Dispatches from the Front

Transportation Alternatives’ Activist Committees host monthly meetings and social outings, and support vibrant online communities. They also make fighting for local street improvements a lot of fun.

The newly renamed Manhattan Activist Committee is now working on a number of borough-wide efforts to make the island a better place to ride, walk and live. Their campaigns to win safe, complete streets on 5th and 6th avenues, Amsterdam Avenue, University Place and the approach to the Queensboro Bridge have garnered more than 2,500 handwritten letters, over 1,500 petitions signatures, a host of coalition partners and some real momentum. Other upcoming initiatives include partnering with our colleagues at Planning Corps to design professional public engagement and planning materials, starting an East Side Bike Train originating at Elly’s Cafe and building strong support among the business community for safe, complete streets!

when: First Thursday of every month
6:30 – 8 pm

where: Vanderbilt YMCA
225 E. 47th Street, 5th Floor

contact: Albert Ahronheim, Chair,

Staten Island’s activists have been busy building support for bike lanes and traffic calming on Clove Road and Richmond Terrace. They collected hundreds of signatures for both campaigns at March outreach events held outside the Everything Goes Book Cafe and Clove Lakes Park. In partnership with the Staten Island Partnership for Community Wellness and the SI Ferry Riders Committee, the Staten Island crew has also been working to win west-side lower-level access to the St. George Ferry terminal—a major gap in the Island’s bike network. Working with a Port Richmond Brownfield Opportunity Area planner, the committee is also forming a stakeholder group in favor of better bicycle and pedestrian accommodation in Richmond Terrace.

when: Third Thursday of every month,
6:30 – 8 pm

where: Everything Goes Book Cafe
208 Bay Street (St. George)

contact: Meredith Sladek,

The Brooklyn Activist Committee has its sights set on three major campaigns in 2013: making Atlantic Avenue a Complete Street; prioritizing people above cars on Jay Street; and calling for livable streets throughout the East Williamsburg/Bushwick area. Activists have already encouraged Bushwick Council Member Diane Reyna to hold a forum on traffic calming, and have spoken with stakeholders in Downtown Brooklyn to ensure a Jay Street workshop will be on the horizon. In addition, the committee has continued monthly social rides, most recently exploring relics of the borough’s former movie palaces, and they’ve been tweeting up a storm of gratitude to show support for the wealth of bike share stations being installed in the borough.

when: Last Thursday of every month,
7 - 8:30 pm

where: Brooklyn YWCA
30 Third Avenue,
First Floor Meeting Room

contact: Dave ‘Paco’ Abraham, Chair,
dave.paco.abraham [at] gmail.com

  The Bronx
The Boogie Down borough will welcome big improvements in the world of active streets this spring. The Bronx Activist Committee won a new bike lane across the length of East 222nd Street, providing a much-needed connection between Co-op City and the Bronx River Greenway. DOT also intends to implement bike lanes on Co-op City Boulevard and Bartow Avenue within Co-op City: These will connect to the Hutchinson River Greenway extension, which is currently under construction. Meanwhile, Bronx Activists have collected hundreds of signatures in support of Car-free Sundays on the Grand Concourse. Free from car traffic, residents will be able to use the roadway to socialize, play, bike and walk. Stay tuned for updates!

when: Second Wednesday of every month
6:30 – 8 pm

where: Bronx Museum of Art
1040 Grand Concourse

contact: Rich Gans, Co-Chair
Elizabeth Hamby, Co-Chair

The Queens Activist Committee has been organizing to win Complete Streets in neighborhoods throughout the borough. Their campaigns for a protected bike lane on the Pulaski Bridge, a Complete Street on Queens Boulevard and traffic calming on 21st Street have garnered over 1,000 petition signatures, letters of support from major politicians (including Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer) and a DOT-led investigation of lighting on the Queensboro Bridge. Committee members have also been spreading the safe-streets gospel at neighborhood events like Going Green in Queens, the St. Pats for All Parade and a transit ride all the way to Tottenville, Staten Island.

when: Second Monday of every month,
6:30 – 8 pm

where: Greater Astoria Historical Society
35-20 Broadway
4th Floor (Astoria)

contact: Jessame Hannus, Co-Chair
belleoflonglake [at] gmail.com
Steve Scofield, Co-Chair