In His Bid For Mayor, Albanese Proposes Sweeping Transportation Reform

Source: azipaybarah via flickr

In case you didn’t know, political veteran Sal Albanese is running for mayor. Although considered a long shot, SI Live is reporting that Albanese has been put forward a sweeping reform of the city’s transportation system in his bid to capture New York City’s top throne.

Albanese’s ideas center around his vision to create to a quicker and fairer mass transportation system. He also wants to make tolls for the Verrazano-Narrows bridge cheaper. SI Live summarized these proposals:

With commute times to Manhattan from the South Shore of Staten Island topping 90 minutes, the former Brooklyn councilman wants to add 20 more select bus routes citywide, including here.
Albanese also wants to expand ferry service citywide, and that includes a South Shore ferry.
Realizing that such a service is expensive, Albanese said “it’s important to subsidize it,” and would use money generated from his other proposals to fund the initiative.
No matter how much mass transit expands, some areas of the city will remain what he calls “public transit deserts,” with driving being the only viable option. So Albanese wants to restructure the tolling system, expand mass transit and enhance certain highways to get as many cars as possible off the road.

As for the surging cost of the tolls on the Verrazano, which Albanese said was like, “getting mugged without a gun,” the mayoral hopeful put forward a fairer tolling system, which includes creating tolls on East River crossings in an effort to lower tolls all around. Albanese also supports the proposed Verrazano pedestrian pathway.

According to Albanese, Verrazano tolls would be reduced from $15 to $6. 

“Once we lower it, it will stay at that level as long as I’m in office,” SI LIve reported Albanese saying. “Why should Staten Islanders be penalized like they are?”

To achieve the lofty goals set out by Albanese, he first wants to take control of the transportation system from the MTA so that the city has a better understanding of where all the money is going.

Citing that 40 percent of the entire country’s mass transit use occurs in New York, Albanese is also pushing for increased federal spending on mass transportation.

SI Live included a breakdown of the rest of Albanese’s comprehensive reforms:

  • Create performance-driven tolling, lowering prices during off-peak periods.
  • Significantly reduce tolls on the Verrazano, Gil Hodges, Throgs Neck, Cross Bay, Whitestone and RFK bridges. 
  • Implement open tolling systems on the East River bridges, with discounts for vehicles-for-hire and certain commercial vehicles and trucks.
  • Eliminate the parking tax rebate south of 86th Street in Manhattan, which rewards car ownership where mass transit is most plentiful.
  • Create a surcharge on vehicles-for-hire that travel below 86th Street in Manhattan. 
  • Create a mayor’s task force for safer transportation.
  • Convert underused street space into pedestrian plazas. 
  • Expand bike sharing and the network of protected and shared bike lanes in neighborhoods where demand is high and safe cycling routes are limited.
  • Significantly reduce speeding by aggressively lobbying Albany to approve the use of speed cameras around senior centers and schools. 
  • Increase NYPD enforcement of sensible traffic laws.

Based on the scope of these reforms, it sounds like Albanese is betting that aggressive transportation reform is what voters want to hear about in the upcoming election.

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