NYC buses failing riders with poor service, transit advocates say

By Vincent Barone

This year’s bus report cards are in and the D grades abound.

The Bus Turnaround Coalition advocacy group released its annual grades for the city’s bus routes Wednesday, with 58 routes earning Fs and another 124 routes — half the bus network — receiving Ds.

"In 2018, the average local bus traveled at 6.4 miles per hour. That's even more sluggish than last year's average speed and considerably slower than another New York City transit fixture: the rats running through our subway system, who can sprint faster than 8 miles per hour," said Mary Buchanan, a researcher at TransitCenter, one of the coalition members, during a rally Wednesday on City Hall steps.

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Residents Had Pushed for Safety Measures for Years Before Deadly Crash On Claremont Avenue; ‘An Accident Waiting to Happen’

By Alex Israel

For years before Columbia University Dean Peter Awn was hit by a vehicle at 116th Street and Claremont Avenue in January, residents of the block advocated for changes that could make it safer for pedestrians. But only now, after the crash that injured and eventually killed Awn, is the city putting together a plan to make it safer.

Awn was hit on January 25 and died on February 17. Details about the crash are still hard to come by—police have said they are still investigating. Spokespeople from the NYPD’s 26th Precinct and the Deputy Commissioner Public Information did not respond to requests for additional details, citing the ongoing investigation.

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Half of all NYC bus routes get ‘D’ for speed and reliability

Half of all New York City bus routes received a “D” rating in regards to speed and reliability, according to new data from Bus Turnaround Coalition (BTC).

Bus speeds for the average passenger bus were 6.6 mph in 2018, down .2 points from 2017, according to MTA data analyzed by BTC. Additionally, the organization says “where buses are scheduled to arrive at least every 15 minutes, 1 in 9 buses arrived bunched, creating frustrating, unpredictable gaps in service.”

On the bright side, 30 fewer buses received a failing grade from the year before, which BTC credits to a reductions in bus bunching.

Read the full article here.

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Lawmakers demand to know why CBD was banned in NYC

By Nolan Hicks

City lawmakers – including Council speaker Corey Johnson – are demanding the Health Department answer questions about its apparently sudden decision last month to ban CBD, a cannabis oil served in drinks.

“We are deeply alarmed by the opaque nature of the process by which the Department came to this seemingly abrupt policy shift,” Johnson and Councilmen Mark Levine and Robert Holden wrote in their letter to Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot.

The letter requests the agency provide a detailed accounting of its decision-making process, an official explanation of its stance on the compound and its possible impacts on public health and explain why the decision was made without public hearings.

Read the full article here.

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Upper Manhattan Pols Want Parking Permits For Congestion Pricing

By Brendan Krisel

With Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo united in support of congestion pricing for New York City, Upper Manhattan City Council representatives are renewing a call for residential parking permits in their neighborhoods

Four city councilmembers introduced legislation in 2018 that would establish a parking permit system that would give residents living north of 60th street to the tip of Manhattan in Inwood. Legislators fear that drivers hoping to avoid congestion pricing fees in the borough's major business districts will flock to these areas for parking.

"As momentum continues to build for the creation of a desperately needed congestion pricing program to fund public transit, now more than ever, the City needs to address the prevailing issue of suburban commuters dumping their cars in our neighborhoods, only to transfer to the subway on their way downtown," Councilmember Mark Levine said in a statement.

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UWS Council Members Want Residential Parking Permits, So Neighborhood Doesn’t Become a Parking Lot for Out of-Towners

Local City Council members Mark Levine and Helen Rosenthal are proposing a bill that would create residential parking permits for people in some neighborhoods, so they have priority to park in street-parking spots.

With congestion pricing seen as more likely to pass the state legislature this year, drivers may have to pay a toll every time they go below 60th Street in Manhattan, raising the possibility that they’ll simply park their cars on the UWS to avoid the fee.

“As momentum continues to build for the creation of a desperately needed congestion pricing program to fund public transit, now more than ever, the City needs to address the prevailing issue of suburban commuters dumping their cars in our neighborhoods, only to transfer to the subway on their way downtown,” said Council Member Mark Levine in a statement.

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New tax on part-time NYC homes picking up momentum

By Henry Rosoff

New York could soon join the ranks of cities likes of London, Paris and Hong Kong with a lucrative new real estate tax.

Newly reintroduced state legislation would tax the owners of pricey second homes, or "pied-à-terres" as they're called, that are making the city less affordable for many.

"The buildings are going up here and nobody is using the local businesses. There just aren't people here," said Nancy Braithwaite who lives in Manhattan part-time.  "There’s money to be had here and they're hiding it, so why shouldn't New Yorkers get a piece of it?"

One issue is that people who own pied-à-terres do not pay NYC income tax, but enjoy city services.

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Calls To Tax Rich People's Second Homes In NYC Grow Louder

By Elizabeth Kim

Capitalizing on public outrage over a billionaire’s purchase of a $238 million Manhattan penthouse as a part-time pad last month, City Council members are urging the state to pass a pied-à-terre tax, which would levy annual fees on secondary homes worth $5 million and up.

Council members Mark Levine and Margaret Chin on Monday said they planned to introduce a council resolution supporting a state bill that was originally introduced by State Senator Brad Hoylman in 2014.

The next step is for the City Council to adopt what is known as a “home rule” provision allowing the state to pass the bill, since it will only affect New York City.

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Lavish Second Home Owners Could Be Hit By NYC Pied-A-Terre Tax

By Brendan Krisel

A new tax that targets people who buy lavish second homes in the city is being proposed by two councilmembers.

Mark Levine, who represents parts of the Upper West Side, Harlem and Washington Heights and Margaret Chin who represents parts of Chinatown, the Lower East Side and Lower Manhattan, will introduce a resolution in support of the so-called pied-a-terre tax on Thursday, the legislators said.

State Senator Brad Hoylman and State Assemblymember Deborah Glick have been fighting for a pied-a-terre tax in the state legislature since 2014. Levine and Chin's resolution wouldn't put the tax into law, but would instead signal the city's willingness to support such a tax if passed by the state.

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Pied-à-terre tax backed by NYC Council members

By Devin Gannon

Council Members Mark Levine and Margaret Chin announced on Monday that they plan on introducing a resolution in support of the pied-à-terre tax, as amNYreported. The tax would be modeled after the measure sponsored by State Sen. Brad Hoylman and apply an annual surcharge on non-primary homes worth more than $5 million.

Last month, billionaire Ken Griffin closed on a penthouse at 220 Central Park South for over $239 million, making it the most expensive home ever sold in the United States. Griffin, the founder of the hedge fund Citadel, said he will not use the pricey pad as a primary residence, but instead as “a place to stay when he’s in town.” The staggering sale has renewed support from public officials for a pied-à-terre tax, which would place a yearly surcharge on homes worth $5 million and up, and apply to non-primary residences, as reported by the New York Times.

Read the full article here.

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By Vincent Barone This year’s bus report cards are in and the D grades abound. The Bus Turnaround Coalition advocacy group released its annual grades for the city’s bus routes Wednesday, with 58 routes earning Fs and another 124 routes — half the bus network — receiving Ds. "In 2018, the average local...

By Alex Israel For years before Columbia University Dean Peter Awn was hit by a vehicle at 116th Street and Claremont Avenue in January, residents of the block advocated for changes that could make it safer for pedestrians. But only now, after the crash that injured and eventually killed Awn, is...

Half of all New York City bus routes received a “D” rating in regards to speed and reliability, according to new data from Bus Turnaround Coalition (BTC). Bus speeds for the average passenger bus were 6.6 mph in 2018, down .2 points from 2017, according to MTA data analyzed by...

By Nolan Hicks City lawmakers – including Council speaker Corey Johnson – are demanding the Health Department answer questions about its apparently sudden decision last month to ban CBD, a cannabis oil served in drinks. “We are deeply alarmed by the opaque nature of the process by which the Department...

By Brendan Krisel With Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo united in support of congestion pricing for New York City, Upper Manhattan City Council representatives are renewing a call for residential parking permits in their neighborhoods Four city councilmembers introduced legislation in 2018 that would establish a parking...

Local City Council members Mark Levine and Helen Rosenthal are proposing a bill that would create residential parking permits for people in some neighborhoods, so they have priority to park in street-parking spots. With congestion pricing seen as more likely to pass the state legislature this year, drivers may have...

By Henry Rosoff New York could soon join the ranks of cities likes of London, Paris and Hong Kong with a lucrative new real estate tax. Newly reintroduced state legislation would tax the owners of pricey second homes, or "pied-à-terres" as they're called, that are making the city less affordable...

By Elizabeth Kim Capitalizing on public outrage over a billionaire’s purchase of a $238 million Manhattan penthouse as a part-time pad last month, City Council members are urging the state to pass a pied-à-terre tax, which would levy annual fees on secondary homes worth $5 million and up. Council members Mark Levine...