Letters to the editor, Apr. 25

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Congestion pricing will drive us out

The following is an open letter to Council Member Keith Powers in response to an e-blast from the council member updating District 4 residents on the passing of congestion pricing in the state legislature’s budget on April 1.

Dear Council Member Powers:

Thank you for the community update. I hope you decide to work toward a greater exemption from congestion pricing for residents in the zone who keep their vehicles garaged and who are not in the protected group of residents [Exemptions for residents making less than $60,000 who live inside the zone] who must use the streets to park and double park when streets are cleaned.

I offer the worst of all indignities: Garage parkers at Waterside Plaza, Peter Cooper Village who enter the FDR north or south who never enter into the grid of midtown streets are either hit with the scanners leaving home or coming home – a high price tax to live in those communities, alongside a highway, that never intersects the congested streets of mid-Manhattan. Does that make sense?

A Brooklyn or Bronx resident, taking the highway route to the First Avenue Hospital Zone, parking in a garage and then returning home, never entering the grid of congested streets, pays an extra tax to see a doctor, undergo a procedure, visit a patient. Never makes a mess in midtown, cannot block a box and isn’t hunting for parking. Does that make sense?

An East Sider, an Uptowner, a Manhattan resident outside the zone, with a vehicle service center on the far West Side (10th and 11th Avenue – they were zoned for that neighborhood for ease of access to the Henry Hudson Parkway) for routine service, oil change, tire rotation. never entering the mid-Manhattan grid clogged with commuter and tourist buses, double-parked trucks 80,000 Uber vehicles, is a menace to the free flow of traffic, and hit with a surcharge. Does that make sense? Do you believe the car dealers would decide to relocate north of 60th Street to keep the service business alive?

You only need to be a driver to know the causes of congestion are traffic lanes lost to construction, side streets blocked by fuel delivery, garbage collection, alternate side double parking, or those ridiculous parking lanes in the middle of the road, or the buses constantly blocking intersections, idling forever at Avenue C at 20th Street (a good example, how a free-flowing artery became jammed by surface transit and not by local residents) delivery trucks, moving vans with no place to park but double park, movie location tractors and sets, all those are not going away with congestion pricing.

What will go away, are the rest of the lot of residents who could afford the high rents to live in a nice off the main drag part of Manhattan, pay $375/month to garage, and who aren’t in anyone’s way. To hear how we are painted as villains is enough to make some decide to get out of town for good. At a rumored $15/day, six days a week for 50 weeks, $4,500/year is an extra month or two of rent for an apartment for many far East Side resident drivers. Does that make any sense?

Your constituents are not looking to abuse a system. But a resident in the congestion zone with a vehicle should not face the same per diem fee for coming home or leaving as an Uber driver who will spend an entire day earning money driving in the zone.

Best Regards,

Steve Smollens, WP

Cheering on the Challengers

When grey skies don’t want to clear up you can still put on a happy face by getting up and getting out to the Con Ed Field West, on Sunday at 3 p.m., to cheer on the Challenger Division of Peter Stuyvesant Little League. This year’s third-season line-up was composed of both familiar returning faces as well as some welcomed new players.

Blue Hat Team Coach John shared his skill with a dozen players: Nathan #3, Zach #18, Shawn #5, Novack #2, Joshua #NA, Ethan #6, Neil #10, Jonathan #6, Rylen #8, Brandon #1, Rex #7 and Jaden #4. (Special shout-out, to Neil, who got the game going with a “Play Ball”.)  Red Hat Team Coach Katie directed Ryan #1, Josh #9, Ian #7, Ray #3, Greenley #4, Asher #2 and Allegra #10. (In a remarkable coincidence the game, which sported a number of smiles that will be asking for new front teeth this coming holiday season, ended in a tie!)

This season’s buddies traded in last year’s orange uniform for a new navy tee that honors the late Helen Keller with the inscription “Alone We Can Do So Little; Together We Can Do So Much.” Please consider this when making your weekend plans and join in the spirit of the game. You’ll be glad you did!

Peg Donohue, ST 

A compromise on feeding ban

I am in agreement with the writer of the letter in last week’s Town & Village (“Much ado about nuts,” Apr. 11).

A starving animal will seek food from people. A little one, probably on its first foray for food, looked truly pitiful nestled in a tree base earlier this week. Others were on frantic searches.


Request that residents eating in our public areas dispose of their food trash responsibly, back in their own apartments, or in trash barrels outside of the property.

Request that only nuts without shells be thrown in treed areas that are off limits to residents. I realize that peanuts (not the best food for squirrels) and other nuts in shells are unsightly obstacles to the maintenance and landscaping of our beautiful grounds.


Some didn’t know about squirrel survey

When Rick Hayduk sent a video around saying the results in the squirrel survey were as he suspected all I could say was of course he did! Many people were not aware of the survey. I told people feeding the squirrels recently that they only had until April 1 and they had no idea what I was talking about. Many here are not internet connected.

A ST/PCV Facebook site almost daily urged members to vote against squirrel feeding. These members are not always part of the ST/PCV community. It seems that the survey design allowed for repeat entries. Rats with tails were one post accompanying the call to vote.

Name withheld, ST

6 thoughts on “Letters to the editor, Apr. 25

  1. Thank you, Steve Smollen! Your comments and predictions are correct and so scary! I am a senior citizen and long term 37 year resident of Stuyvesant Town, who is on a very small income. I have needed to keep an old 2003 car garaged at Skyport Marina since the 1990’s so I could drive north along the FDR to get to Westchester to care for my 95 yr old father. He passed away last year, but I still use the FDR to go to Boston to visit and care for my toddler grandson. And I use my car to circle around the Battery and exit via the Holland Tunnel to visit and care for my 96 yr old mother in PA!!! I never drive anywhere else in NYC. Sometimes I even spend time finding street parking so my daughter has a spot to use when she comes to ST to visit me!!! Will she pay the new congestion pricing fee? What a travesty to come for those who are elderly now and who made a conscious decision decades ago to be self-employed in the creative world and to raise and educate a family here in Stuyvesant Town. We paid a high price then with private eduction vs being commuting parents. Now this is adding insult to injury. No one can afford to move ANYWHERE now. We are good citizens of NYC and I think we enhanced the city by just being here. This is home and it is becoming very very hard to live a quiet, simple life. I don’t know what to do 🙁

  2. Dear Steve Smollens and whoever else lives in reality- I too am a very senior citizen living in the now designated Kips Bay area of 27 St. and Third Ave – and have lived there since 1964. tt amazes me that the “politicians” of our State and City government who have come up with the “congestion pricing” thing are not living in reality. All that Steve Smollens and Eileen Togashi have shared isREALITY. Traffic congestion has largely been caused by construction, bike lanes,bus lanes and all the rest shared. Streets and Avenues that were always two- three lanes have been reduced toONE!!!!! All one needs to do is pay attention and see this exists. The simple question is WHY we are being penalized for this?????
    I think of what Eileen writes – – I’m a widow and my family -all of them – live in NJ. They drive to Manhattan to see me – Isn’t it enough they have to pay always rising tunnel/bridge costs and now congestion pricing??? Whats wrong with this picture!!!!!

    What will be the cost for this fiasco? Who will pay for it??? Will those putting this plan together ever have to pay ???? True Eileen – there are many of us who stand to be compromised because of congestion pricing.

  3. I want to add another problem place where the congestion pricing causes an unfair charge. Going downThird Avenue on the Eastside of Manhattan to get onto the Queensboro Bridge upper Roadway at 57th street to go to Queens shouldn’t be charged since passing 60th street is required. Getting to the lower roadway at 59th street is a problem too.

  4. Dear Eileen Togashi, Lenore Schmidt and Nancy Hoving:

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments. We make up an invisible population of drivers in Manhattan in the so-called congestion zone. Our driving activities do not impact congestion. We are the invisible drivers who depart and return to a garage without crowding the grid, blocking the box or double-parking. Our elected officials do not know we exist.

  5. The city created this congestion pricing problem themselves. The city has always had a traffic problem. Instead of solving the issue the city decides to make green spaces, on 23rd and fifth ave, on 32nd street and 6th ave, on 42nd st and broadway, and the entire length on Allen st. Causing more bottle neck areas, when congestion was bad already. Then a few years later the city added bike lanes, causing more problems with traffic and taking away parking spots. Then the city turns around and wants to charge people. The city created this money making scheme and that is what it is a scheme.

  6. Pingback: Letters to the editor, May 16 | Town & Village

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