Photo Courtesy of John McCarten/NY City Council
Brooklyn Councilman Brad Lander sponsored the bill to establish the basement apartment pilot program.
By Forum Staff
The City Council recently voted in favor of creating a pilot program to expand the City’s housing stock by facilitating the creation of basement apartments in East New York. The program would also aid eligible property owners with low-cost loans.
Introduction 1004 would establish a pilot program in Brooklyn Community Board 5 to facilitate the creation and alteration of habitable apartments in basements and cellars of certain one- and two-family dwellings. This pilot program would also assist eligible property owners with low-cost conditional loans to be overseen by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
“Converting basement units into safe and legal housing is an important way to address New York City’s affordability crisis,” said City Councilman Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn), the measure’s sponsor. “Together with advocates from the BASE (Basement Apartments Safe for Everyone) Coalition, including Chhaya CDC, Cypress Hills LDC, and the Pratt Center for Community Development, we’ve been pushing for years to bring underground units into the light. Thank you to Council Members Rafael Espinal (D-Brooklyn) and Inez Barron (D-Brooklyn) and the de Blasio administration for developing this thoughtful pilot program for East New York. I look forward to working with our partners to establish the pilot program, and then to learn the lessons we’ll need to expand the program to neighborhoods around the city.”
The council also recently voted in favor of requiring public guidelines for traffic flow designations, and increasing the requirements for street sign and pedestrian countdown display placement throughout the city.
Introduction 867 would require the City Department of Transportation to establish and maintain guidelines on its website for the criteria and considerations used to assess proposed changes of one-way streets to two-way streets and vice versa, and the process by which traffic flow changes can be requested. Additionally, the department would be required to post on its website, yearly, the requests for traffic flow changes received and the status of those requests.
Introduction 928 would require that at least two corners of a street intersection have the appropriate street name signage installed.
“Far too often, when driving it is difficult to tell what street you are on because the signs are completely faded or not there at all,” said Councilwoman Adrienne Adams (D-Jamaica), sponsor of Intros. 867 and 928. “It is important that the Department of Transportation make it a priority to replace all sun bleached signs and missing signage.”
Introduction 206 would require DOT to install pedestrian countdown displays at any intersection where there is a photo-enforced traffic violation system.
“The Department of Transportation has already determined that the intersections where they have installed red light enforcement cameras are among the most dangerous in the city, so it is just common sense to also install countdown clocks to improve safety for pedestrians and motorists at these same intersections. Pedestrian countdown clocks simply make crossing intersections safer,” said Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo (R-Staten Island), the bill’s sponsor. “DOT, to its credit, has already expanded the use of these safety devices to intersections all over the city, but I felt it was important to ensure all red light camera intersections have them.”