Posts tagged with "Bill de Blasio":

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Maps Visualize the Challenge of De Blasio's Vision Zero Plan

With Bill de Blasio making traffic regulation a priority of his fledgling administration, new visualizations of traffic injuries across New York City illustrate what the new mayor is up against in attempting to make such incidents a thing of the past. Statistician and Pratt professor Ben Wellington has used open data documenting traffic fatalities and cyclist injuries to generate heat maps of where in the city such events tended to occur in 2013. The resulting images, published on Wellington's blog I Quant NY, paint a somewhat grim image. A map that simply locates each of last year's 3800 reported cyclist injuries is so swarmed as to be rendered largely uninformative when zoomed out. The heat map generated from this diagram points to the Lower East Side of Manhattan and its cross-river neighbor, Williamsburg, as accident hotbeds. Despite these clear visual trends, such developments do not necessarily indict these two areas as more explicitly dangerous for bikers and then other parts of the city as they do not incorporated ridership density. Thus it is possible that these neighborhoods appear swathed in red simply because their streets play host to a higher amount of two-wheeled traffic than other portions of the city. Williamsburg maintains its scarlet presence in a map depicting 2013 traffic deaths. The East Side makes a slightly less conspicuous appearance while northern parts of Manhattan and the Bronx also reveal a proclivity for such incidents. Wellington identifies Brooklyn's Broadway, Queens Boulevard, and Grand Concourse in the Bronx as particularly deadly roadways. If the mayor gets his wish, generating 2014's iterations of these maps will be a far easier task. Nonetheless the images only reinforce the idea that Vision Zero—and the heat-free maps it would create—appears to be quite a lofty goal.
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De Blasio and Domino Sugar Factory Developer At Odds Over Affordable Housing

The $1.5 billion redevelopment of Brooklyn's Domino Sugar Factory has reached a potential breaking point just days before a vote to seal its fate. It’s New York Mayor Bill de Blasio against developer Jed Walentas in what can best be described as an old-fashioned standoff. The lines are drawn—here’s where things stand. The New York Times reports that Mayor de Blasio has insisted that Walentas increase the amount of affordable housing units at the site. In return, his administration will grant approval for taller towers at the SHoP-designed site. Specifically, de Blasio’s team asked for an additional 50,000-square-feet of affordable housing, which would be used for larger units to accommodate families. But Walentas says he’s already done more than enough. The current proposal sets aside 660 of the total 2,300 apartments for low- and middle-income tenants. In fact, Walentas is reportedly so distraught over the mayor’s request that he has threatened to scrap the whole thing altogether. According to the Times, “Mr. Walentas is balking, and has even threatened to revert to the older, unpopular plan.” That plan only includes only 440 affordable units. While that seems unlikely, some affordable housing advocates are worried de Blasio’s gamble could backfire. Rob Solano, a local community board member and executive director of Churches United for Fair Housing, told the Times, “It’s a delicate balance between pushing as hard as you can and a break… If we get to the point where nothing is built, or there are more delays, that’s another day without affordable housing.” If that were to actually happen, it would be a major blow to the de Blasio administration, which has promised to “preserve or construct” 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next 10 years. Ultimately, this back-and-forth foreshadows the development battles to come as the mayor sets out to achieve his ambitious goal.
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New York Mayor Bill de Blasio Unveils "Vision Zero Action Plan"

After promising to “end the tragic and unacceptable rash of pedestrian deaths” in his State of the City speech, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has officially unveiled his “Vision Zero Action Plan.” On Manhattan’s Upper West Side, near an area where three pedestrians have been killed in the past month, the mayor promised to address the scourge of traffic fatalities across the city. Mayor de Blasio was joined by Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton as he laid-out the sobering statistics on traffic-related fatalities. “Being struck by a car is the leading cause of injury-related death for children younger than 15,” said de Blasio. “It’s the second leading cause of injury-related death for our senior citizens.” And, according to the most recent data, the mayor said there were nearly as many traffic fatalities in New York City as there were homicides last year. The “Action Plan” includes 63 specific initiatives that will span across many city agencies, from the NYPD to the Taxi and Limousine Commission to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The plan proposes redesigning dangerous streets, adding more “slow zones” across the city, and increasing traffic enforcement with more red light and speeding cameras. The most notable part of the plan is likely the mayor’s goal to reduce the city speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25. This, initiative, though would have to be approved by the State Legislature in Albany. What is not included in this plan is a city-wide crackdown on jaywalking. Tickets issued for jaywalking have risen dramatically under de Blasio, but the mayor says that does not reflect a larger initiative. While dispelling the notion that he is out to get jaywalkers--which has inspired some provocative headlines--the mayor defended precinct commanders' right to issue tickets they deem appropriate. “[The Action Plan] is about much more than speed bumps and the issuing of violations,” said de Blasio. “It’s also about all of us taking greater responsibility every time we get behind the wheel, and every time we step out on the street. Our lives are literally in each other’s hands.” But just two days after the mayor called for safer streets, his own NYPD-driven caravan was caught speeding and blowing through stop signs by CBS 2.
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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio Appoints Housing Team

Over the weekend, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced four key appointments to his housing team. The mayor selected Shola Olatoye—a former vice president at the affordable housing non-profit Enterprise Community Partners—to chair the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). He also announced that Cecil House will stay on as the authority’s General Manager. Vicki Been, the director of NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, will become commissioner of the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. And Gary D. Rodney, an executive at the affordable housing developer Omni New York, will run the Housing Development Corporation. “We are going to take a new approach to this crisis that holds nothing back. From doing more to protect tenants in troubled buildings, to innovating new partnerships with the private sector, to forging a new relationship with our NYCHA communities,” said de Blasio in a press release. “Every decision we make will focus on maximizing the affordability of our neighborhoods.” This team—along with newly appointed City Planning Commissioner Carl Weisbrod—will be tasked with implementing de Blasio’s aggressive affordable housing agenda. The mayor has pledged to preserve or create 200,000 affordable housing units over the next decade.
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In State of the City, New York City Mayor de Blasio Promises Affordable Housing

In his first State of the City address, Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to tackle the “inequality gap that fundamentally threatens [New York City’s] future.” At the LaGuardia Community College in Queens, the new mayor spoke of the “Tale of Two Cities” that has taken root in America’s largest city, and he promised to address it head-on. One of the main weapons in fighting inequality, explained de Blasio, will be creating more affordable housing. He spoke of “New Yorkers crushed by skyrocketing rents” and repeated his campaign pledge to “preserve or construct 200,000 units of affordable housing.” In a break with his mayoral predecessor, de Blasio said he won’t just incentivize developers to include affordable housing units, he’ll require it. “We want to work with the real estate industry to build. We must build more to achieve our vision,” said de Blasio. “But the people’s interests will be accounted for in every real estate deal made with the City.” While de Blasio offered no new details about how he plans to achieve this ambitious goal, he said his newly-appointed housing team will present a plan by May 1st. And following a string of pedestrian deaths, de Blasio pledged to “end the tragic and unacceptable rash of pedestrian deaths on our city streets,” through Vision Zero. The mayor, though, made no further mention of a transportation agenda—bike lanes, pedestrian plazas, or otherwise.
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De Blasio Names Carl Weisbrod Chairman of NYC Planning Commission

This afternoon, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that Carl Weisbrod, a real estate consultant and co-chair of the mayor’s transition team, will be the city’s next planning commissioner. De Blasio said Weisbrod “understands exactly how the city can shape development to stoke the most growth, the strongest affordability, and the best jobs for New Yorkers. He is ready to take these challenges head-on.” Weisbrod is currently a partner with the real estate consulting firm HR&A and has a long history in the city’s real estate scene, dating back many mayors. Weisbrod was born and raised in New York City, and, according to the New York Times, upon graduating from NYU Law School, he started advocating on behalf of the city’s squatters and families in welfare hotels. Under Mayor Ed Koch, Weisbrod is widely credited for successfully cleaning up Times Square in the 1970s. In 1991, Weisbrod became the founding president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation—and in 1995 he held the same title at the Alliance for Downtown New York. In the latter role, Weisbrod was tasked with transforming Downtown Manhattan into a mixed-use neighborhood. De Blasio said Weisbrod “led the way” in revitalizing the neighborhood after September 11th. Before joining HR&A in 2011, Weisbrod spent five years as the president of the real estate division for Trinity Church—an organization which oversees six million square feet of property. All of this experience—and this is an abbreviated resume—will be critical as Weisbrod steps into an exceptionally complex role in determining the future of New York City. There will be many challenges ahead—from the redevelopment of the Domino Sugar Factory to the possible re-zoning of Midtown East, to creating a more storm-resistance city, to micro-apartments—all of which will fall within de Blasio’s ambitious push to create more affordable housing. At the press conference, de Blasio said that his administration would look at projects like Midtown East Rezoning and a proposed Major League Soccer stadium in the Bronx “with fresh eyes.” The mayor added that he is approaching development projects like these with “an entirely different set of goals” than his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg.
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Could de Blasio Choose Anna Levin as NYC's Next City Planner?

01-deBlasio-archpaper After a campaign insisting differentiation from his predecessor, New York City Mayor–elect Bill de Blasio (above) is not likely to choose a Bloomberg-elected official as his Chief of the Department of City Planning. The Real Deal reported that three current members of the City’s Planning Commission—Anna Levin, Michelle de la Uz, and Kenneth Knuckles—are speculated as replacements for current commissioner Amanda Burden. Levin, elected by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, is a front-runner. Her previous experiences as a commissioner and Community Board 4 Member give her grassroots appeal backed by political savvy. (Photo: Courtesy NYC Public Advocate)
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New Website Tracks NYCHA's Backlog of Repairs

NYCHA Watchlist. Public advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio is bringing some transparency to New York City Public Housing Authority's shockingly long backlog of repairs with a new website called the NYCHA watch list. Tenants can now keep tabs on the number of outstanding repair requests in their building and see how long these requests have been sitting on the back burner. The website also catalogs the "most neglected housing developments" according to number of repairs with Grant on Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan topping the list.
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Five NYC Mayoral Candidates Camp Out in Public Housing for One Night

NYCHA Housing (Courtesy of eastcolfax/Flickr) Mayor candidates experienced first hand just what it is like to live in New York City public housing this Saturday. DNA Info reported that Reverend Al Sharpton, affiliated with the National Action Network, organized a sleepover for five of the contenders: Bill de Blasio, John Liu, Christine Quinn, Bill Thompson, and Anthony Weiner. The mayoral hopefuls camped out overnight in sleeping bags in the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem. New York City Public Housing Authority (NYCHA) has been plagued by budget cuts and a 4000,000 back log of repairs, only exacerbated by the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. (Photo: eastcolfax/Flickr)