2016-12-28 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Holidays’ True Meaning

To The Editor:

I am impressed with the letters from police commanders about being safe during the holiday season, and also with the editorial about the meaning of the holiday season. To me, giving of oneself, volunteering, making a difference in another’s life by giving them light, loving kindness and emotional support are the true meanings of Chanukah and Christmas. Gifts and commercialization have become the meaning of these two holidays and it is a sad state of affairs.

I am glad that Senator Avella will be running for mayor. I had the occasion of meeting him twice; once while testifying at the City Council in 2011, and then at a local senior center. He is for the people and would be more effective than this present mayor.

Photographic proof is important in giving summonses.

I am dismayed at the manner in which the snow was not removed on the highways the Grand Central Parkway and Long Island Expressway in Queens last Saturday. The roads should have been sanded, since driving was treacherous and a sheet of ice could have caused fatalities. If weather such as snow or ice is predicted, proactivity must be considered; the roads should be sanded beforehand. It took one hour to get from Little Neck to Astoria, and usually it is about a 25- minute ride.

Safety is important; and driving children 15 and younger while drunk is a felony.

I am glad that our mayor was fined for wrongdoing. He is not above the law, and neither are correction officers, police and other public officials whom we hold in high esteem and who set an example for us in terms of behaving properly.

It is only proper to fine those drivers who illegally park in handicapped parking spaces. They are taking the right of mobility away from a person who is disabled.

I cannot understand why it costs so much for the city to house a homeless family in a hotel for one night. These hotels have no social workers, no day care, and are becoming warehouses. Something drastic must be done in order to remedy this situation.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

Defend Ally, Israel

To The Editor:

The latest UN Security Council vote regarding the validity of Israeli settlements on occupied land has caused quite a stir between Israel and the US. The US abstained from voting for this resolution, which has made Israel furious. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it very clear to President Obama that this was totally unacceptable to have done. Israel, which is one of our country’s true allies, is being forced into a corner. But Israel will not allow the world community to push it around. When Donald Trump assumes the presidency, the first thing he needs to do is to affirm our country’s loyalty to Israel, and the second thing that he must do is to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

John Amato
Fresh Meadows

Why No Transp. Bond Issue?

To The Editor:

New Yorkers missed out by not bypassing our own local election day ballot transportation funding initiative. Voters around the nation passed 36 of 49 city and state transportation funding proposals worth over $200 billion. Our New York City and Metro New York area is still looking for $80 billion-plus needed to fund major capital transportation improvements. Millions to billions more could be necessary by the time any project is completed and the true final costs are accounted for. Everyone has their own priority wish list which, in many cases, conflicts with others who have different agendas.

One potential funding source for some of these projects could be future 2020 - 2024 or 2025 - 2029 Metropolitan Transportation Authority Five Year Capital Program Plans.

The list includes, but is not limited to, the following projects or proposals:

 Many City Councilmembers are supporting the Commuter Rail Fare Equalization Proposal. This would allow city residents to pay the same $2.75 fare on the LIRR or Metro-North Rail Road as riding the city Transit Subway and provide a free transfer to the city subway. How will city provide the MTA with $200 million to cover the cost?

 $6 billion will be needed to construct Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway. This will leave a balance of $14 billion more to pay for Phases 3 & 4 of the Second Avenue Subway. What about finding $800 million to build the new #7 subway station at 10th Avenue and 41st?

 $200 million is needed for the new Metro North Riverdale & West Bronx service to Penn Station. The LaGuardia Airport Train to the Plane base line budget of $450 million will require up to an additional $550 million, in the years to come. The final cost may be closer to $1 billion.

 The $3 billion new Penn Station will end up needing far more than $300 million in combined assistance from the MTA, New Jersey Transit, Amtrak, along with Port Authority of NY and NJ. Does anyone really believe that potential developers will spend $2.7 billion of their own funding to pay for this? Staten Island residents will continue looking for $600 million for the North Shore Bus Rapid Transit. Don't forget $1.5 billion for West Shore Bus Rapid Transit along with new ferry services.

 Queens residents will be looking for $200 million toward the $400 million Woodhaven Blvd. Select Bus Service. These dollars may be necessary if NYCDOT is unable to secure $200 million in US Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration New Starts funding.

 Others will continue to lobby for $100 million to construct Light Rail between Glendale and Long Island City on the old Montauk LIRR branch; restoration of LIRR service on the old Rockaway Beach LIRR branch at $1 billion; Triboro X Subway Express (new subway line connecting the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn) for $2 billion; Main Street Flushing Intermodal Bus Terminal, $100 million; reopening the Woodhaven Blvd. Atlantic Branch LIRR Station, $40 million; and the Brooklyn-Queens Waterfront Street Car Connector (BQX) at a cost of $2.5 billion. This would connect various neighborhoods along the waterfront from Sunset Park, Brooklyn to Astoria, Queens.

Mayor de Blasio's earlier "One NYC" Master Plan called for construction of the Utica Avenue subway originally proposed in 1910. The MTA will initiate a feasibility study for this proposal. The concept would construct extensions for both the #3 and #4 original IRT subway lines in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. It would be built along Utica Avenue from Eastern Parkway to Avenue U. Costs for both the first phase of Second Avenue and #7 subway line extensions averaged $2 billion plus per mile. One can only imagine how many billions would be required to do the same along Utica Avenue.

The Port Authority of NY and NJ needs $1.8 billion for the PATH Newark to Newark Airport Extension, $10 billion for the new 42nd Street Manhattan Bus Terminal and $10 billion for the Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel which would put trucks on trains between New Jersey to either Brooklyn or Queens through to Long Island.

Many neighborhoods are looking for introduction of either Select Bus Service (SBS); Bus Rapid Transit (BRT); Limited Stop Bus to Subway or Express Bus Service to Manhattan. There is still the need to bring many of the 468 NYC Transit subway, 21 Long Island Rail Road, 13 Metro North Rail Road and 23 Staten Island Rapid Transit stations back up to a state of good repair. Don't forget the need for additional subway, LIRR, Metro North and SIRT stations to become fully compliant with the Americans for Disability Act (ADA) by construction of elevators.

How would the MTA, Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio find the cash for all these projects? The US DOT Federal Transit Administration may be possible funding sources for some of these projects. Clearly both city and state will have to contribute some significant funding if many of these projects will ever see the light of day.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

Betting On Avella

To The Editor:

State Senator Tony Avella (D-Bayside) has launched his bid for the Democratic nomination for mayor of New York City, a challenge to Mayor Bill de Blasio. He did this at the Holiday Inn in Maspeth, which is yet another dumping ground for the homeless. I praise Senator Avella who wants to stop this and to establish more viable solutions. I have known Senator Avella for a number of years, and attended various award events which Senator Avella also attended. I spoke to him and found him a man concerned with the issues affecting the citizens of this great city. He is now very concerned with the homeless. I remember when he was a councilman and there was a vote to increase the pay of the City Council members and Tony voted against it. I feel that he believed this was the wrong time with so many out of work due to our last recession, and showed a bad example with so many suffering. I found myself homeless after my discharge from the United States Navy. I had no family or friends who could help me. I remember the fear, loneliness, and the bitter cold in February of 1975. If it was not for the kindness of an immigrant from Nigeria named Cyril, who offered me a place to stay until I got a job I don’t know what would have happened to me. I therefore believe Senator Tony Avella deserves a chance to make things right for the homeless and their plight. Mayor Bill de Blasio and his homeless policies have failed the homeless. These families and individuals need help now! Whether one is a Republican or a Democrat, we need a person who can effect change, and I hope Senator Tony Avella is just such a person.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

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