Press release Wednesday, July 19, 2006

For immediate release

Contact:

Tri-State Transportation Campaign
212-268-7474

Note to editors & reporters :
numerous Brooklyn civic leaders available for comment – see list on attached letter.

Brooklyn Neighborhoods Say City Has Failed Traffic Challenge

Leaders of major Brooklyn civic associations wrote to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg last week to spotlight what they called a general failure of transportation planning in the city.

The groups pointed to booming development, worsening congestion and quality of life problems in neighborhoods as pressing reasons for city government to get more serious and innovative about transportation problems and possible solutions.

The letter said that the absence of a clear policy was preventing progress on mass transit and pedestrian safety improvements, and causing transportation to fall out of major planning initiatives like the rezoning of Downtown Brooklyn and Williamsburg/Greenpoint.   It points to potentially promising initiatives that “have drifted along as studies, failing to deliver any public benefit,” including city studies of traffic calming, bus rapid transit and truck route enforcement.

They contrasted the situation in New York to cities like San Francisco, which approaches transportation projects and major development decisions from an official “transit first” point of view.

They also noted that Mayor Bloomberg had directed city agencies to develop a transportation plan for Staten Island but not for any other borough.

The groups urged Mayor Bloomberg to adopt a new policy framework and priorities, including:

  • Bettering neighborhoods by prioritizing traffic calming over traffic flow.  
  • A comprehensive look at Brooklyn’s mass transit needs, with project recommendations for the next MTA 5-year rebuilding program (2009-2014).   The groups noted that while the MTA is not a city agency, the mayor can wield significant influence over it if he wants to.
  • Requiring the construction of fewer parking spaces in parts of Brooklyn slated for dense development, like downtown and the Atlantic Yards area.  
  • Residential parking permits for areas heavily impacted by demand for commuter and entertainment parking
  • Faster implementation of rapid bus routes.

The groups requested a reply from the mayor’s office.  The groups’ frustration with business as usual is reflected in a concluding statement that “they do not want another letter from the transportation commissioner about why nothing can be done.”    

“ New York City has no transportation policy or goals. That’s no a recipe for coping with changing conditions or improving New Yorkers’ commutes and neighborhoods,” said Jon Orcutt of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, an advocacy group that helped the civic groups organize the effort.

To read entire 5-page letter, click here.