Re-balancing the streets
Mayor Bill de Blasio dedicated this
entire week as “Streets Week!” in
New York City in order to tout a
number of improvements aimed at getting
the fi ve boroughs moving again in the postpandemic
The improvements include commitments
to create more bus lanes and busways to help
commuters get around, and an expanded
bike lane network accommodating the evergrowing
number of bicyclists using two wheels
to get around. It also includes a number of
safety measures including reduced speed limits
on major roadways.
Already, we can hear the drivers of New
York City complaining about lost travel lanes
and tighter speed restrictions. “What about
us?” might be a question you’ll hear from many
of them when it comes to accommodating drivers
in the city.
But the city had spent much of the last
century doing nothing but accommodating vehicles
— from building bridges meant to ease
traffi c congestion to ramming expressways
through entire neighborhoods to get vehicles
What happened? The roads became even
more clogged with traffi c. Smog fi lled the air.
Neighborhoods were divided, even destroyed,
because of the big highways built through them.
So much has been done for the automobile
that it destroyed the imbalance of the city
streets — and now the scale is tipping back
Bus lanes and busways speed up public transportation
at the expense of a traffi c lane. City
Transportation Commissioner Hank Gutman
pointed out Tuesday that the new 181st Street
busway in Washington Heights has already seen
bus speeds increased by 27% – meaning a faster
commute for those riding them.
Bike lanes give bicyclists a safe space to ride
at the expense of traffi c lanes. More New Yorkers
are using bicycles to commute, giving them
exercise while also protecting the environment
— and the lanes enable them to do so while
reducing the risk of a potentially fatal accident.
These projects, and others, actually make
it easier to live in New York by giving people
multiple options on how to get around. Most
residents won’t feel beholden to owning a car,
and taking up all the expensive burdens that
come with it.
Creating a more balanced street grid in New
York where drivers, mass transit and bicyclists
share the road will help our city prosper and
thrive for years to come.
Nobody’s asking the drivers to stop driving.
Just share the road, and give others a chance
to get through.
Publisher of The Villager, Villager Express, Chelsea Now,
Downtown Express and Manhattan Express
PRESIDENT & PUBLISHER
CEO & CO-PUBLISHER
EDITOR IN CHIEF
PUBLISHER’S LIABILITY FOR ERROR
The Publisher shall not be liable for slight changes
or typographical errors that do not lessen the value
of an advertisement. The publisher’s liability for
others errors or omissions in connection with an
advertisement is strictly limited to publication of the
advertisement in any subsequent issue.
Published by Schneps Media
One Metrotech North, 3rd floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Phone: (718) 260-2500
Fax: (212) 229-2790
© 2021 Schneps Media
New York Press Association
Member of the National
Member of the
Member of the
Minority Women Business Enterprise
Time to grant noncitizen
the right to vote
BY MELISSA JOHN
It is no secret that throughout history,
Black and Brown people in America
have been shut out of the democratic
process and effectively silenced. Now,
we have an opportunity to create a more
inclusive city by passing Intro 1867, a local
law that would allow nearly one million
permanent residents, like myself, who call
New York City home, a chance to vote in
our upcoming local elections.
The passing of this law is a fi rst and critical
step in eradicating the inequities immigrant
communities face. Expandingvoting
rights is New York City’s opportunity to
take the lead in addressing the pervasive
marginalization immigrants face. This bill
would permit Legal Permanent Residents
(green card holders) and those with work
authorizations to vote in municipal elections
for offi ces like Mayor and City Council.
Moreover, although municipal non-citizen
voting currently exists in several other municipalities
in the U.S. – including in California
and Maryland – the passage of Intro
1867 in New York City would be a catalyst
for immigrant suffrage rights in large cities,
especially now, when immigrants have been
so essential during this pandemic and will
be critical to the country’s recovery.
I myself am a green card holder who has
never had the opportunity to participate in
an election, despite paying taxes for more
than 20 years. Immigrants are the cornerstone
of New York City’s culture and commerce,
yet we continue to have our political
voices stifl ed and denied power at the polls.
And even though we contribute fi nancially
to the neighborhoods and boroughs we call
home, we cannot fully participate in democracy
or hold our local leaders accountable.
But now more than ever, New Yorkers
have seen fi rst-hand the crucial role immigrants
play in our city as essential workers.
Throughout this ongoing pandemic,
immigrant New Yorkers have risked their
lives to care for the sick as medical professionals
and home health aides, delivered
our groceries, kept gas stations open and
the lights on in our local pharmacies, and
kept medical facilities, residential, and offi
ce buildings clean. Simply put, many immigrants
put themselves and their families’
lives in harm’s way to help keep countless
of their fellow New Yorkers safe.
This June, while registered voters elect
a new Mayor, City Comptroller, Public
Advocate and over 30 City Council seats,
nearly 1 million of my fellow immigrant
New Yorkers will not have the chance to
make their voices heard in one of the most
consequential elections of our lifetimes.
Continuous engagement in the democratic
process is a revolutionary act. Intro
1867 will provide immigrants with the
tools to fully engage in the political process
while moving forward on the path towards
full citizenship. It will also fi nally create
a voting landscape that truly refl ects the
diversity of New York City.
Melissa John is a Trinidadian born
US Green Cardholder and Founder of
RepresentWe, an initiative that provides a
platform for civic engagement to empower
8 May 13, 2021 Schneps Media