2016-04-20 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Kos Vs. Rockaway Rail

To The Editor:

I am adamantly opposed to the reactivation of the non-operational, abandoned section of the Long Island Rail Road also known as Rockaway Beach Branch Line (RBBL), and here’s why.

While I am a dedicated transportation advocate with a proven record of supporting the improvement of transportation options enjoyed by the residents of our great city, spending hundreds of millions of dollars to study and then reconstruct this outdated rail line which last ran more than 50 years ago is not an option that should be considered.

Proponents have secured funding for another study regarding reactivating the obsolete RBBL, however, after this study is presented, in order to finish this massive project, a substantial amount of activity must be completed before a shovel even hits the ground, not the least of which is securing the necessary funding for all phases of the operation. Among the numerous tasks that need to be finalized may include but are not limited to: design consultant selection and contract registration, preliminary design work, environmental impact statement reviews, community outreach for preliminary design, final design work, real property acquisition, obtaining needed permits, bid-award and registration of construction contracts, construction procurement, and then actual construction for the approximately 3.5-mile route. Indeed, another 50 years might pass before all this happens. Focusing on other actual and achievable transportation alternatives would be more helpful.

Residents of Southern Queens should never have their interests put against the interests of those people living in other Queens neighborhoods. That is why I actively support the introduction of bus routes to the nearest subway station, expansion of express bus service into Manhattan, and subsidies to support full-time ferry service for Southern Queens commuters looking for new and better transportation options that have an actual opportunity to reach service sooner rather than later.

The Rego Park/Forest Hills area already has an active LIRR line running through it which causes my constituents grief to no end. I am constantly confronted by local residents and business owners complaining of the noise and vibration emanating from this rail service and the trash in and around the tracks. Local homeowners and apartment owners have consistently told me about conversations that need to be stopped in mid-sentence when a train goes by. Sleep is often interrupted, dinnerware vibrates on tables, and windows facing the railroad are rarely opened. As a result, I am a regular correspondent with current LIRR President Patrick Nowakowski, and routinely “harassed” his predecessor, former LIRR President Thomas Prendergast with complaints.

To have an additional line in our community which literally runs through people’s backyards, in a densely populated residential area, near our schools, little league fields and houses of worship means much more noise, more trash, more destructive vibration, more intrusiveness, and drastically lowers property values. Reactivation would have a devastating impact upon the people of the 29th Council District, and that is why I steadfastly oppose this disastrous and dangerous plan.

Karen Koslowitz
Council Member
29th District

Eating Sustainably

To The Editor:

With the 47th annual observance of Earth Day just around the corner, this is a great time to explore more effective ways of slowing climate change and conserving Earth’s natural resources for future generations.

A 2010 UN report charged animal agriculture with 19% of man-made greenhouse gases – more than all transport – and recommended a global shift to a vegan diet. A subsequent World Watch study placed that contribution closer to 50%. Meat and dairy production also dumps more water pollutants than all other human activities combined. It is the driving force in global deforestation and wildlife habitat destruction.

Last fall, England’s prestigious Chatham House declared that reducing meat consumption is critical to achieving global climate goals. A report from Oxford University found that global adoption of a vegan diet would reduce greenhouse emissions by two thirds. The 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has recommended reduced meat consumption and an environmentally sustainable diet.

Just as we replace fossil fuels by wind, solar, and other sustainable energy sources, we must replace animal foods with the more sustainable vegetables, fruits, and grains. Being mindful of this can help us make better choices at the supermarket.

Felix Britt
Fresh Meadows

Return PS 130 To Nabe

To The Editor:

How would you feel if your child was not able to attend the elementary school in his/her own neighborhood but instead had to be bused to an overcrowded school in another area?

For years, this has been the situation for the children living within walking distance of PS 130 located on 42nd Avenue at Francis Lewis Blvd. on the Auburndale/Bayside border. The children are bused instead to three different overcrowded elementary schools in District 26.

PS 130, geographically in District 26, is used by predominantly District 25 students, grades K to 3, most of whom are bused or transported to the school from distances far away. The school is a special one for science and technology. There is also a school on the first floor of the building for special needs children.

The residents living around PS 130 have been advocating for years to have the school returned to the local community. It formerly was a K-6, school until it was closed through political maneuvering due to city budget problems. Most residents feel that the special needs school should stay at PS 130 and the upper two floors be used once again for neighborhood children.

The Auburndale Improvement Association, the local civic organization, has been leading the fight, along with local residents, to return PS 130 for use by neighborhood children. We feel that it is in the best educational interest for our children to attend a neighborhood school and also to develop a sense of community centered around the school. We have gathered about 200 signed petitions, many with comments, from residents living near PS 130, demanding the return of the school.

A new elementary school is under construction on the former Keil property on 48th Avenue and 211th Street. The decision to build a school there, right near PS 31 and MS 158, was a very unpopular one. The lot is oddly shaped and goes up the middle of the block right adjacent to many residents’ backyards. The area is already congested with traffic and there will be no on site parking at the new school. Despite all of these problems and community opposition, the School Construction Authority and the Department of Education went ahead with the new building.

On Wednesday, April 20th, at 7 pm, the Community District Education Council 26 will be holding a public hearing at MS 74, located at 61-15 Oceania Street, Bayside. The purpose of the hearing is to get public reaction to the proposed new boundaries that are being set up to accommodate the new school that is under construction. The boundaries will affect several other elementary schools in the area.

The Auburndale Improvement Association feels that this is the perfect time to advocate for the return of PS 130 to the local community. Perhaps the current school at PS 130 should be transferred to the new school, leaving the local community around PS 130 to utilize their school once again. The new school must also be available to District 26 children. Or perhaps it is time for the SCA to construct a new school in District 25 for the benefit of the children currently attending PS 130. In any case, now is the moment for movement on this long standing community issue.

Terri Pouymari, President
Henry Euler, First Vice President
Auburndale Improvement Association

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