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Ahead of election, advocates unveil candidate agenda for tackling city’s transit issues

“Our focus is on what the city can do at city-level,” said John Raskin of Riders Alliance.
Advocates unveil agenda for upcoming candidates to tackle city’s transit issues
With election season upon us, transit advocates release an agenda to help potential candidates tackle New York’s transit issues. (Nikki M. Mascali)

With key positions such as mayor, city council, all five borough presidents, comptroller and public advocate up for grabs in the upcoming election season, advocacy groups on Thursday revealed an agenda to help candidates tackle the issues New Yorkers face on a near-daily basis with the city’s aged transit system. 

“We will be sharing this plan with every declared candidate and follow through with forums and questionnaires,” John Raskin, executive director of Riders Alliance, said at a press conference outside City Hall. “They need to know what good ideas are, and that’s what we’re laying out today.”

While the MTA is controlled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who last week declared a state of emergency for the embattled agency, “we’re not here to let the governor in Albany off the hook,” Eric McClure of StreetsPAC said. 

“Transportation and Equity: A 2017 Agenda for Candidates” was a joint effort between Riders Alliance, NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, StreetsPAC, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, New York League of Conservative Voters, Pratt Center for Community Development, Regional Plan Association and Transportation Alternatives.

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It calls on the city to:

• find funding for public transportation in Albany and locally, such as with real estate value capture in which developers support infrastructure 
• provide better bus service
• implement affordable access to public transit for low-income riders via Fair Fares as well offer reduced tickets for Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road riders that travel within city limits
• create a network of protected bike lanes and expanding bike share across all five boroughs to double bicycling by 2020
• reallocate street space and reform street parking
• fully fund and acheive Vision Zero, which aims to end traffic death and injuries, by 2024
• protect L train riders during the 2019 shutdown

“These are all proven solutions that need to be expanded. New York voters broadly and deeply support this — ignore at your own peril,” Paul Steely White of Transportation Alternatives said as a warning to potential candidates.

Added Raskin, “The city should be on the lookout for options that we don’t need to go to Albany for — our focus is on what the city can do at city-level."

The New York City primary is Sept. 12, and the general election Nov. 7.

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