2017-03-29 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Yield To Pedestrians

To The Editor:

Frederique Rowe lost her one-year-old daughter, Skylar Perkins, who was in her pink stroller when she was run over a pickup truck, on 23rd Ave in East Elmhurst. The mother was crossing when the light turned green but the driver making a turn in his truck apparently didn’t realize pedestrians have the right of way. This case is one of many deaths by careless drivers who are too much in a hurry to care about pedestrians who follow the rules of crossing the street. For the most part, pedestrians follow the rule of “crossing at the green, not in between.” I can testify to that fact because last year I did not have a car for six weeks and had to take three buses in each direction, and was forced to cross various intersections to get to my next bus. I traveled back and forth between Bellerose and Mineola. I had to cross at one point at Lakeville Road and Union Turnpike, and another intersection at New Hyde Park Road and Jericho Turnpike, and found it dangerous. The traffic lights seem to me to favor the car traffic and not the pedestrians. I seemed to wait a long time for the lights to turn green so I could cross safely. I am a senior citizen, have bad knees and can’t walk too fast to get across the street. When I crossed at the green – when the light told me to walk – a couple of times I was almost hit by cars trying to make their turns in a hurry. At times I was forced to hold up my hands in a motion to stop cars and hope I would not get hit. Now I am driving again and I am increasingly aware of the pedestrians in the walkway and proceed with caution. I only wish other drivers would show more concern and follow the rules of the road in regard to pedestrians. If this does not happen, more children like Skylar will surely die for no reason. In closing, my heartfelt prayers go out to Frederique Rowe, who lost her most precious daughter to a careless driver. Remember a mother’s grief over the loss of a child is most sad indeed.

Frederick R. Bedell, Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

Terrorism Every Day

To The Editor:

I am appalled and again full of sorrow to learn of the terrorism in England at Parliament. That is shameful. I also am appalled to learn about all of the hate crimes, murders and stabbings that are occurring. There seems to be no good or positive news anymore. Sad to say, where is the optimistic spirit of community?

I am also appalled that Trump wants to reduce funds for anti-terrorism in NYC, which is a target. This is an abomination and our city is the capital of the world in terms of tourism, etc.

How could such uncaring be thrust upon our city, that suffered so much after the 9/11 terrorist attacks?

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

Rally Against Cruel Cuts

Dear Friend,

I don’t know about you, but I was disgusted when I saw President Trump’s proposed budget, which includes cuts to public housing, programs that help low income and elderly Americans, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency.

As the Chair of the Committee on Cultural Affairs and Libraries, I was especially appalled at the millions cut from arts, culture, and libraries:

• $148 million from the National Endowment for the Arts

• $230 million from the Institute of Museum and Library Services

• $148 million from the National Endowment for the Humanities

• $445 million from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

By eliminating funding for these endowments and agencies, President Trump has demonstrated a fundamental disregard for our nation’s artists, our children who grow and learn through the arts, and to all of us who have experienced the joy and power of the arts and humanities.

This proposal, if enacted, would destroy so much of what we value as a society.

When we see our values under attack, we organize and fight back!

Join me and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for a RALLY TO SAVE THE ARTS on Monday, April 3rd at 12 pm, at City Hall.

Check out our Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1410437549008356/

Immediately following the rally, you are invited to testify at our hearing in support of my resolution calling on the President to fully fund the arts, culture, and libraries. We will say loud and clear that President Trump’s blatant disregard for the importance of the arts has no place in our city and our country.

Sincerely,
Jimmy Van Bramer
New York City Council Majority Leader

DREAM Act Progress

Dear Friends,

Our parents and children received terrific news this week. I, along with the School Construction Authority, unveiled on March 16th the floor plans for the new building for PS 143, located in Corona, which will create 980 new seats for our children. The modern state-of-the-art permanent addition will be five stories high, and it will include new science labs, art and music classrooms, and a cafeteria.

This is a victory for all of us, but especially for our school kids. No student should be learning in a run-down, decades-old classroom trailer.

The DREAM Act in our Agenda: For the first time in history, our one-house budget resolution in the Senate included the DREAM Act, my proposal to provide public financial aid to college students regardless of their immigration status. I have been fighting for our DREAMers for years, and I will not give up until this becomes a reality. The DREAM Act is, and continues to be, my number one priority. In addition, the proposal will raise the income eligibility cap from $80,000 to $125,000, so more students will benefit from the Tuition Assistance Program.

Our one-house budget resolution also highlights other progressive issues, including Raise the Age, $5 million for the Immigrant Defense Coalition, and closing the carried-interest loophole, a measure that will bring an additional $3.5 billion in new revenues for the state.

Fighting Cyber Crime: On March 13th the State Senate passed my bill to include identity theft and cyber crimes in the New York Enterprise Corruption Statute, which will provide prosecutors additional tools to combat new-age crimes perpetrated by gangs and organized crime.

If you have any questions or need help, do not hesitate to stop by my office or to call us at 718- 205-3881.

Sincerely,
Jose Peralta
New York State Senate

Insufficient Transit For Boom

To The Editor:

The “Building Boom” and “LIC New Real Estate Snapshot Report: Residential Units To Double” (both March 22nd) have not been accompanied by any significant increase in transit capacity to accommodate 10,000 new residents. The same is true for thousands more residents, and those who commute from other neighborhoods to jobs in Long Island City over previous recent years.

Riders have had to endure too many years of inconvenience as a result of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority New York City Transit investing $774 million in Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) on the Flushing 7 line. With or without CBTC, there are opportunities to increase capacity and service by running trains more frequently midday, evenings, overnight and weekends on the 7 line. Until the 1980s, there was Manhattan-bound express service till 12:30 PM. Flushing-bound express service began after 1 PM. There has been no express service between 10 AM and 3 PM due to periodic ongoing track, power, signal, and routine maintenance projects for decades, including work to support CBTC.

Upon implementation of CBTC by early 2018 (which was supposed to have been completed between October and December 2016), let’s hope midday express service resumes. Will it be worth investing $774 million in CBTC, when it may only result in increasing the number of rush hour trains by two, from 30 to 32 in each direction? After that, the MTA NYCT no longer has any other opportunity for increasing rush hour capacity on the 7 line.

With three tracks merging into two tracks between the 33rd Street and Queensboro Plaza stations, there is no space to run any additional rush hour trains. It could easily cost $5 to $10 billion to construct a third track, plus a new East River tunnel west of Queensboro Plaza. This is necessary to extend express service into Manhattan. The concept is clearly not feasible, either technically or financially. The existing Corona subway yard is already operating at capacity. This facility is adjacent to wetlands, and has little opportunity for expansion. Additional trains to provide service for the new Hudson Yards Station have to be stored on lay up tracks south of the station.

Rush hour riders have been challenged for years attempting to board at the Court Square, Hunters Point Avenue or Vernon Blvd-Jackson Avenue 7 subway stations. The same is true for those attempting to board the E and M at Court Square, N and W at Queensboro Plaza, E, M and R at Queens Plaza or F at 21st Queensbridge stations.

With or without CBTC, (which may be funded and come to the E, F, R and M lines on the Queens Blvd. corridor and later the N and W lines, and even the G line under future 2020- 2024, 2025-2029 or 2030-2034 MTA Five Year Capital Plans), there are opportunities to increase capacity and service by running trains more frequently midday, evenings, overnight and weekends. There is always equipment used primarily for rush hour peak service that is available to provide additional service during off-peak hours. It is a question of finding millions of dollars more to cover operating costs for additional service.

New ferry services will be able to accommodate only so many riders. In many cases, a majority of new residents will need the subway rather than the ferry to access employment, educational, medical and entertainment opportunities in Manhattan and other boroughs.

Regarding “Rozic Calls for a Fully Funded Transit System” (February 22nd): Besides cutting $65 million, Cuomo proposed providing $1.5 billion more toward the $8.3 billion shortfall he originally promised two years ago to fully fund the $29 billion 2015 - 2019 MTA Five Year Capital Plan. This leaves a balance of $5.8 billion that he owes carried over into 2018 and 2019. Cuomo still needs to come up with the $5.8 billion balance of the $8.3 billion he still owes to fully fund the $29 billion 2015 - 2019 MTA Five Year Capital Plan, $6 billion for Second Avenue Subway Phase 2, $6 billion for New York State’s 25% share of the $24 billion Amtrak Gateway Tunnel, pay back the $3 billion federal loan for Tappan Zee Bridge and $2 billion for LIRR Main Line Third Track between Floral Park and Hicksville in Nassau County just to name a few.

Cuomo reminds me of the character “Wimpy,” who famously said, “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” Tuesday never seems to come for commuters and taxpayers.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

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