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As you have no doubt heard by now, the City Council passed Mayor Bloomberg’s bill to extend term limits for local elected officials yesterday. The New York Times has a map of how the Council Members voted. The New York Times reports that two lawsuits have already been filed and more are in the works. Working Families Party Executive Director Dan Cantor issued a statement today stating that although the public was left out of the process, there is a bright side: “While we came up short on the floor of the city council, this entire process has reinvigorated New York City’s democracy. What emerged was a broad-based coalition of tens of thousands of New Yorkers united in the belief that regular people can make a difference in the life of our city.”

Did anything else happen this week? Well, yes:

The Community Board 6 Brooklyn Land Use Committee gave its approval to a spot rezoning for Toll Brothers’ condo development on the Gowanus Canal. Toll Brothers reportedly spent $365,000 on lobbying for approval. (Curbed)

Brownstoner dubbed Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner the #1 Most Influential Person in Brooklyn. If only this wasn’t true.

On the national level, with two short weeks left until the Presidential election, Gotham Gazette brings us two articles on the candidates’ urban policy.

Finally, we’ve been meaning to cover this one for a while: Transportation Alternatives released a study on October 15 called Guaranteed Parking – Guaranteed Driving (PDF). It shows that current City requirements for off-street parking encourage driving. “City Planning’s parking requirements do more than encourage car ownership. They ensure that new New Yorkers will be much more likely to drive to work than today’s New Yorkers. Bad planning is gradually transforming us from a transit and walking city into a driving city,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives.

Photo of City Councilmember Letitia James of Brooklyn, who opposed the term limits extension, at yesterday’s vote via New York Times.

In the Inbox today, a message from the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council:

“Billions of Federal dollars will be spent over the next 25 years to improve the region’s transportation system, and the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) wants your input into how that money should be spent.

NYMTC’s 2010-2035 Regional Transportation Plan will lay out a long-range framework for improving the region’s transportation system – its roads, bridges, freight and mass transit facilities, and its bicycle and pedestrian networks.

Interactive workshops are being held throughout the region to encourage your comments, ideas and suggestions for your community’s transportation future and to discuss the new Plan, including various trends and issues, NYMTC’s shared goals for the region and its proposed development vision, and the regional socio-economic and demographic forecasts that will form its foundation.

THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO HELP PLAN TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENTS IN YOUR COMMUNITY FOR THE NEXT 25 YEARS. YOUR CONCERNS AND ISSUES MATTER!
Two meetings will be held on the same day at each location to include as many people as possible. The September 18 workshops will be webcast live and archived for viewing at your convenience on http://www.NYMTC.org, where you can also find more information and share your comments, ideas and suggestions through October 31, 2008.”

The NYC schedule is on the calendar and after the jump:

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Last month, Mayor Bloomberg and other City officials (along with Transportation Alternatives’ Paul Steely-White, cyclist Lance Armstrong and, strangely, musician David Byrne), announced the Summer Streets pilot project, which will close Lafayette Street/Park Avenue to traffic between the Brooklyn Bridge and 72nd Street for three Saturdays in August.

Now, community groups in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, including the Northside Merchants Association and Task Force members Neighbors Allied for Good Growth, as well as the website Billburg.com, have teamed up to bring a similar experiment to Bedford Avenue, the neighborhood’s main drag.

The project, called Williamsburg Walks, will close Bedford Avenue between Metropolitan Avenue and N. 9th Street to traffic on four consecutive Saturdays beginning July 19. The project’s website states, “If this four week experiment is a success, we hope to extend it and consider the possibility that Bedford Avenue could be closed every Saturday the same way Orchard Street has been closed on Sundays since the 60s.”

Interested in reclaiming a street from cars in your neighborhood? Check out the New York City Streets Renaissance (NYCSR)’s Block Party NYC page, where you can find a list of this summer’s NYCSR’s-sponsored block parties, and apply for a grant to host one next year.

The mixed industrial/residential neighborhood of Red Hook, Brooklyn has a beautiful Manhattan view – but actually getting to and from that other borough can be problematic.  The closest subway stop to the neighborhood, the Smith/9th St. F/G, is a mile away.

Now, the Forum for Urban Design is hoping to brand the neighborhood with a new identity – a haven for cyclists and a model for sustainable development.  The Forum’s Red Hook Bicycle Master Plan and Design Competition has three components: 1) a bike garage/loft at the Smith/9th St. F/G stop; dedicated bike lanes to connect the neighborhood to this stop; and of course, the all-important identification of a funding source for the project.

Brooklyn Community Board 6 will consider the competition at its full board meeting on May 14.  Those interested in competing must register by June 2.  Check out the site for more info.

Info from our friends at Brooklyn Community Board 1:

Today, NYC Council Transportation Committee Chair John Liu announced that he has organized an oversight hearing on G train service. Witnesses from the MTA will be asked to speak about ridership data, plans for the future, conditions, and other issues regarding G line service, and the public is also encouraged to testify about their own experiences.

Time/Date: Tuesday, April 8 at 1:00pm
Location: Council Chambers, City Hall

Oversight: What is the MTA doing to improve service on the G line?
Resolution #1262 Calling upon MTA to immediately improve service on the G line and to not implement any service cuts.

Last week, DOT announced the second round of public workshops in neighborhoods across the city to address community concerns about the possible impact of congestion pricing on neighborhood parking. 

This is the second round of workshops in selected “study areas.”  According to DOT,  the first round of workshops, held in November 2007, looked at parking conditions and needs, and began a dialogue on potential parking management strategies. The second set of workshops will discuss possible parking management strategies, such as instituting residential parking permit programs, expanding the use of Muni-Meters, making changes to on-street parking fees, and using technology to track parking usage in the study neighborhoods and other border-zone neighborhoods.

The upcoming meeting schedule for the Upper East Side, Harlem, Long Island City, Forest Hills and Park Slope after the jump.

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From our friends at the Regional Plan Association: The MTA is offering one last chance for you to weigh in on its fare and toll plan. On Monday, December 10th at noon, a special “webinar” – a virtual web-based forum – will be held so you can give your valuable opinion on this important topic from the ease of your home or office. 

Once registered, you will be able to take part in a live conversation with MTA leadership about the MTA financial situation, the fare and toll increase proposal, and the capital plan.  Participants will be able to submit written questions in real time to the presenters who will then answer them orally at the end of the presentations.  All you need to participate is a phone and access to the Internet.

Here’s everything you need to know to register:

Webinar on Fares and Tolls
Monday, December 10, 2007
noon – 1:30 pm
Register at: 
https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/480890165
Free

The event is being co-sponsored by a coalition RPA is part of – the Empire State Transportation Alliance, a coalition of business, labor, environmental and civic groups dedicated to seeing a robust transportation investment program to sustain New York’s economic growth and environmental quality.

Since 2000, The Community-Based Planning Task Force has been leading the effort to create a more meaningful role for communities in New York City’s planning and decision-making processes.

This blog intends to connect our Task Force and the public with opportunities to participate in shaping the city's future, and to inform about issues related to planning, decision-making, equity, social justice, and public participation.

Visit our About page for more information.

Upcoming Meetings and Events

We are currently taking a break from updating this calendar. For more information on upcoming opportunities for civic participation, please visit the links in our Blogroll.

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