, some 80% of the voters in New York City, demanded that we get big money out of New York City politics, and we’ve created a constitutional court tested voluntary program that now offers candidates a full public match for every small dollars they raise with 8 public tax payer dollars up to the spending limit. 

In a citywide and city council special election it has flipped how campaigns have been financed from nearly three-quarters big money to almost two-thirds small dollars with 73% of the campaign spending coming from public dollars. I’ve always refused real estate money that many blame for our city’s affordable housing crisis and this law has allowed us to elect our first citywide candidate without real estate money. 

This Commission should adopt the current New York City system in its entirety. I will submit testimony on 18 key components and proposed improvements for your consideration and implementation, many of which I have personally authored and already passed into law. In my remarks I will highlight only a few of the most important.

Empower small dollars over big money. Provide a full public match on every small dollar up to a spending limit. As an improvement to the New York City system, do not match any portion of big money contributions over what would be matched. Elected officials and candidates should not spend the majority of their time courting a select group of millionaires and billionaires who give big money but in the community talking to residents and small dollar donors.

Get big money out. Contribution limits need to come down from the sky high of $69,500 for governor to be inline with what can be given to the President of the United States of America $2,800, which should be $2,000 statewide, $1,500 for Senate, and $1,000 for Assembly. It’s time for a state ban on corporate money, Federal government has had a ban for more than a century, New York City’s had a ban for a generation, and 22 other states already have a ban.

Open the ballot to more candidates. If someone qualifies for public funds they should automatically get on the ballot instead of continuing the cynical game of ballot bumping based on an arcane petition requirement. Fusion voting must remain for races with more than one candidate so voters can identify candidates aligned with their values whether Working Families, Women’s Equality, Conservative, or even the Rent is Too Damn High.

Costs can be controlled and elections kept competitive by capping spending in each race and forcing candidates to return all unused funds following an election in order to eliminate warchests, kill zombie committees and keep the program costs well under $100 million.

The time is now, when the national and statewide attention is captured by the Presidential election, with this program available for candidates in the 2020 June Primary and November General elections.



Since its inception in 1988, New York City has had the model campaign finance system in the country, while New York State has lagged significantly behind. The New York City system has survived court challenges, been strengthened by legislative changes, and helped candidates, like me, compete and get elected. It is a system that this commission should replicate in its entirety and where possible improve upon. I offer to this commission proposals large and small that will create a fairer campaign finance system for New York State by shifting the balance of power away from the wealthy and well-connected, back toward the people.


Executive Summary

Empower Small Dollars Over Big Money in New York State Politics

1. Match Every Dollar with a Full Public Match – match every small dollar up to the first $175 for legislative and $250 for statewide candidates up to the spending limit.NYC Model 

2. Match Small Dollars with 8 to 1 Multiplier – match each of the first $175 for legislative and $250 for statewide candidates with 8 tax payer dollars from the public.NYC Model 

3. Lower Contribution Limits – lower contribution limits below Federal limits for President to $2,000 for statewide offices, $1,500 for Senators, and $1,000 for Assembly Members total per election cycle.NYC Model 


Get Big Money Out

4. Ban Corporate Contributions – extend cetnury’s old Federal ban and New York City decade’s old ban on corporate contributions.NYC Model 

5. Limit Contributions from Lobbyists or People Doing Business with the State and Do Not Match Their Money or the Money They Bundle – eliminate the appearance of or actual pay to play in Albany by lowering contribution limits from lobbyists as well as those who do business with government and do not match their contributions or the contributions they bundle.NYC Model 

6. Do Not Match Big Dollar Contributions candidates should be forced to actually solicit small dollars from residents to get public matching funds, big money over $250 or $175 should not be matched with public dollars.New 


Attract More Candidates and Voters Now 

7. Empower Residents to Run for Office – automatically allow candidates who qualify for public matching to be on the ballot as an alternative to archaic petition requirements.New 

8. Limit Candidate Spending – institute spending caps on Assembly and Senate primary and general elections to keep them competitive.NYC Model 

9. Limit Public Match in Non-Competitive Races – candidates who are not facing serious challenges should not receive public funds.NYC Model 

10. Provide a Voter Guide Online and Available by Mail Complete with Donor Disclosures – provide every voter with a guide for what is on the ballot including whether candidates are participating in public finance, with a pie chart showing where they get their money, broken down by industry.New 

11. Eliminate War Chests and Kill All the Zombie Committees – prohibit war chests by requiring candidates to have only one authorized committee at a time with any remaining funds paid to the state after each election. This will help defray costs and keep the program under $100 million.New 

12. Require Minimum Raise from New York State Residents to Qualify for Matching – candidates must raise 20% of the funds necessary for a full public funds payment from New York State residents.NYC Model 

13. Require Support from Residents in the District to Qualify for Matching – establish a threshold of $5-minimum contributions from residents in district to qualify for matching funds of 75 such contributions for candidates for Assembly, 150 for Senate, and 1,000 for statewide office.NYC Model 


Ethics Reform

14. Prohibit Campaign Spending that Benefits Candidates – candidates, family, and friends must not personally benefit from the campaign funds, which can be prevented by prohibiting non-campaign expenditures such as paying for relatives, cars, meals, tuition, international travel, or home improvement.NYC Model 

15. Prohibit Coordination with Independent Expenditures – strict liability for sharing consultants between a candidate and an independent expenditure in their favor.New

16. Maintain Fusion Voting – provided there is more than one candidate, those candidates should be free to run on multiple party lines.NYC Model 



17. Limiting Costs to Under $100 Million - elections for open seats draw the most candidates in the most competitive elections whereas without term limits incumbents and their challengers rarely receive a full public matching grant minimizing the overall cost.

18. Act Now – implement new program in time for the 2020 election when many New Yorkers will participate for the first time because of the Presidential elections. Initial rollout in 2020 would also provide an opportunity to test the new program in a year when no statewide races are planned, allowing it to scale up to a full rollout in 2022. The New York City Campaign Finance Board could initially administer races taking place completely within New York City.


Note on format:

NYC Model Indicates proposals currently implemented in the New York City Campaign Finance system.

New Indicates necessary improvements for both the New York City and State Campaign Finance systems.

Following U.S. Open New Yorkers Have A Place to Play Indoor Tennis for $10 All Winter Thanks to Parks, Maloney, Brewer, Quart & Kallos

Monday, September 9, 2019

Following U.S. Open New Yorkers Have A Place to Play Indoor Tennis for $10 All Winter Thanks to Parks, Maloney, Brewer, Quart & Kallos

30 Children to Receive Full Scholarships for 30 Weeks of Free Tennis Instruction


Midtown East, NY – On the heels of the U.S. Open hosted by New York City those inspired to one day compete or just play more tennis will have an indoor bubble with clay tennis courts that they can drop-in to during the off-season for just $10 mornings, afternoons, and evenings, with advocacy and support from Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, Council Member Ben Kallos, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Assembly Member Dan Quart.

During the 30-week Winter Season that will run from September 16, 2019 through April 12, 2020:


  • $10 per person drop-ins for 6 hours every day, one-third of the time it is open,

weekday mornings (6am-8am), afternoons (1pm-3pm), and late evening (10pm-12am) as well as weekend mornings (6am-8am) and evenings (8pm-12am).

  • Senior Citizens Tennis Clinics for $10 a person during certain weekday morning and afternoon hours and Cardio Tennis on weekdays from 7 am to 8 am. 6 players max per clinic.
  • Thirty (30) Full Scholarships, ranging from $1,970 to $3,595 in value for Pee Wee and Junior Development for children ages 3 and up to get up to 34 hours of training over the course of 30 weeks on a rolling basis.

 In addition, during the Winter Season, there will be the following community partnerships:

  • City Parks Foundation (“CPF”) for up to 16 court hours per week with $5 per-person rate for its Play Today Program participants for advanced juniors.
  • Yorkville Youth Athletic Association (“YYAA”) for 2 hours per week on four courts each with a professional tennis instructor.
  • Hunter College Men’s and Women’s Tennis will get 75 hours of free team practice.

 During the 22-week Summer Season that runs from April 13, 2020, to September 13, 2020, there will be:

  • Free tennis for NYC Parks tennis permit holders. Parks’ permits are available for $10 for children, $20 for seniors 62 and old, and $100 for all others, plus drop-in fee of $15 to reserve a court.
  • Free Senior Citizen Clinics & Cardio + Pee Wee & Junior Development on two courts for one hour every day of the week.

Upper East Side Dad Secures New Basketball Courts in Four-Year Civics Lesson for Sons with a Little Help from Council Member Ben Kallos

Thursday, September 5, 2019

UES Dad Secures New Basketball Courts in Four-Year Civics Lesson for Sons with a Little Help from Council Member Ben Kallos

Four-Year Quest for Basketball Court Improvement Ends in Win for Parent and Children

Basketball Court Renovation Ribbon Cutting


Upper East Side, NY – An Upper East Side dad, Greg Davis, whose two sons play basketball in John Jay Park, wouldn’t take no for an answer as he persisted for four-years alongside Council Member Ben Kallos for the city Parks Department to improve dilapidated courts. The courts were nothing more than cracked asphalt, rusted metal backboards, and badly angled net-less hoops. Greg succeeded in getting improvements done by the Parks Department, with newly painted playing lines, a smooth playing surface, and three new polycarbonate backboards with shooting square and nets. 

Over the course of four years Greg Davis had nearly perfect attendance at more than 40 First Friday meetings in-person with Council Member Ben Kallos from 8am to 10am each month. Each month Greg shared his work with the Council Member’s staff, 311 requests, and direct advocacy with Community Board 8, and with the Park Department.

Advocacy initially began in 2015; the improvements started in 2016 with getting lines painted so the courts could have a clearly delineated free throw lines. In 2017, advocacy focused on painting a three-point arc, sidelines and the baselines. The next year focused on getting the entire court of play painted, removing the weeds and smoothing over the crack on the courts surface. Later in 2018 Parks Department promised new backboards and this year they were installed with $7,500 in discretionary funding from Council Member Ben Kallos.

Ribbon Cut on New 180 Seat Pre-Kindergarten Center for Four-Year-Olds on the Upper East Side

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Ribbon Cut on New 180 Seat Pre-Kindergarten Center for Four-Year-Olds on the Upper East Side

Upper East Side, NY – The day before public schools start in New York City, a ribbon was cut on a new 180-seat pre-kindergarten center to serve four-year-olds on the Upper East Side by School Construction Authority President Lorraine Grillo, Director of Early Childhood Education Aneesha Jacko, Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, and Council Member Ben Kallos.

Speaker Corey Johnson Unveils Plan To Combat Food Inequity In New York City

Thursday, August 1, 2019

The report, Growing Food Equity in New York City, highlights the City’s hunger problem and offers solutions so all New Yorkers have access to healthy, affordable food

Brooklyn, NY– Today, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson shared his plan to address food inequity in New York City. The Speaker’s report outlines the City’s current hunger problems, including a lack of access to healthy and affordable food for New Yorkers in low-income communities and communities of color. The report also discusses how to improve urban agriculture and reduce food waste. Solutions include empowering the City’s Office of Food Policy, improving school food programs and expanding effective initiatives such as Health Bucks.

“New York City is one of the richest cities in the world. Yet more than one million of our residents are considered food insecure. That’s unacceptable. Food is a human right, which means as a city we need to establish food policies to help ensure that none of our residents are going hungry or relying on unhealthy foods to survive because they don’t have the means or access to nutritious meals. These proposals are my vision for food justice for New York City. I want to create a better New York where equitable food policies are front and center in everything we do,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.

Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities Spreads Awareness of Impacts of Climate Change on People with Disabilities

Saturday, August 17, 2019

New York—The New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, NYC Emergency Management, disability advocates, elected officials, and allies today walked and rolled alongside Canada To Key West supporters from the High Line to the Oculus at the World Trade Center in order to highlight the effects of climate change on people with disabilities.

As a result of climate change, extreme weather events including hurricanes, severe rainstorms, and heat waves are becoming more frequent and more severe. It is critical that emergency preparedness efforts account for the needs of everyone, including the estimated one billion people around the world who live with self-disclosed disabilities. The de Blasio Administration has taken steps in expanding this preparedness by enhancing our Advance Warning System messaging, making accessibility enhancements on our Hurricane Zone Map and continually expanding Ready New York for Disability Access & Functional Needs populations.

Upper East Side Residents and Elected Officials Welcome Win Supportive Housing Facility for Women and Children to the Neighborhood

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Upper East Side Residents and Elected Officials Welcome Win Supportive Housing Facility for Women and Children to the Neighborhood

New York, NY – Today residents and community leaders on the Upper East Side, including Congress Member Carolyn Maloney and Council Member Ben Kallos, joined Win, New York’s largest provider of shelter and supportive housing to homeless women and their children, to cut the ribbon on and welcome a supportive housing facility that will house sixteen families at 316 East 91st  Street. The ceremony was attended by Win President and CEO Christine Quinn, State Senator Liz Krueger, State Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright and Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Steven Banks. Community Board 8, faith and non-profit leaders, as well as principals, parents, and children who attend schools across the street from the new site were also in attendance.


Friday, August 16, 2019

Break in protected bike lane near Queensboro Bridge had been a source of concern among
cyclists; Second Avenue protected lane now runs uninterrupted more than four miles from 125th

Street in East Harlem to 43rd Street in Midtown


The NYC Department of Transportation announced that a gap in the 2nd Avenue protected bike lane near the Queensboro Bridge on the Upper East Side has now been closed. DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner Ed Pincar joined Council Member Ben Kallos, Council Member Keith Powers, community leaders, and advocates for a ribbon cutting celebrating the implementation of bike lanes along Second Avenue from East 68th Street to East 59th Street – closing an important gap in the bike network leading to the Queensboro BridgeThe Second Avenue lane now runs uninterrupted from 125th Street to 43rdStreet. 

“Second Avenue is not just an important thoroughfare for cyclists, it is a corridor shared by all road users,” said Manhattan Borough Commissioner Ed Pincar. “As part of the Mayor’s Green Wave plan, we are committed to even more protected bike lanes, and closing this gap makes the road safer for everyone. Cyclists, of course, get safer passage along a heavily used corridor -- giving them an uninterrupted protected route from East Harlem to the Queensboro Bridge -- and beyond. A huge thank you goes out to our partner Council Member Kallos for his advocacy for this project.” 

“Pedestrian and cyclist safety is first and foremost in my office. The Second Avenue bike gap was dangerous; a tragedy waiting to happen,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “I am proud of the work my office has done over the years alongside the Department of Transportation to successfully close the bike gap and make that section of Second Avenue safe. Now Upper East Side cyclists who want to bike downtown can do so without risking their fearing a collision. Thank you to the Department of Transportation for this creative and effective fix. I am positive closing the bike gap has saved lives.” 

Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation Allowing New York City to Install Stop-Arm Cameras on School Buses

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

"Today Governor Cuomo signed legislation giving municipalities like New York City the right to install stop-arm cameras on school buses in an effort to increase safety for children getting on and off buses throughout the state.”

“Thanks to legislation I have authored and will be introducing in the coming days, New York City is ready to take this on so we can better protect our children.”

“My legislation would force the Department of Education and the Office of Pupil Transport to install stop-arm cameras on city school buses with the capability of issuing electronic fines to drivers who illegally pass school buses while the stop arm is down.” 
“We have all seen it happen on our roads, irresponsible drivers going around school buses that have the stop arm in the down position because children are either entering or exiting the bus. This behavior is reckless and should not be tolerated. Now is the perfect time to do whatever we can to teach drivers that this behavior will have punitive consequences.”

For more information on the legislation read my recent amNEW YORK op-ed titled “Don't wait for tragedy to approve school bus safety cameras”.