Queens Lawmakers on the Move August 31, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Miller Calls for Archer Ave Busway

Councilmember I. Daneek Miller

City Councilmember I. Daneek Miller (D-Jamaica, Cambria Heights, Hollis, St. Albans, Queens Village, Springfield Gardens) along with State Senator Leroy Comrie (D-Jamaica, Cambria Heights, Queens Village, Hollis, St. Albans, Laurelton, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood, Hillcrest and Kew Gardens), City Councilmembers Rory Lancman (D-Kew Gardens Hills, Pomonok, Electchester, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood, Parkway Village, Jamaica Hills, Jamaica) and Adrienne Adams (D-Jamaica, Richmond Hill, Rochdale Village, South Ozone Park) and a host of community and faith groups united last week to call on the Department of Transportation to consider Archer Avenue as an alternative site for the agency’s recently announced plan to place a busway on Jamaica Avenue.

“Southeast Queens riders overwhelmingly utilize the Archer Avenue corridor, and rely on it to access the rest of the city. For years, we’ve been in dialogue with DOT regarding the worsening conditions there, to seemingly no avail. It’s unfortunate that the department announced plans for the busway without considering the needs and values of our community, which we’ve expressed to them directly,” said Miller. “I trust DOT will do the right thing and re-engage our community to discuss the potential for an Archer Avenue busway.”

In a letter to DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, signatories of the letter expressed their disappointment at the department’s selection of Jamaica Avenue, citing years of complaints regarding the condition of Archer Avenue. The Archer Avenue bus corridor is one of the busiest in the city and nation with over 225,000 daily riders, or nearly 13% of the entire bus system’s ridership. Providing access to over twenty bus lines, three subway lines, and the Downtown Jamaica business district, the corridor has long suffered from overcrowding, illegal and unsafe dollar van operation, and placard abuse among other indignities. DOT recently reported the average bus speed on Archer to be 3.9 miles per hour, compared to 7.58 mph citywide.

The call to explore Archer Avenue as an alternative location for the busway is joined by the local business improvement districts, Jamaica Center BID and Sutphin Boulevard BID, as well as the Queens Chamber of Commerce. Numerous community and faith groups, including the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning along with Neighborhood Housing Services of Jamaica, are also in support of exploring Archer Avenue as an alternative.

Sanders Holds Two-Part State of the District 

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

State Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens, Edgemere, Bayswater, Arverne and Far Rockaway) will be hosting a two-part state of the district address to provide updates and solicit feedback on all aspects of the community following the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The first day of the two-part state of the district address will be on Thursday, September 3. There will be a panel on youth and gun violence from 10 a.m. to noon, a panel on business, economic development, and housing from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., and a panel on seniors, quality of life and crime from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The second day of the two-part state of the district address will be on Friday, September 4. The first panel will be the state of the unions from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the second panel will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on NYCHA. 

All panels will be streamed live on Sanders’ Facebook page. 

De Blasio Announces Chief Diversity Officers at City Agencies

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week that a chief diversity officer, who will also serve as chief minority and women-owned business (M/WBE) enterprises officer, has been appointed at every city agency. 

On July 28, the mayor signed an executive order to establish this role, along with measures to strengthen the city’s utilization of minority and women-owned businesses.

“Our Minority and Women-Owned Businesses are the core of our economy, and they have built New York City into what it is today,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I am proud to announce that a Chief Diversity Officer will be available at every single City agency to ensure they have the support they need.”

The recently announced Executive Order 59 codifies best practices across the city as it relates to M/WBE utilization. In addition to requiring the implementation of best M/WBE practices citywide, EO 59 contributes to an environment of increased opportunities for M/WBEs and prioritizes the importance of accountability in leadership with respect to M/WBE goals.

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