June 8, 2021 By Christina Santucci
StreetsPAC, a political action committee (PAC) aimed at improving safety on New York City’s streets and supporting policies that promote walking, biking and transit, endorsed a slate of candidates for this month’s Primary Election.
The group backed incumbent Queens Borough President Donovan Richards as its first choice for beep, followed by Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer.
“Mr. Van Bramer also has big plans for Queens’ streets if elected. And given his record, our decision was not easy. But we believe Mr. Richards is best positioned to sell the entire borough on a vision that prioritizes biking and walking and public transit while weaning Queens – especially its eastern and southern reaches – off its dependence on cars,” the PAC wrote.
Van Bramer and former Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley are running to replace Richards, who won a special election for the seat last year.
The PAC picked several solo candidates for open Council seats in the borough: Austin Shafran in Bayside’s District 19, John Choe in Flushing’s District 20, Jaslin Kaur in Oakland Gardens’ District 23, Nantasha Williams in St. Albans’ District 27, Aleda Gagarin in Forest Hills’ District 29 and Felicia Singh in Howard Beach’s District 32.
All of those candidates are seeking to replace councilmembers who are unable to run again for their respective districts because of term limits.
StreetsPAC also backed Juan Ardila, who is looking to unseat Councilmember Bob Holden in District 30, which includes Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village and parts of Ridgewood, Woodhaven and Woodside.
For several Queens Council races, the group ranked candidates in order of preference.
The June primary will be the first time ranked-choice voting – in which voters can rank up to five candidates in order of preference – will be used citywide. The system was previously utilized in two Queens council races earlier this year.
In Astoria’s District 22, which was previously represented by Councilmember Costa Constantinides, the PAC said it supported Tiffany Cabán as its ranked first choice and Evie Hantzopolous in second.
“Primary voters in this western Queens Council district have a number of excellent candidates from whom to choose, but for us, two rose to the top,” the group wrote.
Shekar Krishnan scored StreetsPAC’s ranked first choice endorsement for District 25 – now held by Councilmember Danny Dromm – followed by Carolyn Tran in the second spot.
Meanwhile in District 26, which has 15 candidates running on the Democratic line, the group co-endorsed Amit Bagga and Julie Won, and selected Jesse Laymon for the third ballot position.
“The crowded race to succeed term-limited Jimmy Van Bramer includes a number of outstanding candidates, and we were ultimately unable to choose a favorite between our top two,” the PAC said.
For comptroller, StreetsPAC backed City Council Speaker Corey Johnson as its first choice and Councilmember Brad Lander for the second position.
The group also announced Tuesday that it is supporting former NYC Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia for mayor.
Early voting begins Saturday, and the Primary Day is June 22.
StreetsPAC was founded by a group of advocates in 2013. The organization described its mission as electing officials who work to make roadways, sidewalks and plazas safer and more livable and create streets that are efficient for walking, transit, cycling, wheelchair access and vehicle drop offs.
In its first year, the group backed then-Public Advocate Bill de Blasio for mayor