Economy ∙ Transportation
A Vision for More Robust Mobility on Staten Island
Staten Islanders have some of the worst commutes in the country. And according to a recent Siena poll, nearly 50% of Staten Islanders have reported being injured in a car crash, with 88% knowing someone who has been injured or killed in a car crash — the most of any borough.
The borough now suffers from a severe lack of transportation investment, with the MTA and DOT both consistently deferring critical projects. We are a five borough City and need to invest accordingly. It’s a key reason a Yang administration wants municipal control of the City’s transit system — so only the mayor is accountable for the success or failure of our transit system and that each borough and each neighborhood has more of a voice in transit planning in their neighborhood. Only a serious commitment, with a unified plan and single point of accountability, can lead to real boosts to mass transit, biking infrastructure, and restored and expanded ferry service. If we don’t act now, Staten Island’s growth will be impeded and our goals for cleaner air will not be met.
Ultimately, our transit plan will lead to an equitable recovery, a core goal of our anti-poverty agenda.
Return Staten Island Ferry to Full Overnight Service and Reopen Ferry Bathrooms
Due to recent budget cuts, the Staten Island Ferry Service is only running every hour overnight. Recently, the Department of Transportation failed to provide a timeline on when the previous service level, every 30 minutes, will be restored. This reduction has made commutes even more difficult for essential workers who are stocking shelves, providing medical care, and keeping the utilities running during the pandemic. This will also harm the livelihoods of New York’s hospitality workers once the city’s nightlife is restored. Andrew Yang is calling for ferry service to be restored this spring and he will maintain 30-minute service throughout his term.
In addition, bathroom service on the ferries should be restored after they were closed at the beginning of the outbreak of the pandemic.
Expand Express Bus Service and Restart Review Process for Bus Rapid Transit
A recent redesign of express bus routes has made Staten Island commutes faster and more reliable — shortening travel time to Manhattan by 10 percent. We will continue to expand express bus lanes throughout the City to build on this success and further speed up buses. Unlocking federal funding will be key to realizing these goals.
In addition, the North and West Shore Bus Rapid Transit routes have been bandied about for years without ground being broken. First, one of the two West Shore routes needs to be chosen so the planning process can continue. Second, we need community input to decide whether the North Shore route makes sense. A Yang administration will then direct an environmental review, which was supposed to be completed this past fall. Staten Islanders need efficient ways to run errands and access the ferry.
We will also seek to install bus shelters at each bus stop to provide a comfortable and dignified experience for parents with children, older riders, and riders with disabilities. And of course, under a city-controlled transit system, all buses along these routes will be fully electric by 2030, which is a top commitment by the Yang campaign.
Focus on neighborhood improvements by filling potholes and expanding sidewalks.
Far more streets on Staten Island need to have sidewalks. Residents shouldn’t have to walk on the side of the road while cars fly by. A Yang administration will direct DOT to expand sidewalks and work with communities with the highest need. And a Yang administration will be more responsive to potholes in overlooked neighborhoods.
Make the Staten Island Railway accessible
Last month, the MTA announced that the New Dorp stop would be receiving two new elevators as part of a larger elevator upgrade plan. When the next round of elevator building is announced, the Clifton and/or Huguenot stations should be included.
Maintain connection from Staten Island to the NYC Ferry network
Staten Island is the only borough without access to the NYC Ferry network. The Yang Administration is committed to the ferry route from St. George’s terminal to Battery Park City and Hudson Yards, which is expected to launch this year.
Invest in Access-A-Ride for Staten Islanders with Disabilities
With limited access to inter-borough subway and bus services, Staten Islanders with disabilities have always relied on paratransit to connect them to the rest of the city. The MTA has reduced funding for the “life-changing” Access-A-Ride On-Demand E-hail pilot program - which allows some users to schedule rides immediately instead of having to wait a day in advance. The Yang Administration will look to build out that pilot so it works for disabled New Yorkers who need it.
Keep Discounted Tolls for Residents and Study a Bike and Pedestrian Path on the Verrazzano
A Yang administration will maintain discounted tolls for Staten Islanders. And with respect to a bike path over the bridge, a recent Streetsblog report indicates that the MTA has not taken a bike path and a pedestrian walkway seriously over the Verrazzano. A bike lane would complete the 50-mile Harbor Ring path. Such connectivity for biking is essential to build out a comprehensive and interconnected network. A Yang administration will direct transit officials to consider different options, including how to keep the bridge secure for bikers and pedestrians in a way that is similar to the GWB, while guarding against increased traffic congestion.
Build Protected Bike Lanes to Support Beryl Bike Share and Ensure Continued Expansion
After much delay, Beryl Bike Share seems likely to launch this year. It’s an exciting new option for Staten Islanders. However, only less than two miles of protected bike lanes — to the extent they were truly protected — were built on Staten Island this year. With community input, a Yang administration believes Hylan Boulevard and Richmond Avenue should be considered to better link biking infrastructure with commercial corridors and mass transit.