Steven Higashide, communications associate, Tri-State Transportation Campaign
Testimony at East Side Open Space Forum
August 4, 2011
Good afternoon and thank you for organizing this series of forums. My name is Steven Higashide; I’m an East Side resident and I represent the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a regional policy watchdog organization working for a more balanced and equitable transportation network. I’m here to explain why we support an agreement to fill in the East River Greenway and improve East Side open space.
In the last few years, we’ve seen several fantastic changes that have made it safer and easier to get around on the East Side. These include the new Select Bus on First and Second Avenues, and new pedestrian islands and bike lanes on those streets (which we hope will continue to be extended further north). Filling in the more-than-20-block gap in the East River Greenway will go hand-in-hand with those improvements.
Improvements to the cycling network in this area will also help support the new East River ferry service by making it easier for people who travel between Brooklyn or Queens and Manhattan to make the trip on two wheels. Cycling is good for air quality and relieves pressure on crowded streets and public transportation.
We are also excited by the potential to transform the ConEd Waterside Pier into new public space, and improve existing open spaces in the area.
For these reasons, Tri-State supports a land swap deal between the City and United Nations that would create a guaranteed, dedicated source of funds needed to bridge the greenway gap and improve East Side parks. We hope an agreement can be reached by the October deadline. Thank you.