Dear Borough President Markowitz,
You strike me as a
progressive, intelligent guy. As such, I would hope that you'd have the
foresight to support a Prospect Park free of automobiles. As an EMS worker
I've had the misfortune to respond to several calls inside the park where
cyclists or pedestrians tangled with autos. It's crazy! While a few hundred
drivers may shave off two minutes from their commute, the risk is too great
that people will be injured or killed in exchange for this convenience. It's
just not worth it. I support a Car-Free Prospect Park! You should too!
Dear Commissioner Weinshall,
I was recently hit by a car
coming off the Manhattan Bridge, on the Brooklyn side. The driver blindsided
me, driving in the wrong lane to avoid traffic as I was crossing on my bike.
The bike path exit off the Manhattan Bridge on the Brooklyn side has no
crossing point, light or signs. And I know many, many bike riders find it
extremely dangerous considering the high traffic volume of both riders and
cars. If the City installed a flashing red or some path to cross safely like
it did on the Manhattan side, many accidents, like mine, could be avoided.
Dear Commissioner Weinshall,
Dear Central Park Conservancy,
You are probably tired of all
the yammering about trying to eliminate automobile traffic in Central Park. At
least, that is what I am assuming, what with the campaign to remove cars from
the park having been a constant nattering presence ever since I moved to this
great city almost twenty years ago. But your silence on the issue-or more
precisely, your unwillingness to commit to the stance-plays a
not-insignificant role in creating that annoying yammering. I can understand
some interest groups, such as taxi fleet owners, taking a position in support
of automobiles in Central Park. But why would you, who have the welfare and
well-being of the park in mind, continue to endure, if not support, the
presence of loud, dangerous, dirty and unnecessary traffic in this urban
oasis? What benefits do you draw from not endorsing a Car-Free Central Park?
I'm a New York City cab
driver. Cab drivers earn so little, and the competition on the streets is so
cut-throat, that it is almost impossible to drive the speed limit, not run red
lights, and still be able to go home, look your wife in the eye and say,
"Honey, here is my share of the rent." You basically earn $10 an
hour, before taxes, even if you've been driving for 30 years.
ed: T.A. would like to see higher taxi fares and better paid, safer drivers.
is an excellent organization and I strongly support the majority of its
transportation policy platform, but on the question of whether to bury West
Street as part of the redevelopment of the WTC site I sharply differ. First,
as a participant in the terrific "Listening to the City" meeting
that they held earlier this year I can tell you that burying West Street to
create a park leading down to Battery Park was nearly unanimously approved by
the participants. Burying the road is absolutely essential to reunifying
Battery Park City with the rest of Lower Manhattan. Furthermore, by completely
separating car traffic from cyclists and pedestrians it is the most
people-friendly of all the alternatives; frankly, I am quite surprised to hear
TA falling on the side of cars in this matter, even given its stated reasons.
As to the question of "diverting money from more important transportation
priorities," it was explained to us that the money earmarked for
redevelopment of the WTC site is for that site, not a lump sum that the city
can, say, redistribute to repainting bike lanes in Queens or allocate to a 2nd
Avenue subway. So scratching the plan for West Street will not suddenly free
up $200 million for other "important transportation priorities."
Rather, it will simply deprive the city of a once in a lifetime chance to
reverse some of Robert Moses's destructive legacy.
ed: T.A. Says Transit over Tunnel. Who wouldn't want a park where a highway had been? If West Street could be buried for a few hundred million, we'd work fanatically to help make it happen. But the most recent cost estimates for burying West Street are $3 billion to $5 billion. And, contrary to what was said at "Listening to the City," that money will come from the same pot of Federal funding from which the new subway/PATH transit center, new South Ferry station and other potential transit improvements come. It's T.A.'s position that "Reunifying" Battery Park City with Lower Manhattan is not as important to the future of the city as enormous transit improvements which would cut travel times for more than a million people a day. (Note that Battery Park was built on landfill west of the already existing W. Side Highway. So, the sought-after re-unification has never existed.)