On Monday, April 24, 2017, The New York City Council Transportation Committee is expected to pass Intro 965-A, introduced by Council Transportation Harlem Chair Ydanis Rodriguez, requiring the NYC Department of Transportation to study areas of the city cut off from subway service, otherwise known as transit deserts.
Council Member Rodriguez offered this statement upon its expected passage:
When transit deserts are allowed to persist, we essentially allow for conditions unhealthy to a well-functioning city. There is less access to jobs, education, healthcare, cultural institutions, open space and more. Residents in these areas are either forced to buy a car or walk dozens of blocks to reach what can often be unreliable public transit.
Intro 965-A will require the DOT to specifically include in their ongoing transit study, information, data and recommendations to address our city’s transit deserts. As we celebrated a successful Car Free Day over the weekend, with areas across the five boroughs closed to car traffic and open to people, we stressed the importance of finding ways to reduce our reliance on personal vehicles. The number one way to do this is to expand and enhance our transit networks.
On top of this, a 2015 Harvard study shows that access to quality transportation is the single greatest factor in escaping poverty. This is something that we must continue to stress to our leaders who control funding to major infrastructure projects and who have the ability to expand access to our poorest residents cut off from the transit network.
I am hopeful that through this study, we will develop a road map to ensure the greatest bang for our buck when it comes to investments in transit. I am encouraged by the work the DOT has already begun and I am eager to see a finished product in the coming year.