Letters to the editor, Jan. 10

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

A royal screw-up on East 20th Street

Dear Editor:

I am deeply disturbed by the current state of our city. It appears from all indications that our dear mayor and his erstwhile Department of Transportation have absolute “Royal Authority” to change whatever they feel like without any community review or input.

Case in point is their recent removal of parking spaces along 20th Street between First Avenue and the FDR. To make matters worse they (without any notice or review) changed the traffic pattern on 20th Street. One can no longer access the FDR North by turning left at 20th Street. There is absolutely no explanation for this. There is no traffic coming from the opposite direction. What is the problem?

Now if you are uninformed you must turn right going south rather than being able to turn left to go north. There is absolutely no logic whatsoever that would explain this.

They have also in their infinite wisdom created all sorts of traffic by eliminating the parking spots on the north side of 20th Street. Now it is only one lane in both directions. They have also moved the bus stop from the corner of 20th street and First Avenue (which had been there for more than 40 years) further up the block and created an “island” which is absolutely absurd. Again the emperor without clothes is creating more pollution rather than less by reducing the amount of lanes thereby increasing the amount of time automobiles are idling waiting for the light or just stuck in traffic.

I think it’s high time to hold the emperor and his court accountable and have actual input from the community as these are the individuals that are directly affected by these changes.

It reminds me of the time they decided to change the lights on 23rd Street. One could no longer turn left at First Avenue to go uptown but had to proceed East towards the FDR. It took a while and many people got tickets because they were unaware of the changes. Finally after an uproar they changed it back. I guess they saw the folly of their ways.

These are just observations from the area I live in. I am certain they have created havoc in other areas of the city as well. One must speak truth to power!

Name withheld, ST


Resolve to be kinder to our planet

To the Editor,

For many people, myself included, it’s a time to look back at the old year and make some resolutions and try to carry them out in the new year 2019. Our children’s future depends on us. How do we live up to the name of our country — the United States of American or the United Nations located right here in NYC when we are so divided as a nation and as a member of the United Nations?

It was in 2013 that I read about a program called The Earth Charter at the University for Peace in Costa Rica. It was only a week long in January 2014, but I decided to go, and what I experienced there was not only the beautiful country with its spring-like weather in January, but students of different ages and countries, all concerned about the future of life on our planet. The course we came for was called The Earth Chapter — Vision, Ethics and Action for a Just, Sustainable, and Peaceful World.

The Earth Charter can be downloaded for free by going to Google and typing its name in to receive four pages dealing with principles of respect and care for the community of life; ecological integrity, social and economic justice, and democracy, nonviolence, and peace. It begins with a preamble about the challenges ahead and ends with The Way Forward:

“As never before in history, common destiny beckons us to seek a new beginning. Such renewal is the promise of these Earth Charter principles. To fulfill this promise, we must commit ourselves to adopt the values and objectives of the charter. This requires a change of mind and heart. It requires a new sense of global interdependence and universal responsibility… Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life.”

All best wishes for a new beginning in the New Year! Let the different political parties work for the common good for all people and may the governments of the world work for peace.

Joy Garland, ST


A ray of light in ST

Dear Editor,

As we end another year under the tutelage and management of Rick Hayduk, it deserves mention what a spectacular job he and, under his direction, his staff decorated Peter Cooper Village/Stuyvesant Town this holiday season, rivaling Rockefeller Center, if not bettering it!

I have heard comments repeated to me of millennials saying, “These decorations are so dope! I can’t believe I live here!”

This year especially, our community is outstandingly aglow and awesome with its lights and decorations. During a sometime dismal political climate, it is so uplifting to live in a community that thinks to please its tenants. This policy has been radically improved since the management of Rick Hayduk and the obvious staff philosophy of efficiency and responsiveness to tenants.

I have experienced this myself under very difficult circumstances I’ve had this year where he and the staff have been remarkably kind in helping me through some very dark times. Finally, Florida’s loss is our gain.

Manager Rick Hayduk and the entire PCVST staff deserve mention and appreciation for jobs so well done and markedly improving our quality of life. To quote a neighbor, it sure is “dope” living here! Happy New Year!

Sincerely,

Dr. Bel-Michele DeMille, ST

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7 thoughts on “Letters to the editor, Jan. 10

  1. Now that the so-called L-pocalypse is apparently not going to happen, and the Stuy Cove ferry will not be unloading hordes of Brooklynites at our doorstep every day, there’s no good reason for keeping the re-configuration of E20th St. This was done in anticipation of thousands of daily Citibike trips going to/from the ferry, which is now not going to happen.

    The street should be restored as it was. Since there were exactly zero serious injuries or deaths recorded over the last several years on that stretch of 20th St, there was no need for a segregated bicycle lane in the first place.

    Be assured the DOT is going to push back hard against it’s removal, and the so-called “safe streets” zealots have an ally in our city councilperson, so it’s going to take an overwhelming local response to force the city to restore it to it’s previous configuration, with simple striped bike lanes in the roadway.

    • There is no overwhelming response coming. Safe streets are a benefit to the whole neighborhood, including the bikeway that connects Gramercy bike lanes with the waterfront greenway. Parking is a niche concern for less than 1/5 of neighborhood residents. That’s the math. E20th Street is better for most people this way, and most stakeholders agree.

      • You don’t get it. It’s not just about parking spaces, it’s about an unwanted and unneeded reconfiguration of our street in preparation for an event that will now not occur.

        You and your ilk always assume that it’s the “car owning minority” that’s behind any opposition, as if not owning a car makes one anti-motorist. I guarantee you that any poll of the neighborhood would be overwhelmingly in favor of returning the street to it’s original form. Certainly anyone waiting for the M23 would.

        And speaking of math, even with Citibike, barely 1% of all NYers regularly commute by bike. So why should that tiny bike commuting minority dictate to all how our streets should look?

        • The reconfiguration is needed for normal, everyday use. It’s optimized for a variety of uses.

          “Me and my ilk” are not idiots when it comes to understanding the rationale behind wanting to scrub street changes where the only upside to the old configuration was 6-10 more parking spots.

          I explained earlier: this connects the greenway (and the new ferry landing) with the rest of the neighborhood in a bi-directional manner. These are high-use facilities with a large number of potential users who have not been present over the years because 1) the bike connections were bad 2) there was no ferry landing. But now there’s a ferry landing & there are more users of share bikes & personal bikes coming through there. The new infrastructure allows these other uses to increase.

          It’s not a “takeover”… it’s a rebalancing. People finally are able to feel safe for other uses of the street, considering E20th Street was really unnerving to use before (including the long crossing distances for the crosswalk and the frequent occurrences of two cars trying to use one lane). The old design was poor for everything but driving and parking.

          So, again, we’re not stupid. The only pushback comes from people entitled to store private cars on the public roadway. Nobody who pays for garage space is going to care much. Nobody who doesn’t own a car will care at all. “Providing a small number of people with free curb storage” is always the last on the list of priorities. The changes simply provide more public benefit. And there is still an ungodly amount of free overnight / Sunday parking around PCV/ST. There are no extenuating circumstances or hardships here. It’s fair to inquire if DOT’s plans are changing just for curiosity’s sake, but there’s no sense in carrying on about it.

  2. considering E20th Street was really unnerving to use before

    That’s some serious revisionist history right there. E20th St was really unnerving!

  3. I could care less about the parking, but I wonder if this new 20th Street is truly ideal. Yes, the bike lane is nice, but I’ve already seen numerous instances where pedestrians, bikers, and cars were blindsided.

    1) I saw an elderly woman get knocked over by a bike while crossing over to the newly designed bus stops. Woman was luckily ok. I worry about this set-up, mostly for that demographic.

    2) I saw two guys just barely escape getting hit by taxis that swerve into the bike lanes where the fire hydrant space is. We are talking a matter of feet in bit situations.

    3) Cars that DO park on 20th will continue to do so. They used to have some room to maneuver, but that is gone. This puts people, cyclists and drivers at risk.

    In my thousands of times biking up and down 20th, I never had or witnessed a problem.

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