New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Upper East Side Patch

Upper East Side Patch Use More Cameras To Keep NYC Buses Moving, Pols Say by Noah Manskar

Use More Cameras To Keep NYC Buses Moving, Pols Say

UPPER EAST SIDE — Cameras have deterred drivers from running red lights and speeding past schools — and they could help keep New York City's bus lanes clear too, lawmakers and advocates say.

State law limits the number of routes where cameras can be used to ticket drivers who block bus lanes. Legislators and transit advocates say they want to change that through the state budget so cameras can be used across the city.

Upper East Side Patch UES Tower On 'Stilts' Halted By City Department Of Buildings by Brendan Krisel

UES Tower On 'Stilts' Halted By City Department Of Buildings

City Councilman Ben Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side, took it upon himself to act as a crusader for the zoning resolution's amendment by visiting 10 of Manhattan's 12 community boards to discuss the proposal. Of those 10 community boards visited by Kallos, eight voted on resolutions to support the city's amendment and two voted to oppose the amendment but said they would switch their position if improvements were made.

Upper East Side Patch NYC Bus Routes Graded: Just 1 Of 248 Gets An 'A' by Noah Manskar

NYC Bus Routes Graded: Just 1 Of 248 Gets An 'A'

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.

Upper East Side Patch Advocates Rally For Congestion Pricing On Upper East Side by Brendal Krisel

Advocates Rally For Congestion Pricing On Upper East Side

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.

Upper East Side Patch UES Council Rep Proposes Equipping School Buses With Cameras by Brendal Krisel

UES Council Rep Proposes Equipping School Buses With Cameras

"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.

Upper East Side Patch City Invests $75M More In East River Esplanade Fixes by Brendan Krisel

City Invests $75M More In East River Esplanade Fixes

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.

Upper East Side Patch UES High Schoolers Petition City For New Gym, Get 3K Signatures by Brendal Krisel

UES High Schoolers Petition City For New Gym, Get 3K Signatures

City Councilman Ben Kallos — who says he's been in talks with the city Department of Education and School Construction Authority to get more physical education spaces in district since he's been elected — helped students facilitate their petition and included it in his monthly newsletter for constituents.

"It's amazing that Eleanor Roosevelt High School has championed athletics given that they don't actually have a gym. Hopefully this can help their sports program grow to the next level," Kallos told Patch.

Kallos noted that while of the Upper East Side's private schools are building or already have field houses for athletics, public schools are left without adequate space.

Upper East Side Patch Residents, Pols Rip NYCHA For UES Private Development Project by Brendan Krisel

Residents, Pols Rip NYCHA For UES Private Development Project

Board members also questioned whether NYCHA could have gotten more than $25 million for the land. When asked by the board, Charney said a NYCHA appraisal put the value of the land closer to $60 million. City Councilman Ben Kallos, who pressed Fetner and NYCHA a number of times throughout the meeting, asked if NYCHA could have made more money by just selling air rights at the development to other sites within the neighborhood.

A NYCHA spokesperson did not immediately respond to Patch's request for comment.

In May 2017, the New York City Housing Authority announced that real estate developer Fetner Properties was selected to develop a plot of land currently occupied by a playground between the two Holmes Towers buildings on East 92nd Street between First and York avenues. Fetner bid on the project through a request for proposals launched by NYCHA as part of its NextGen NYCHA initiative to allow private development on public lands to fund capital repairs.

Upper East Side Patch City Moves To Cut Excessive Mechanical Void Space In High-Rises by Brendan Krisel

City Moves To Cut Excessive Mechanical Void Space In High-Rises

NEW YORK, NY — Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration is taking steps to cut down on the development trend of building large mechanical voids in high-rise towers after neighborhood preservation groups and elected officials sounded the alarm on the practice.