Testimony of Noah Budnick, Deputy Director, Advocacy, Transportation Alternatives to the New York City Council Committee on Parks & Recreation hearing on Oversight on Status of the Possible Exclusive Use of the Athletic Fields on Randall's Island by New York City Private Schools
January 31, 2007
Good morning, I am Noah Budnick, deputy director for advocacy of Transportation Alternatives, the City's advocates for safer and increased biking and walking.
Before moving forward with further planning for the major reconstruction Randall's Island's parks, the City needs take a serious look at how New Yorkers are going to get there and enjoy this soon-to-be much improved urban oasis floating in the East River. Right now, the lack of equitable transportation service makes Randall's Island inaccessible to people who live just a stones throw away in Harlem, the South Bronx and Astoria.
The Parks Department should convene a taskforce with the goal of making Randall's Island more accessible by foot, bike and public transit to more people, especially those who live closest to it. The taskforce should be comprised of:
This taskforce should study:
The study should produce short-, medium- and long-term solutions that will be implemented to make Randall's Island easily accessible to the thousands of people who live within just minutes walks and bike rides away.
Solutions to improve bicyclist and pedestrian access to Randall's Island that the study should consider include, but are not limited to:
Community leaders from the surrounding neighborhoods lament the current poor access to the island and the barrier it creates between local residents and recreation, relaxation and fresh air there. Simply put: right now, because people cannot get to Randall's Island, they do not use Randall's Island and the parks there.
To assure equitable access to parks on the island, biking, walking and transit access from the neighborhoods surrounding Randall's Island must be substantially improved.