2017-05-10 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Appreciating Mom

To The Editor:

Mother’s Day is fast approaching and it is time to remember mothers both near and far. Some of our mothers have passed on, and still are near and dear to our hearts. My own mother, Teresa A. Bedell, passed on in 1963 when I was 14, but I still remember my mom and all she did for me. My father said at the time, “Never forget your mother,” and I never did.

We lived in Queens Village and she worked hard taking care of our family, and that I will never forget. I was rather sickly when I was growing up, with asthma, stuttering, and a learning problem. My mother enrolled me at Grace Lutheran Day School in Queens Village, where they could help me with these problems, as they couldn’t in public school at that time. This is just a small example what a caring mother would do for her children.

So, on this Mother’s Day tell them how much they mean to you in all that they do. And to all mothers, have a happy Mother’s Day!

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

Queens Blvd. Favors Cars

To The Editor:

While I love living in Forest Hills, the number one thing I would change about the neighborhood is Queens Boulevard. The road’s current design favors drivers above all other users, at the expense of our safety, health, prosperity and environment.

I’m impressed with the Department of Transportation’s plan to redesign the stretch from Eliot Avenue to Yellowstone Boulevard. Like the existing phases, the plan includes new and improved crosswalks, expanded medians and protected bike lanes.

The fact that 535 people were injured and two were killed by motorists on this stretch between 2009 and 2016, according to the city’s Vision Zero View, is unacceptable. The fact that this road prioritizes vehicles, when we know that their emissions are driving climate change and increasing respiratory illnesses is illogical.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Queens Boulevard can, and should, be redesigned so that it is safe, functional and sustainable for everyone. People from all walks of life live, work, take the train, go to school, shop and eat along the boulevard and we all deserve better. This is an opportunity to plan and build the future we want, rather than maintaining a status quo no one likes.

Like many Forest Hills and Rego Park residents, I do not drive or own a car. I rely on the subway, LIRR, walking and biking to get around. The latter two often make me feel anxious and unsafe, particularly on Queens Boulevard. I avoid crossing whenever possible, but it’s necessary. The library, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, local businesses and even jobs are all on the other side.

Protected bike lanes are crucial here, as Queens Boulevard is one of the few places to cross the Long Island Expressway and safely access the existing bike lane network in western Queens and Manhattan. When the lanes are in place, I will ride to midtown – only 10 miles away – while saving money, exercising, being outside and having fun. Many people already do this from Jamaica and points much further south and east, but when they build it, more will come.

This is a good thing. Enabling safe cycling alleviates traffic congestion, as bikes are significantly smaller and nimbler. Every time a would-be-motorist opts to bike instead, their carbon dioxide emissions are avoided. Cycling can also be a fast, welcome option when train service is disrupted or inadequate.

Making streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians has been a boon to neighborhoods and small businesses around the city. I would patronize businesses along Queens Boulevard more often, if I felt safer walking or biking to them. More than 126 local business owners signed petitions, indicating their support, many of whom employ cyclists for deliveries. These workers provide fast, cheap service, but the current infrastructure requires them to risk their safety to earn a living.

Our lives and livelihoods require a safer Queens Boulevard. I hope our elected and appointed representatives will support the DOT’s plan to improve our neighborhood.

Laura Shepard
Forest Hills

Raise Gas Tax

To The Editor:

President Trump recently stated that he would consider a simple, honest “pay as you go” way to help fund his proposed $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan for both highways and public transit components. The national gasoline tax used to support the Highway Trust fund was last raised to 18.4 cents in 1993. Taking action to raise this tax by only pennies per gallon years ago would have resulted in an ample, robust Highway Trust fund today.

With gasoline at very reasonable prices, isn’t this a good time to raise both the federal and state gas tax by just pennies per gallon? This action could significantly increase funding the national Highway Trust Fund and its Mass Transit Account. It would also not add to our out of control $20 trillion and growing national debt.

Most Americans – be they city, suburban or rural residents, Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative – benefit from good roads, bridges, and public transportation. With continuing gridlock and partisan bickering in Washington, increasing funding for the Highway Trust Fund and accompanying Mass Transit Account could be a key issue on a bipartisan basis that the President, along with Democrat and Republican members of Congress, can agree on.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

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