Sunday, June 17, 2007

Two from BrooklynSpeaks member groups join Bloomberg's administration

Mayor Mike Bloomberg's administration, as part of its long-term sustainability initiative, has hired some well-respected analysts and advocates who've spent a long time on the outside looking in.

As Streetsblog has reported, Project for Public Spaces (PPS) vice president and transportation program director Andy Wiley-Schwartz will join the Department of Transportation's (DOT) new Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, reporting to new Deputy Commissioner Bruce Schaller. And Jon Orcutt, former director of the Tri-State Transportation Council (TSTC) has joined DOT to serve as senior policy advisor to the new commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan.

Aaron Naparstek of Streetsblog calls it "totally unimaginable just a few months ago."

Both PPS and TSTC have offered savvy criticism of Atlantic Yards both independently and as part of the BrooklynSpeaks coalition. Should the project continue to move forward, at least some city government officials will have taken a close look at the challenges.

More unimaginings

Another "totally unimaginable" appointment would be an affordable housing advocate from the Fifth Avenue Committee or the Pratt Area Community Council, whose organizations are both members of BrooklynSpeaks, to the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).

There, perhaps, questions might be raised about the devotion of scarce affordable housing resources to one project, and the cost per unit at Atlantic Yards versus other options. However, wholesale revisions in the Atlantic Yards project, as opposed to traffic mitigations and the potential tweaking of open space, are not on the table at this time.

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