With just over a month until September 12’s municipal primary elections, StreetsPAC, the political action committee that supports walking, biking, and transit, has announced its next round of endorsements for City Council races. Council members wield serious influence over streets projects in their districts, and primary elections for open council seats can be very competitive.
The first round of endorsements was released last month and included one pick for an open seat — Carlina Rivera, who’s running in the Manhattan district currently held by the term-limited Rosie Mendez.
In this batch, StreetsPAC has endorsed one challenger and one candidate for an open seat, as well as three incumbents.
Council District 14; Fordham, Kingsbridge, West Bronx: Two people are challenging conservative Democrat Fernando Cabrera as he seeks a third term, and StreetsPAC is backing Randy Abreu. Abreu grew up in the district, StreetsPAC notes, and supports expanding Select Bus Service, transit signal priority, and bike-share, as well as bringing the MTA’s “Freedom Ticket” reduced-fare pilot to Metro-North.
Council District 13: Throggs Neck, Pelham Bay. In the five-candidate Democratic primary to replace former transportation committee chair James Vacca, StreetsPAC’s pick is Marjorie Velázquez. The endorsement highlights her support for building new Metro-North stations in the district and improving bus service. The only Republican in the race, John Cerini, organized the (unsuccessful) opposition to the East Tremont Avenue road diet last summer.
Council District 1: Lower Manhattan, Chinatown, Lower East Side. StreetsPAC is putting its weight behind incumbent Lower Manhattan rep Margaret Chin. Three challengers — Christopher Marte, Aaron Foldenauer, and Dashia Imperiale — are contesting the Democratic primary. In its endorsement, StreetsPAC noted that Chin has taken a strong stand against placard abuse, a particular problem around the courts and city offices located in her district. Gotham Gazette has a comprehensive list of candidates in District 2 and other 2017 City Council races.
Council District 26: Long Island City, Woodside, Sunnyside. StreetsPAC is also endorsing Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer for a third term. Van Bramer, who’s running unopposed, has been one of the City Council’s most vocal safe streets advocates, pushing for protected bike lanes in his district on Queens Boulevard and 43rd Avenue, and rallying his colleagues to support school speed cameras.
Council District 39: Gowanus, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace. Incumbent Brad Lander is running unopposed and gets the StreetsPAC nod. Lander was first elected in 2010 and immediately stuck his neck out for the Prospect Park West bike lane. StreetsPAC also cites Lander’s handling of last summer’s intense crankiness regarding Citi Bike expansion, and his sponsorship of a bill requiring DOT to study expanding BRT, which morphed into DOT’s forthcoming citywide transit plan.
StreetsPAC Rolls Out Five More Endorsements in 2017 City Council Races