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Transit for All

NYC has some of the worst traffic and produces more automobile carbon emissions than any other city in the U.S. We must design our transit system to get more New Yorkers out of cars, reduce carbon emissions, and clean the air.

Every year, hundreds of New Yorkers are killed by cars in crashes, and thousands more are injured. Our transportation system causes a devastating public health crisis that ruins lives and destroys families simply because our streets are designed only around cars. We have many opportunities through legislation and advocacy to make our streets safer and prevent the suffering that traffic violence brings to New Yorkers of all backgrounds.

Transportation policy is directly linked to economic justice, health justice, and environmental justice. If the state makes it easy, fast, and cheap to get across the city by train, bus, bike, or foot — then New Yorkers have better access to jobs, education, childcare, and recreation. Right now, our trains are unreliable, our buses are slow, but fares continue to go up. A world-class transportation system would give New Yorkers more control over our lives and give us all more agency in the basic choices we make for ourselves and our families.

While NYC has the most expansive public transit system in the country, it also has some of the worst traffic and produces the most carbon emissions from automobile use in the U.S. Particulate pollution from vehicles causes a host of respiratory and cardiovascular problems for New Yorkers. We must design our transit system to get more New Yorkers out of cars, reduce carbon emissions, and clean the air.

A Safe, Reliable, and Efficient Transportation System

Free Buses for All
Last year, the MTA announced a pilot for five city buses to go fare free. This was a smash hit, leading to ridership increases of up to 20% on those lines. Disgracefully, the 2024 state budget has allowed this pilot to expire, instead of expanding it. The working class New Yorkers who ride buses make this city run and allow the economy of New York City — home to more millionaires than any other city on Earth — to operate. Our fares are a regressive tax that subsidizes the richest in this system. We should be moving towards free fares for all buses (and then trains) and I will advocate fiercely for this as a legislator.

Expand Bus Service
Many parts of our district are over half a mile from a subway station. A robust and reliable bus network is our best option to quickly boost our transit system and fill in gaps. I will advocate for expansion of bus service across the city and installation of bus lanes and bus priority signals wherever feasible. I also believe we need to invest in our express bus system more—with the onset of congestion pricing, some parts of Assembly District 37 far from the subway are now left without an affordable and direct way to get to Midtown and Lower Manhattan. Express buses can fill this gap.

MTA Transparency
The MTA pays some of the highest prices in the world on subway construction, while European cities like London and Paris with similarly old subway systems and strong labor protections manage to expand their subways for fractions of the cost. The MTA wastes billions of tax dollars—and New Yorkers’ dreams of an expanded subway system—to consultants and contractors that drive up the cost of capital projects without providing value. In my role as a legislator, I will fight for a more accountable and transparent MTA that can keep capital costs down so we can enjoy the fruits of subway expansion within our lifetimes.

Lower Montauk Branch Restoration
Until 1998, the Long Island Rail Road made stops across Ridgewood, Maspeth, Sunnyside, and Long Island City in areas far from subway stations. The tracks remain and are now lightly used freight rail. In 2018, a study found that over 20,000 riders—many of whom are residents of Assembly District 37 and may disproportionately rely on cars to get around—would ride a restored Lower Montauk Branch on a daily basis. I support the restoration of this line for passenger service, to reconnect residents across the district to Long Island City, Jamaica, and the rest of the City with a safe and reliable transit option.

Make Citibike Public
Bike share has been a welcome addition to our transit landscape since it expanded to many of our neighborhoods in the past few years. It allows many New Yorkers to easily make short trips and connect to other forms of transit. However, it is getting unreasonably expensive – annual memberships have gone up over 100% since the launch of the system 10 years ago and it now costs almost $5 to take a bike out for 30 minutes if you don’t pay yearly. This is because it is contracted out to a multinational company (Lyft) to run at a profit, and not as a public service like the rest of the city’s transit services. It is past time for the city to run our public bike share system like a public transportation system to keep fees low and keep the system reliable for all communities that it serves.

End Traffic Violence

Fight for Street Safety Improvements
As your Assembly Member, I will use my office to organize and advocate for the NYC Department of Transportation to implement safety projects that protect pedestrians and cyclists on dangerous corridors and intersections across the district. DOT has a wide array of designs and interventions that are proven to save lives: protected bike lanes, curb extensions, pedestrian medians, signal timing changes, scramble crosswalks, daylighting, and more. It is especially time for a safe bike network in Ridgewood and a safe bike route that connects Ridgewood to Sunnyside. DOT often responds to pressure from elected officials to pursue these designs, and I will amplify community demands for these interventions.

Automate Traffic Enforcement
The speed camera program in NYC has been successful in reducing speeding where they are deployed. They also have the potential to remove the NYPD from traffic enforcement: reducing opportunities for traffic stops that can escalate dangerously, and reducing reliance on irregular and biased enforcement. I would support legislation to expand the city’s speed camera program to promote safe driving and pedestrian safety across the city.

Regulate Heavy Vehicles
With each passing year, passenger cars and trucks in the U.S. are getting bigger and the implications on pedestrians and cyclists are increasingly deadly. Giant SUVs and pickup trucks are not designed for use on local NYC streets with heavy pedestrian traffic. I support legislation currently proposed that would increase state registration fees for heavier vehicles in an attempt to discourage their purchase in New York.