Car-Free Streets, City Control of Transit: New York City Council Speaker's New Platform
New York City Council Corey Johnson delivered an all-transportation "State of the City" address this week. Writing for Streetsblog NYC, David Meyer claims the speaker "hit all the right notes."
Yes, he mapped out a pie-in-the-sky plan for city control over the subways, which is unlikely to happen in the immediate future, as Streetsblog reported today. But even discussing such an idea — not to mention the eminently doable sweeteners like safer street redesigns, more plazas, better bike lanes, improved bus service and even removing part of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway — shows just what can be accomplished by a New York City leader with persistent concern for, and consistent interest in, improving the city’s transportation system.
According to Meyer, Johnson is talking about breaking the car culture, and is willing to take matters into his own hands if Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo aren't willing to take action. Speaker Johnson also called out MTA's oversight (from a board appointed by the governor). Meyer has more to say about the ways Johnson showed leadership as compared to the other political leaders controlling these issues in the city and state.
For a deeper dive into Johnson's agenda for the city's streets, Julianne Cuba writes a follow up article that claims car-free streets are just the start of Johnson's ambitious agenda, which includes "a mix of car-free streets, 50 miles of protected bike lanes per year, more slow 'shared' roadways and more dedicated bus lanes." That story also links to the complete document of Johnson's transportation plan, called "Let's Go: A Case for Municipal Control and a Comprehensive Transportation Vision for the Five Boroughs."