Speed Hump, Street Renaming Issues Raised At Board 2
A speed hump in Sunnyside, a street renaming south of Queens Boulevard and the annual capital and expense budgets were three of several items covered at the October meeting of Community Board 2, held at Sunnyside Community Services. The budgets, with their ranking of civic items according to critical need or desirability, were settled with relative ease. The speed hump and the street renaming brought up questions of hasty preparation. A group protesting MTA fare raises saw tempers flaring over the topic of pay restrictions. Environmental news and a tribute to a retiring board member rounded out the evening.
Tanya Moore, who lives on 46th Street in Sunnyside, said the block of 49th Street between 39th Avenue and Skillman Avenue is a street sorely in need of a speed hump. Her street has one, for which she campaigned three years ago, she said. A neighbor told how her daughter was killed on 46th street by a car that might have been delayed by a speed hump, which had not been installed at the time of the fatality. She was in favor of a speed hump three blocks away. Later in the meeting, Board Chairman Joseph Conley, who arrived after testimony in favor of the speed hump had been heard, asked if there had been any testimony in opposition, adding that he had received e-mails from persons who find the warning signs ugly and the humps themselves a source of noise made by cars going over them perhaps a little too fast. Lisa Ann Deller, head of the land use committee and also a Gardens resident, said she personally opposed a speed hump, and observed that nobody living on 49th Street had spoken for it at the meeting. After several board members aired differing opinions, Conley said the issue should be tabled until more testimony has come in. The item was tabled, with one person abstaining.
A short presentation by representatives of Rider Rebellion, protesting the latest fare increase by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority—the third in three years, they said—characterized the MTA schoolchildren who have run wild while the teacher, in the form of elected officials, has left the classroom. Al Volpe, a board member, didn’t disagree, but said it is immediately imperative to freeze all MTA salaries, including those of Transport Workers Union employees. Another board member said that trying to freeze union employees’ pay like that was another attack on the middle class. A daytime Rider Rebellion rally is on schedule to be held in Union Square, Wednesday, October 27.
The street renaming, tentatively at 45th Street and 48th Avenue, is for the late Claire Kraft, a woman active in the Sunnyside community for some 70 years. Luke Adams, executive director of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, called her tireless and dedicated, a Republican to his Democrat, but a truly admirable person. He related how one year, when he and fellow activists had to beg funds of local merchants so lights could be strung on Queens Boulevard for the Christmas season, Kraft went into the Merry-Go-Round, a topless bar then active locally, and asked the proprietor for a contribution, surprising him so that he couldn’t refuse her. Don McCallion, president of the United Forties Civic Association, noted that the address for the proposed Claire Kraft Way was only a request, one that must be decided by the Department of Transportation. The motion passed easily; however, Al Volpe said he agreed with the Claire Kraft Way motion but complained that the criteria for nominating are faulty. He submitted as evidence a recent Woodside renaming in honor of a person who had died of cancer before he was 40. Decades of service were one thing, Volpe said, but dying young, while lamentable, was by itself an inadequate criterion.
A Board of Standards and Appeals application for a special order calendar application that ultimately would allow a building project at 5-11 47th Ave., including a mixed use building and a CUNY dormitory was laid over. Speaking for O’Connor Partners, owner of the project, was Howard Goldman, who requested the matter be taken up at the November meeting.
News from Hunters Point was delivered by Peter Johnson, a resident with a series of complaints about the $2.57 million improvement project at Murray Playground. Despite that large budget, he said, the square-block park bordered by 45th Road, 11th Street, 45th Avenue and 21st Street is a disaster area. Trash piles up, rats move in, trees are planted badly and soon die, he said, concluding that Parks and Recreation is consistent only in its incompetence. Conley said that responsibility for sick or dying trees in the playground rests chiefly with the contractors hired by P. & R.
Penny Lee of the Department of City Planning announced that a brownfields meeting related to the Newtown Creek would be held at St. Mary’s Church, Vernon Boulevard and 10th Street, at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, October 27. Dorothy Morehead, of the board’s environmental committee, said that since Newtown Creek is now a Superfund site, five major corporations that have had industrial plants on the creek are open to pollution abatement lawsuits. Two of those corporations are Exxon Mobil, cited for causing one of the largest oil leaks in U.S. history –one that emptied into Newtown Creek–and Phelps Dodge, which, when it closed its Maspeth operation, left behind acres of pollution many feet deep.
Marvin Jeffcoat, who is leaving Board 2 for other pursuits, was presented with a plaque for his service on the military veterans committee and his work on behalf of residents of the veterans' shelter on Borden Avenue in Long Island City. Jeffcoat said that though he is leaving the board, he will be remaining in the area and will always serve the veterans. He left so much applause.