A Planning Think Tank Devoted to Staten Island
Cesar Claro and Steven Grillo of the Staten Island Economic Development Corp. write to recommend the creation of the State Island's first planning think tank, a non-profit called the Staten Island Partnership for Transit and Resiliency Improvements (SIPTRI).
Claro and Grillo recommend the non-profit think tank after traveling with the Staten Island Economic Development Corp. to Seattle and Portland and finding inspiration from planners and advocates there.
While Staten Island is not unlike these two cities in terms of area and population, its population growth rate since 2010 has been slower, and it has struggled to attract major corporations and expand its university presence. The reasons include inefficient transit, long commutes, a lack of regional connectivity, a high cost of doing business and insufficient access to commercial hubs.
Claro and Grillo suggest that Staten Island is capable of the same kind of mobility successes as Seattle and Portland—but it needs a strong advocate.
Our development corporation will create a nonprofit to raise funding for and invest in transportation and recruit local board members who will help hire a transportation czar, prioritize projects and determine how to secure and allocate funds raised through new measures. Projects to be evaluated include light rail on the West Shore, bus rapid transit on the North Shore, a gondola to Bayonne and fast ferry service.