A reader asks:: I am working on developing ecosystems for walking in New York City. These ecosystems would work best when integrated with public transport: subways, buses, trolleys; in effect NYC Metrocards (much as they are now) would also serve as fitbits to measure walking. One of the functions of the MTA in New York City would be to promote ambulatory activity on a population wide basis. Ambulatory activity in turn would make public transport a more vital form of transport in lieu of cars. Remarkably, much of the infrastructure to make this happen is already in place in New York City. I would ask what would be the most appropriate office at the MTA to contact?

City Limits answers: Interesting idea. The MetroCard system records tons of data on the daily travels of the 5.6 million New Yorkers who use the system each weekday. It can be used to measure subway commutes but probably not walking.

The MTA posts a dataset of turnstile exits and entrances at each station that is broken out by day. Unfortunately, you’re going to have trouble plotting any travel outside the subway system with this dataset but you could can try contacting Miguel.Garcia@mtahq.org for more information.

I might suggest some other data sources though: Strava, the exercise app that records users’ activity, has created a map that tracks global activity including walking. They have also created a portal to help cities access, analyze and use this data. Wearable tracker Fitbit has also posted some analyses of its data. It shows that New York City was the most active U.S. city in 2015. The Department of Transportation also posts the results of a bi-annual survey that maps total pedestrians at major intersections.

If you’re interested in digging into the MetroCard data some more, a site called Transit Data Toolkit has a tutorial on how to analyze the dataset.

Here are a few other examples turnstile data analysis:
For examining land use (NYCEDC)
For determining where to place targeted advertisements
A cool graphic by time.

A reader asks:: In my neighborhood, there is frequent violence, threats, and intimidation targeted at women specifically. This is in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. However, all of the times that I have reported actual threats and harassment aimed at women, the call was not responded to for hours despite occasionally occurring a block from the precinct itself. The one time they apprehended the individual, they let him go right there after he easily denied the accusations. I feel unsafe in my own neighborhood, and the anxiety of facing physical violence is an indignity that I have to live with here every day. How can we make ourselves heard to the precinct?

City Limits answers: There are a few ways to get the attention of your local precinct. You might try contacting them directly. There’s a phone number here, but it might be more fruitful to email the Neighborhood Coordination Officer Supervisor SGT Jose Alegre, (Jose.Alegre@nypd.org). If that doesn’t get you anywhere, you can attend your precinct’s monthly community meeting. According to the website, meetings typically take place on the third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 PM in the precinct. Finally, try contacting your councilmembers. They are either Justin Brannan or Mark Treyger. District offices will be responsive to phone calls and the councilmember might be able to better get the attention of the NYPD.

A reader asks:: What information do you have about the District Council 45 Council primary?

City Limits answers: A special election to fill the City Council seat Jumaane Williams vacated in Brooklyn was held in mid-May. Farah Louis won the race, with 42 percent of the vote, but she must run for re-election in November and a primary for that race will be held on June 25. Here are the candidates who have registered:

• Anthony Alexis NY1 interview
• Anthony Beckford website
• Monique Chandler-Waterman website
• Farah Louis (incumbent) website
• Xamayla Rose website
• Rickie Tulloch ballotpedia.com

A reader asks:: I’ve started following bills introduced at City Council to track certain issues, what does it mean when something is “Laid Over in Committee”? I’ve been assuming it’s “soft kill” of the bill based on how the hearings go but, is that right?

City Limits answers: It is true that the last recorded action on a failed bill is often “Laid Over by Committee,” however this does not always mean that the bill has failed. “Laid Over by Committee” means that the committee to which the bill was assigned postponed action on the bill until the next legislative day. Many pieces of proposed legislation will be laid over by  a committee before being voted on the following day or at a later committee meeting. Take this bill—a proposal to require green roofs or solar panels on larger buildings— which made it to the Mayor on May 20. After a hearing in the Committee on Environmental Protection on January 28, the bill was laid over by committee. It remained that way until April 18, when it was passed, despite the committee meeting five times in the intervening period.

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