City Council Speaker Corey Johnson wants New York City to take control of the subway system, ban automobiles from a slew of busy streets (including Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg), build more bus and bike lanes, and seriously consider removing a chunk of the crumbling Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

Johnson outlined his aggressive proposal to remake New York's transportation infrastructure in his first State of the City speech on Tuesday, which was accompanied by a 104-page report that attempts to wrestle with problems that have bedeviled governors, mayors, and legislators for decades.

Some of the Speaker's proposals require state approval, like passing congestion pricing and a millionaire's tax, and giving the city the authority to raise and lower certain kinds of taxes to meet the subway's revenue needs. The report sometimes gives simple-sounding solutions to politically fraught, complicated issues—to lower MTA labor costs, the report suggests consolidation, improved procurement processes, and that labor and management should "work together" to find savings.

But where Albany fails on issues like congestion pricing, Johnson thinks the City can use "home rule authority" to pass it anyway. And the report acknowledges what many safe streets advocates have said throughout Mayor Bill de Blasio's first term: the city can and should be doing significantly more to make streets safer and less congested.

Listen to WNYC’s Stephen Nessen discuss Speaker Johnson’s plan:

"DOT has full control over our streets and has both the power and the resources to radically transform our streetscapes for increased and improved accessibility, safety, connectivity, and resilience," the report states.

Last month, Mayor de Blasio pledged to put in 10 to 15 miles of bus lanes each year, up from 7 miles a year. Johnson wants 30 miles, and he wants to give buses transit signal priority in 1,000 more intersections.

At a City Council hearing last month, Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg was skeptical that the city could build 50 miles of protected bike lanes each year. Johnson's goal is 50 miles, with "minimum design standards" for what constitutes a protected bike lane, and the ultimate goal of making 14 percent of all trips taken by New Yorkers bicycle rides by 2050 (as of 2017 it was 3 percent).

Johnson's report also suggests using existing zoning laws to install more elevators into subway stations to increase accessibility, and addresses the fight over the DOT's BQE repairs in Brooklyn Heights, which would close down the Promenade for at least six years. The DOT "should study alternatives to the reconstruction of this Robert Moses-era six lane highway, including the removal of the BQE in its entirety," the report suggests. (The environmental review process for the BQE project begins later in 2019 and is expected to take two years. In meantime, the DOT says it's looking at "a range of options," including Johnson's.)

Citing the success of Summer Streets, Johnson's report says that areas in the Financial District, Chinatown, Brooklyn Heights, Bushwick, and Sunset Park should be pedestrianized or turned into shared streets. Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg is "ripe for permanent pedestrianization," the report notes. "Critical pedestrianization efforts in New York City have taken a backseat to small-scale and incremental Vision Zero interventions, despite their success and popularity."

Councilmember Antonio Reynoso, whose district includes portions of Bedford Avenue, told Gothamist he supported the Speaker's proposal.

“My district currently ranks forty-sixth out of fifty-one council districts in terms of park and playground acreage. We could change this if so much space weren’t dedicated to roadways and the storage of vehicles," Reynoso said in a statement. "Speaker Johnson’s proposal to permanently pedestrianize Bedford Avenue would reclaim open space for residents and would help bring health and wellness benefits to my community for generations to come. Furthermore, the pedestrianization would serve as a precedent in the fight to break car culture and truly prioritize pedestrians in New York City.”

Johnson's most audacious proposal is the creation of Big Apple Transit, an entity that would control the subway and bus systems, the Staten Island Railroad, and the bridges and tunnels, and would be answerable to the mayor. (Johnson has all but announced he is running for mayor in 2021.). The MTA would retain control of the LIRR, Metro-North, suburban buses, and capital projects. The portion of the MTA that still has to service decades-old debt would be spun off into an entity that only exists to eliminate that debt.

Asked for a comment on Johnson's proposal, Dani Lever, a spokesperson for Governor Andrew Cuomo, who controls the MTA, released this statement: "The City already owns the New York City transit system."

While this is technically true, it is deeply disingenuous: the City leases the subways to the State, and the MTA, an agent of the state, is controlled by Governor Cuomo, who recently proved his dominance over the authority by bypassing the MTA board to scrap the L train shutdown and replace it with a different plan created by his own handpicked experts.

Former MTA Chairman Joe Lhota, a Cuomo appointee who also repeated the governor's assertion that the MTA actually did not control the subway system, told reporters after Johnson's speech that he supported the Speaker's proposal.

“I proposed mayoral control of the NYC Subway in 2013 when I was a candidate for mayor," Lhota said. "I applaud the Speaker and his vision for the City.”

Lhota said Johnson was starting what would be a long conversation but likened it to similar ones started when the city took control of schools and when the housing police were merged with the NYPD.

Richard Ravitch, a former MTA CEO and chairman, called the Speaker's plan "a very thoughtful proposal, I just don't agree with it."

"He should use his growing political stature to get the governor and legislature to appoint a board to the MTA that will follow 2009 statue in respect to the governance of the MTA," Ravitch said. "I would not suggest he look to impose more financial responsibility on the city as distinct from the region."

Seth Stein, a spokesperson for the mayor, defended de Blasio's record on safe streets. “The mayor has dramatically increased the installation of protected bike lanes - over 20 miles a year along major corridors - and installed 37 miles of bus lanes," Stein said. "We appreciate the Speaker’s support of this effort, and look forward to doing even more to help New Yorkers get around our great city.”

Danny Pearlstein, the policy and communications director from the Riders Alliance, pointed to Mayor de Blasio's announcement of bus improvements last month and told Gothamist it was a "great day for bus riders—the two million riders that are stuck right now, every day, in miserable traffic."

"Today Corey is resoundingly seconding [the mayor's announcement], he's promising the bus riders they deserve much better. We're excited to work with the mayor and council going forward to make sure these improvements are happening," Pearlstein said.

As for City control of the subways, Pearlstein said that passing congestion pricing in Albany should be the first priority.

"Once that's been implemented, there will be ample time for conversations to make sure that the subway never falls apart again."

Additional reporting from Brigid Bergin and Stephen Nessen.