My Dear Candidates
My Dear Candidates
Though I am proudly an activist and an idealist, I’m also a practical man. I understand appeals to the future of our children, to the health of our planet and to the betterment of our city don’t fill the booths on Election Day, so let’s talk turkey.
Bike lanes and other livable streets improvements are popular with New York City voters. If one of you were fortunate enough to win your election with 66 percent of the vote, we’d call it a landslide. That’s where bike lanes last polled.
“Big deal,” I can hear your advisors muttering. “Streets aren’t jobs or crime or schools,” and they’re right. Livable streets are a niche voting issue, but the niche is big. T.A.’s network of 100,000 New Yorkers in neighborhoods from the West Side to East New York to Bay Ridge to Astoria is politically engaged and socially active. An overwhelming majority of our members are registered for their primary. For them, your take on biking, walking and public transit will matter.
It’ll also matter to the business community. Real estate, tech, creative industries and mom-and-pop retail shops have already started voting with their pocketbooks, investing in office space, residential real estate and development projects that are adjacent to bike lanes and pedestrian plazas, and they’re reaping rewards. Smart firms know that livable streets are good for employee health, company morale and their bottom line. And smart candidates know that smart businesses are worthwhile friends.
And then there are all the other reason why improving New York City’s streets is an obvious choice: the fact that small improvements can save thousands of lives and hundreds of millions of dollars a year; the fact that our population is growing while our already-crowded city is staying the same size; that active kids are better students; that walkable, bikeable neighborhoods have less crime and a higher quality of life.
Sorry...those pesky ideals again.
Support livable streets. They’ll help you win at the ballot box.
Paul Steely White