On Monday the M86 crosstown bus got an upgrade; it now has Select Bus Service and will be up to 20% faster! The bus still costs the same and has all of the same stops, but now you pay while you wait for the bus to arrive using the machines on the sidewalk (as you can see me doing here). Passengers will load the bus using every door, and buses will be able to move from stop to stop much faster. For the next two weeks, there will be people in orange vests stationed at every stop to explain the new system.
Recently rent-regulated tenants had a huge victory: the Rent Guidelines Board made history by freezing rents for rent-regulated tenants with one-year leases, and voting for a 2% increase on two-year leases. I am very grateful to tenant advocates for the leadership in calling for a rent freeze, and to the Rent Guidelines Board for their vote. (Rent-controlled tenants, on the other hand, continue to have a 7.5% rent increase each year. You can learn more about it from this piece in DNA Info, which features some Upper West Siders.)
Monday, June 29th marked the first day of a car-free Central Park north of 72nd street! I am proud to have been a part of this long effort that makes bicyclists and pedestrians safer, and I will continue to work towards a fully car-free Central Park. Learn more from CBS 2 News and Streetfilms.
This Sunday, July 19 is NYC Triathlon in the Hudson River and along the West Side Highway. Between 5am-2pm on Sunday, the DOT will close the following roads:
- Henry Hudson Parkway (Northbound) between West 57th Street and the Henry Hudson Bridge
- West 72nd Street between Riverside Drive and Central Park West
- West 79st Street between Riverside Drive and Traffic Circle (Near West Side Highway)
- Henry Hudson Parkway (Northbound) between the Henry Hudson Bridge and the Mosholu Parkway
- Mosholu Parkway (Eastbound) between Henry Hudson Parkway and West Gun Hill Road
The MTA does not expect the event to detour the M7, M11 or M104.
FREE summer meals are available for anyone under 18 years old at participating community schools, pools, parks, libraries and NYCHA locations. You do not need an ID, registration, or documentation to eat your free meal. View the flyer or visit the website to find locations near you.
Funding for the Upper West Side
I am happy to designate both capital and expense funding to our local public schools, parks, public housing, and social programs. Summaries are below, but you can see an itemized list of all my allocations on my website. (The capital funding list is posted, and the expense funding list is coming soon).
CAPITAL FUNDING (bricks and mortar)
$2.45M for schools, including playground renovations for P.S. 75, a science center for P.S. 199, gym and library upgrades at John Jay College, and computer lab and technology upgrades for several schools.
$1.05M for NYCHA, including a senior center renovation at Harborview Terrace, security cameras at Wise Rehab, and an age-friendly lobby at Amsterdam Houses.
$900K for parks and transit, including repairs to the path around the Crab Apple Grove in Riverside Park, safety measures for pedestrians and bicyclists along the Hudson River Greenway, and crosstown bus countdown clocks.
I also allocated money to support Symphony Space, the Vivian Beaumont Theatre, and the City Parks Foundation to refurbish SummerStage.
EXPENSE FUNDING (people and projects)
$300K for youth arts, education, and afterschool programs, including digital literacy programming, guidance for applying to college, tutoring, tennis, and basketball.
$150K for senior programs, including physical fitness classes, free concerts, and social workers.
$75K for anti-poverty programs, including food pantries, legal services, tenant support, and my office's monthly housing clinics.
This year the Council's Clean Streets Initiative received additional funding, so the DOE fund can serve more routes in the neighborhood. If you have ideas for streets that need cleaning, let me know at Helen@HelenRosenthal.com.
The Council funded my Student Voter Registration Day initiative, which will bring a day of civic education and voter registration to high schools in every Council district. Our City and State have some of the lowest voter turnout rates nationwide, and this initiative gives students the opportunity to understand the impact they can make through civic participation — both in and out of the voting booth.
I'm delighted to report that my strong support for the American Museum of Natural History's new science education center resulted in substantial funding for construction: $16M from the City Council. As design and construction progresses, I expect the Museum to have an open dialogue with the community.
I am a member of the City Council's small Budget Negotiating Team (BNT) responsible for identifying funding priorities for the Council. We learn about funding shortfalls and the need for additional city services during three months of intense budget hearings. The BNT depends on our strong Council financial staff and input from our colleagues to shape and advocate for our priorities. This year our focus was on libraries, senior services, public schools, legal services for tenants, and additional police. We were successful in all of these areas. One of our goals was to advocate for an equal amount of funding for youth year-round and summer job programs as there would be for additional police officers. Ultimately we achieved an increase of nearly $40 million for youth jobs, and we will continue to advocate for increased job opportunities for young people.