2018-05-09 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Defining America

To The Editor:

America is not just a place but an idea, an ideal and a way of life. It is a place where immigrants did not renounce their heritage, but celebrated and shared their diverse cultures, protected by the Constitution and inspired by the American ideal of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This goal and a common language defined the American character and linked our diverse cultures.

The idea that is America, its goodwill and benevolence has attracted countless thousands of refugees and has become a kind of “soup kitchen” for the world. Increased calls for a borderless world, the rise of sanctuary cities and an obsession for diversity is redefining what it means to be an American. In many neighborhoods, storefronts, signs, and ads are now in a language other than English. Recently I stood at a once-familiar street corner and looked around at the indecipherable signs and posters and I felt excommunicated. A once-familiar environment was now alien to me. This is not multiculturalism but multi-colonization. Will it be necessary to learn the languages of all the “colonies” in order to communicate with neighbors? If the designation “American” has lost its significance and meaning, then who are we?

My perception of this indecipherable and alien environment is that some of its inhabitants reject the ideals, customs, and traditions we have come to identify as American and which I have come to cherish. It is becoming increasingly unpopular and sometimes even dangerous to identify oneself as “American.” The designation has all but disappeared from our official documents. When responding to questionnaires, we are compelled to select an identity from a plethora of hyphenated subcategories.

It is ironic that I am able to communicate more easily, read more signs, posters, and advertisements in my ancestral homeland than in the beloved land of my birth. Must I emigrate to “somewhere else” to be finally recognized and accepted simply as an American?

Ed Konecnik
Flushing US

Increase Off-Peak 7 Svc.

To The Editor:

The original completion date for the MTA New York City Transit No. 7 Flushing line Communications-Based Transit Control (CBTC) system was December 2016—followed by December 2017, and then June 2018. I previously wrote that they would not meet any of these dates. Recent news that they will fail to complete this project by June 2018 comes as no surprise to me. The contractor is now looking for a November 2018 date, but with a catch. His new date is dependent upon a significant number of weekend track outages during the summer months necessary to support additional CBTC work. This conflicts with the Mets and other scheduled events by Willets Point. Be prepared for further delays with another completion date sometime in early 2019.

Riders have had to endure too many years of inconvenience as a result of the MTA NYC Transit investing $774 million in Communication Based Train Control on the Flushing 7 line. With or without CBTC, there are have always been opportunities to increase capacity and service by running trains more frequently midday, evenings, overnight and weekends on the 7 line. 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, hopefully before early 2019, 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.

Many are not aware of the tremendous capital investments made by the MTA since 1981 on the 7 line, just to maintain existing service. This includes over $8 billion by NYC Transit and $2.5 billion by MTA Capital Construction. (The Hudson Yard station extension was paid for by NYC.) Over $2.5 billion of the $8 billion in NYC Transit capital improvements were funded under grants provided by the Federal Transit Administration. All of the above have offered MTA NYCT the ability to continue providing 24/7 service on the 7 line. Some of the capital investments funded by the federal government include upgrading the Corona yard and shop, which supports both maintenance and storage of the 7 fleet. Numerous subway stations have been upgraded to a state of good repair, including Flushing Main Street, 74th Street Roosevelt Avenue (including improved internal circulation to E, F, M and R subway lines along with the adjacent bus terminal), Court Square (including internal circulation improvements with connections to G, E and M subway lines) and Times Square. Hundreds of new subway cars have also been purchased. A mix of local MTA, supplemented by federal funding, was also spent to support line equipment, structures, security, signals, communications, track, interlockings, power, escalators, elevators and other stations.

The $32 billion MTA 2015–2019 Capital Program also provided seed money to look into the possibility of the long-forgotten Flushing Bus Terminal closed in 1954. This need has been previously documented in planning studies going back to the 1960s. Construction of a Flushing intermodal bus terminal could facilitate a smoother transfer between bus and subway. A short-term improvement could be construction of bus holding lights at bus stops directly adjacent to the Main Street Flushing subway station. This would assist riders transferring from subway to bus when a train arrives several minutes after scheduled bus departures. Missing a bus by a minute or two during off peak hours (when buses operate with longer intervals) is frustrating to riders.

Given the tremendous growth in 7 ridership 24/7, riders would welcome restoration of midday, Saturday and holiday express services, along with more frequent local service off-peak, late evenings, overnight and weekends.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

Street Cleaning

To The Editor:

The Old Astoria Neighborhood Association requests that legislation be introduced to change the irresponsible way street cleaning frequency is determined by the Department of Sanitation of NYC.

We have tried for many years through direct interaction with Sanitation to alleviate our issues of litter and garbage on our streets, and also the parking of vehicles for extended periods of time. (This is because there is no alternate street parking regulations on many streets). Despite the active support of CB1 and the office of Council Member Costa Constantinides, we have been unsuccessful.

Current regulations insist that street cleaning be done two times per week on each side of the street. (For a total of 4 passes each week). This is regardless of need. It is just determined by a blanket policy for an extended physical area, most often determined by a Community Board District. Because of this, the local residents have not agreed to this service by the city. Petitions have been forwarded to DSNY asking for street cleaning but asking that it only be done once a week per side, for a total of two times per week. However, DSNY will not honor this request.

We ask that each neighborhood be studied individually to determine need. We also ask that, unless a specific need is determined, all residential neighborhoods default to two passes per week total. (once on each side). If after a period of time it seems that this is not sufficient, the neighborhood can be warned it would be changed to four times per week (twice on each side). If after this warning the need still exists, the frequency can be changed.

This way, street cleaning can start on every street, significantly improving the quality of life and health of local residents. After a period of time proper levels of service will be determined for each street.

We are afflicted with many streets that are never cleaned, with cars sitting for months at a time. This negatively affects our health and hurts business because of lack of parking turnover. Also, because of all the residential development going on, parking for residents is at a premium, and having parking taken for extended periods of time, often by non-residents, is intolerable.

The current regulations are counterintuitive and a disincentive. They cause residents not to accept street cleaning at all. (No one wants to have to move his or her car up to four times per week, for no good reason).

Intelligent allocation of resources, especially street cleaning and parking, is essential in creating the quality of life we all deserve

Councilman Costa Constantanides has indicated his continued support of this issue and is working towards a resolution.

We look forward to the changes we all deserve.

Richard Khuzami, President
Kevin Hernandez, 1st Vice President
Brett Harris, 2nd Vice President
Diane Kantzoglou, Treasurer
Old Astoria Neighborhood Association

Happy Mother’s Day

To The Editor:

Sunday, May 13 is the day we honor all mothers, near, far and deceased. I was reading about a woman named Anna Jarvis campaigned for a day to honor mothers living and deceased in 1905. She succeeded, and on May 8, 1914 Woodrow Wilson signed it into law, making the second Sunday in May Mother’s Day. I remember my mother who I only had a short time with. Her name was Teresa Bedell. She passed away in 1963 when I was 14 years old and living in Queens Village. My mother was dedicated to me and the entire family. She was also active in Grace Lutheran Church and in the community, raising funds for the sick and those in need. I was a sickly child and had health and educational issues and she got me help in those areas. For that I will be eternally grateful. So to all mothers let me say, “America thanks all mothers for all you have done.” Now have a Happy Mother’s Day for a job well done!

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

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