New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Faster Commutes

Council Member Ben Kallos Public Transportation

Ben doesn’t own a car and relies on public transit. That’s why he advocated to make commutes faster by opening the 2nd Avenue Subway, wining two ferry stops, and expanding bikeshare, Select Bus Service, bus lanes, and bike lanes. Ben also knows that streets must be safe for pedestrian and cyclists, and he's won new safe streets infrastructure and a bike safety program.

As Borough President, Ben will continue making commutes faster and streets safer by

  • reducing the number of vehicles entering Manhattan, 
  • investing in public transit, and 
  • expanding his safe streets and bike safety program to protect pedestrians across the borough.

Fresh Ideas: Faster Commutes

Council Member Ben Kallos at Rally for Congestion Pricing

New Yorkers get stuck in traffic every day. Car traffic, bus traffic, even somehow subway traffic. Ben doesn't own a car which is why he wrote in an op-ed in the New York Daily News supporting congestion pricing and daring to go further with a bigger bolder idea. Every day, 4.4 million vehicles travel through New York City, but only 717,000 vehicles travel through Manhattan’s Central Business District daily. Instead of thinking really big, we’ve spent more than a decade fighting over a small sliver of the problem. Congestion in New York City is not caused by city residents driving into Manhattan, in part because only 1.4 million New York City households own a car. The picture is clear: The vast majority of vehicles in traffic on any given day are from outside the city.

  • Toll all entry points to New York City for all vehicles
  • New development must fund public infrastructure
  • Expand and improve existing transit infrastructure
  • High-speed automated tolling
  • Dynamic pricing
  • Real accountability
  • A lock box

The time is now for New York to finally implement congestion pricing. As Borough President Ben will take an honest look at our traffic and address the whole problem by expanding the congestion zone to all of New York City.

More Fresh Ideas: Quality of Life & Cleaning Up, Faster Commutes

Accessible Sidewalks Rally with Council Member Ben Kallos

Growing up living with two grandparents who had Parkinson's Disease, Ben knows what it is like pushing his grandparents in wheelchairs as a child on streets where corners have no ramp down to the street. New Yorkers in wheel chairs are left with the options of possibly tipping over, using a traffic with cars to find an accessible corner, or in most cases learning the corners to avoid, and taking out of the way but accessible routes to get places. That's why as a Council Member Ben Kallos introduced legislation that would mandate property owners to install and maintain sidewalk ramps or have the city step in and do it. The legislation is specifically focused on the ramps that connect crosswalks to sidewalks, many of which have fallen into a state of disrepair. In a study, the Center for the Independence of the Disabled New York has found that 75% out of 1,000 curbs in lower Manhattan were hazardous for disabled residents.

As Borough President, Ben will work with New Yorkers with disabilities to make sure every corner in Manhattan is accessible.


Learn more about Accessible Sidewalks.
Bike Safety

Ben rides a bike because sometimes it is the fastest way to get places in Manhattan, especially when traffic or public transit delays bring cabs and public transit to a grinding halt. Ben knows that everyone is safer when they have their own dedicated space on the street and that's why he has expanded sidewalks, bike lanes, safe crossings for bridges, and day lighted intersections. These infrastructure investments coupled with educating riders and commercial cyclists along with enforcement have made it safer to be a pedestrian or cyclist on the Upper East Side than it was before Ben got elected. As the next Borough President Ben will bring his "Bike Safety" program borough-wide to make it safer for everyone.


Learn more about Bike Safety.
New York Times Bike Lanes on Bridges

Thousands of New Yorkers bike, walk, and run over the Queensboro Bridge each day. The bridge has nine lanes for car traffic, yet only a narrow path along the northern edge of the bridge is open for cyclists and pedestrians to share, causing conflicts, congestion, and in the age of COVID, dangerous crowding. As you may have seen in the New York Times, that's why Ben joined rallies, protests, and even marched across the Queensboro Bridge to win a dedicated bike lane connecting our two boroughs. As the next Borough President, Ben will "bridge boroughs by bike" ensuring every bridges have a dedicated space for pedestrians and a separate protected lane for bikes to cross between the boroughs.


Learn more about Bridging Boroughs by Bike.
Plow Bike Lanes

Ben doesn't own a car and like 80% of New Yorkers he relies on our streets, bike lanes, and public transit, which can be debilitated after heavy snow fall and a failure to plow bike lanes and cross walks. As Streetsblog recently reported in January of 2021, when the pandemic caused balloting for Participatory Budgeting (PB) to be cancelled Ben still listened to advocacy from residents who emailed us leading me to team up with Council Member Keith Power to fund two snow plows for bike lanes and pedestrian intersections. However, due to needless bureaucracy and red tape the City won't use Ben's money to purchase equipment. Worse even, the City has not made plans to produce funds for the plows, the absence of which left bike lanes completely unswept for days in December. As Ben told Streetsblog: “It’s a $94-billion budget and the fact that the city can’t find $30,000 to buy a plow attachment to keep cyclists safe is a joke.” This is the definition of government not working the way it’s supposed to and it has to change.

As Borough President, Ben will buy small snow plows to clear snow from every bike lane and crosswalk in Manhattan.

Traffic in Manhattan

We all know that block that always has traffic day or night and we all know why, whether its double parked trucks or a heavy merge, there is a reason and we can fix it. As a free and open source software developer and the next Borough President Ben will use a data driven approach to fix the physical conditions that create traffic. Ben will partner with Waze to use traffic data in coordination with the Department of Transportation, Community Boards and block associations to change parking regulations and traffic flow so that one parking spot, double parked truck, or poorly planned merge doesn’t make thousands of people late.


Learn more about Use Data to Fix Traffic.
Council Member Ben Kallos rides the Ferry past Roosevelt Island

We’ve all had a train or bus shows up full, particularly when we were already late. As Council Member Ben won ferry service for two locations in his district. Manhattan is an island and ferry service for Roosevelt Island has been essential for adding transit options off and on the Island. However, the Westside and uptown communities of color were left out and we must expand the program. With current subsidies going to rides that are majority for tourism instead of work, as Borough President, Ben will advocate for an inverted peak fee structure, charging less during peak rush hour, and more on weekends and off hours to fund an expansion of the ferry to the Westside and northern Manhattan.


Learn more about Water Ways to Work.