News | Morningside Heights

New draft maps for City Council lines released

On Monday night, the New York City Districting Commission released new draft maps for City Council lines that appear to address a number of concerns raised by local community groups and elected officials.

Melissa Mark-Viverito, who represents District 8 in East Harlem, still has her district split between Manhattan and the Bronx, almost exactly 50-50. According to the commission, the division was necessary due to rapid population growth in the Bronx.

Randall’s Island, which had been placed into a Queens district in previous draft maps, was moved back into Mark-Viverito’s district. The proposed District 8 also includes landmarks like La Marqueta, El Museo del Barrio, and Mount Sinai Hospital, the exclusion of which opponents had objected to during public testimony over the last few months.

Mark-Viverito was unavailable for comment Tuesday.

In addition, the new lines further unified the Manhattan Valley area of the Upper West Side. While the current lines—as well as previous draft maps—divide the area into three different districts, the new maps split the neighborhood into two at Broadway, with the west side in District 6, represented by City Council member Gale Brewer, and the east side in District 7, represented by City Council member Robert Jackson.

Local leaders who had called for a cleaner break and more unified districts voiced positive responses to the new maps.

“I’m very pleased,” said Democratic District Leader Bob Botfeld, adding that it looked like the districting commissioners had heard locals’ complaints about past maps.

The new lines “integrate a community that’s worked very closely together the last 15 years,” he said.

For the first time, the commission also released a staff memorandum that outlined the rationale behind the placement of the district lines. In a statement, Citizens Union, a group that describes itself as “dedicated to making democracy work for all New Yorkers,” called the release of the memorandum “unprecedented transparency and robust disclosure.”

The districting commission will vote on the latest draft maps Wednesday evening. If they are approved, the City Council will need to vote on the maps before they go into effect for primaries later this year.

news@columbiaspectator.com | @ColumbiaSpec

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