2017-11-15 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Dangerous Bike Lane

A copy of this letter was received at the
offices of the Queens Gazette.
November 8, 2017
Hon. Bill de Blasio
Mayor
City Hall
New York. NY 10007
Hon. Polly Trottenberg
Commissioner
Department of Transportation
55 Water Street
New York, NY 10041
Dear Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner
Trottenberg:

I am writing to you once again about the newly installed bike lane on Northern Boulevard, between Douglaston Parkway and 223rd Street. Unfortunately, accidents continue to occur. The most recent accident happened on Monday (November 6).

You have created a very dangerous situation. Requiring motorists to drive through the bike lane when entering or exiting the businesses or the Cross Island Parkway is extremely dangerous. This has caused a number of the accidents. In addition, despite my letters to you, there (is) still no signage warning motorists of the bike lane.

Today your crews were working on the bike lane reducing the now two westbound lanes to one (instead of the pre-existing three lanes) causing severe traffic congestion. Is this is what we can expect with snow removal?

The placement of numerous orange construction barrels along the bike path has also created dangerous conditions.

Lastly, your refusal to accept Community Board 11’s alternative plan for the bike lane is unacceptable. You are responsible for every single accident that has occurred.

Shame on you both.

To add insult to injury, Transportation Alternatives, whose organization seems to be dictating city policy, plans on having a party at the bike lane on November 12th. Are they going to celebrate the accidents as well? Sincerely.

Tony Avella
NYS Senator
11th Senatorial District

Public Land For Public Use

To The Editor:

Al Stark is going to present a follow up to “Pomonok Dreams” at the forum, “Public Land for Public Use,” discussing issues of homelessness, the New Gen program for Public Housing, and alternatives, with Q&As. The forum will be held on November 15 at LaGuardia Community College’s Little Theatre, starting at 6 pm. Parts of the film will be screened and discussed.

This is the documentary film that I have spoken about that captures the early vision of public housing and helps to frame the origin of a diverse community that was created out of that vision. I recommend this event that brings a viewing close to home so that we can see it. I believe that it will inspire our efforts in working for social justice.

Dr. Sharon Cadiz

No Bike Lanes, Sidewalks

A copy of this letter was received at the office
of the Queens Gazette.
Marisa Lago
Director
New York City Department of City Planning
120 Broadway, 31st Floor
New York, New York 10271

Dear Director Lago:

I wish to draw your agency’s attention to my district and to request a meeting to start a rezoning process. Queen Community Board 5 has begun discussions to address zoning in the Ridgewood section of my district, City Council District 30, and I write about similar needs in Middle Village, as well as Maspeth and Glendale.

Specifically, the problem is ongoing conversions from single-family to two-family rowhouses in the R4B District. The area discussed in this letter is coterminous with the boundaries of the 1994 rezoning (C 930381 ZMQ). These conversions are straining our existing roads and schools. These conversions are substantially changing the character of the built form in this rowhouse community through new rear yard additions that limit the air and light to neighboring residents, and altering the architectural character of the neighborhood by adding two doors to the façade of the two-family rowhouses where the majority of the neighborhood is defined by facades with a single doorway entrance.

I appreciate the Department of City Planning’s support during the 2009 Middle Village/Maspeth Rezoning. But just as was the case in 2009, today’s significant development pressures are creating new construction that is out of scale in the Middle Village and Maspeth communities. The last rezoning covered 300 blocks that established controls on development that reflect the neighborhood character. I, once again, call on the Department’s support to find solutions to the problems those same pressures are creating.

The R4B District was established in 1994. In the CPC report for the R4B rezoning, the CPC report for the R4B rezoning, the CPC believed that the R4B would “help preserve and protect the deep front yards…and will better reflect the existing built form.” That same CPC report mentions that the rezoned area was defined by a single-family composition of housing (98% of buildings). As more of these single-family rowhouses are converted into two-family dwelling units, the infrastructure needs are becoming more pronounced. The Department of City Planning must take another comprehensive look at the neighborhood. It is our goal to find ways to maintain the existing built form and to ensure that real-world impacts related to parking, traffic, and schools are fully-considered.

Community Board 5 has passed the zoning and Land Use Committee’s proposal to downzone portions of Ridgewood – specifically change the R5B zoning along Fresh Pond Road to an R4B zone; the R6B zone east of Fresh Pond Road to an R5B zone; and the R5B zoning west of Fresh Pond Road to an R4B zone – to protect the contextual fabric of the community. I believe that as City Planning explores this proposal, a zoning change for Middle Village, Maspeth and Glendale should also be a part of the conversation as well.

There is currently no zoning to protect the one-family rowhouses, and the time to amend that is right now. My constituents and I thank you for your support in this effort. Please study this matter and feel free to contact my office with any additional questions by mail at 71-19 80th St, Suite 8-303; Glendale, NY 11385 or by phone at (718) 366-3900.

Sincerely,
Elizabeth S. Crowley
Council Member, 30th District
CC:
Borough President Melinda Katz
Queens Community Board 5

De Blasio Got Lucky

To The Editor:

Mayor Bill de Blasio has nothing to be proud of concerning his 2017 General Election win. “Election Results 2018” (November 8).

As of November 2017 there are 4,596,813 active registered voters in NYC. This includes 3,156,031 Democrats; 476,614 Republicans; 814,830 Blanks (no declared party affiliation); 105,023 Independence; 18,379 Conservative; 13,761 Working Family; 7,912 Green; 1,782 Women’s Equality; 258 Reform and 1,319 “other” registered voters.

Out of 4,596,813 eligible voters, only 726,361 voted for de Blasio, while 303,742 voted for Nicole Malliotakis (Republican/Conservative), 22,891 for Sal Albanese (Reform), 15,763 for Akeem Browder (Green), 10,762 for Michael Tolkin (Smart Cities), 10,592 for Bo Dietl (Dump the Mayor) and 2,635 for Aaron Commey (Libertarian) and 3,504,067 who voted for “None of the Above” by staying home. When you add up the combined votes of de Blasio’s six opponents with those who stayed home by voting for “None of the Above”, only 14% of registered voters supported de Blasio. Even more troubling, less than 726,361 of 3,156,031 or 23% of registered Democrats votes for him.

He had the benefits and perks of four years being Mayor, including daily free media coverage. In addition, virtually every NYC Democratic Party elected official, county and district leader, local clubhouse, and most labor unions endorsed him. This included mailings, phone banks and get out the vote drives. He raised and spent several million dollars. De Blasio had a multimillion dollar media buy. He outspent his Republican opponent, Staten Island/Brooklyn State Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis, by millions.

Any Republican running for mayor of NYC in 2017 needed both name recognition and $30 million to compensate for this overwhelming 6 to 1 Democrat to Republican deficit. A media buy of several million per week for months, several dozen direct mail pieces, phone banks and a door-to-door vote pull operation would be required to remain competitive. All of the above would have to be supplemented by millions more from independent political action committees. Malliotakis lacked the financial resources to pay for this. It was also needed to offset DeBlasio’s several million in independent expenditures from various municipal labor unions and other pay-for-play special interest groups. They have all benefited during his first term in office and looked for four more years of the same.

Incumbant Mayor de Blasio started off the General Election contest several months ago as the odds-on favorite to win. This is despite GOP candidate Nicole Malliotakis’ knowledge and ability to articulate her views. The last Republican Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, barely won a third term in 2009 against Democrat Bill Thompson. He spent over $160 million to overcome a citywide five to one Democrat/Republican voter registration advantage. Over the past eight years, this enrollment gap has grown to a six to one Democrat/Republican registration advantage. The previous losing 2013 GOP mayoral candidate, Joe Lhota, clearly has a fraction of the financial means of Bloomberg, making his race impossible from the start.

Democrats rallied around their party’s nominee for mayor in 2017, like they did in 2013. There were only a handful of GOP elected officials to assist mayoral candidate Malliotakis . Virtually all are from her home base of Staten Island. This predominantly middle class borough still remains competitive for Republicans despite a 2-to-1 Democrat to Republican voter registration advantage. Staten Island Democrats tend to be more moderate than those from the rest of NYC and are more likely to cross party lines to vote Republican. GOP Congress Member Dan Donovan (11th CD), State Senators Andrew Lanza (24th SD) and Marty Golden (22nd SD) along with Assembly Member Ron Castorina (62nd AD) represent either Staten Island and/or Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. There is also Staten Island Borough President James Oddo, as well as Staten Island Council Members Steve Matteo and Joseph Borelli from Staten Island, GOP NYC Council Minority Leader Eric Ulrich from Queens actually backed “Dump the Mayor” candidate Bo Dietl instead of Malliotakis. The rest of NYC is solidly represented by Democrats. Malliotakis was able to increase the number of voters who identify with their Cuban, Greek or Italian (who are unhappy about the Christopher Columbus statue controversy) heritage to vote for her on either the Republican or Conservative Party ballot.

Crossover Democrats, who voted for former Presidents Reagan and Bush senior in the 1980s, former Senator D’Amato in 1980 - 1998; former Governor Pataki in 1994-2002, former Mayor Giuliani in the 1990s along with Mayor Bloomberg in 2001, 2005 and 2009 continue to move out of town, retire out of state or succumb to old age. There has been no successful GOP outreach to Caribbean, Hispanic, Asian or other new immigrants, along with middle class African Americans. Outside of Staten Island, Bay Ridge Brooklyn and several Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods, there were few pockets of Trump voters to count on.

Bloomberg will go down in the history books as the last Big Apple Republican mayor prior to his change in party enrollment to “blank.”

Sincerely,
Larry Penner
Great Neck

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