Participatory Budgets Up for Vote

| 31 Mar 2015 | 02:13

Participatory budgeting is a city council program in which community members get to vote on how to spend part of a public budget. In other words, the people who pay taxes decide how tax dollars get spent.

In 2011, four New York City Council members launched a participatory budgeting process to let residents allocate part of their capital discretionary funds. Those are funds that can be used for physical improvements that benefit the public, and each district has committed at least $1 million. This year, 24 council members are participating in the process, giving the community real decision-making power over more than $25 million in taxpayer money.

Below are participatory budgeting proposals for improving the Upper West Side, as well as times and locations where residents in the district can vote on how they’d like to use their tax dollars. Residents can vote for up to five proposals from among the following:


1. Upgrades at 589 Amsterdam Ave. (NYCHA)

COST: $500,000

LOCATION: 589 Amsterdam Ave., at 88th Street

DESCRIPTION: Upgrade and improve the upper and lower recreation area behind the 589 Amsterdam Ave. building to provide residents with chairs, tables, benches and trees to use for congregating and leisurely activities.

2. Barrels Playground Renovation

COST: $500,000

LOCATION: West 61st Street and West End Avenue (Amsterdam Houses)

DESCRIPTION: Renovating playground and outdated equipment at the Amsterdam Houses barrel playground to benefit resident families and children.

Transit, Sidewalks, and Transportation

3. Countdown Clocks at Crosstown Bus Stops

COST: $240,000

LOCATION: Crosstown bus stops throughout the district, at 96th, 86th, 79th and & 66th Streets.

DESCRIPTION: Installing real-time passenger information clocks at eastbound 96th, 86th, 79th and 66th Street bus stops to improve public transportation experience.

4. 70th Street Permanent Safety improvements

COST: $300,000

LOCATION: 70th Street between Broadway & Amsterdam Avenue

DESCRIPTION: Permanent safety improvements to pedestrian crossing area by building out painted areas. The project will extend to West End Avenue and 70th Street. *Project submitted by the DOT (not through community process)

5. Curb Cut Repairs at 680 Amsterdam Ave.

COST: $115,000

LOCATION: 680 Amsterdam Ave., at 93rd Street

DESCRIPTION: Repairing existing curb-cut on northwest corner of 93rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue. Determined by Community Board 7 survey and by assessment from the Department of Transportation.

Parks, Playground, and Environment

6. Hudson Beach Recreation Area Upgrade

COST: $130,000s

LOCATION: Riverside Park at 103rd Street and Riverside Drive

DESCRIPTION: Installation of adult workout equipment and upgrade of the Swing-A-Ring area in Riverside Park to promote safety and better use of the area.

7. Hudson River Greenway Bike Safety Improvements

COST: $200,000

LOCATION: Hudson River Greenway from 72nd to 84th Streets (Riverside Park)

DESCRIPTION: Implementation of safety measures to separate the path on the popular Hudson River Greenway into cyclist and pedestrian routes in order to decrease congestion and promote safety.

8. Pick-up truck for Garbage Collection

COST: $40,000

LOCATION: Riverside Park

DESCRIPTION: Purchasing a new crew cab pick-up truck for increased garbage collection to be used throughout Riverside Park by the Parks Department.

Education and Youth

9. Air Conditioning for P.S. 191 Lunchroom

COST: $250,000

LOCATION: P.S. 191 The Museum Magnet School located at 210 W. 61st St.

DESCRIPTION: Wiring to create a split screen to provide air conditioning for the lunchroom in P.S. 191. This will provide a comfortable environment for students during the warmer months of the year.

10. A Garden at P.S. 191

COST: $200,000

LOCATION: P.S. 191. The Museum Magnet School located at 210 W 61st St.

DESCRIPTION: Creating a garden and green space at P.S. 191 for students.

11. Technology Upgrades at Brandeis Campus

COST: $200,000

LOCATION: Louis D. Brandeis High School complex, 145 West 84 St.

DESCRIPTION: Enhancing the technological department of the schools located in the Louis D. Brandeis High School complex through new computers and smart boards.

12. Inclusive Playground at M.S.C.

COST: $300,000

LOCATION: Joan of Arc School Complex on West 93rd Street and Columbus Avenue (houses PS 333, Manhattan School for children and Middle schools: MS 258 and MS 256)

DESCRIPTION: Initial scope and planning for an all-inclusive and accessible playground in the Joan of Arc School complex to enable children with disabilities to freely play and interact with other students.

13. Turf Athletic Field at MLK High School

COST: $300,000

LOCATION: Martin Luther King, Jr. Campus (122 Amsterdam Ave., at 65th Street)

DESCRIPTION: Initial design for the construction of an 11,000-square-foot illuminated, artificial turf athletic field. It will serve as practice space for multiple school sports teams & for community sports programs.

Seniors, Culture, and Community Facilities

14. Mobile Food Pantry for West Side Campaign against Hunger

COST: $250,000

LOCATION: West Side Campaign Against Hunger is located at 86th Street between Broadway and West End Avenue – the mobile food pantry will travel to sites throughout the district

DESCRIPTION: Purchasing a specialized van to serve as a food pantry to provide food & social services to those in need. The van will be operated and maintained by the West Side Campaign Against Hunger.

15. Air Conditioning Renovations at the NYPL for the Performing Arts

COST: $350,000

LOCATION: The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts on 65th Street and Amsterdam Avenue

DESCRIPTION: Renovating a 40-year-old air conditioning system at the New York Public Library of Performing Arts will allow visitors to comfortably access the library during the warmer months.

Voting Dates and Locations:

Project Expos

Monday, April 13

5 p.m.–7 p.m.

Riverside Library Branch

127 Amsterdam Ave.

(Between 65th Street & 66th Street)

Wednesday, April 15

8:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m.

Broadway Mall Community Center

West 96th Street & Broadway

Friday, April 17

4 p.m.–6 p.m.

Outside Council Member Rosenthal’s District Office

563 Columbus Ave.

(On the corner of 87th Street)

Saturday, April 18

Noon–4 p.m.

YMCA Parkside Lounge Room

5 West 63rd St.

(Between Central Park West and Columbus Ave.)

Sunday, April 19

Noon–4 p.m.

Community Board 7 Offices

250 W. 87th St., First floor

(Between Broadway and West End Ave.)

Council member Helen Rosenthal’s district office (87th Street and Columbus) will be a permanent voting location during the week of April 13 through April 17. They are open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Voting is from April 13 through April 19. Ballots can also be mailed to individual residences, but residents must request one by April 10, by calling the district office at 212-873-0282 ext. 206 or emailing

Ballots must be returned no later than April 19. Rosenthal’s office will also have pop-up voting stations around the district.