Drive Thru Library?
On October 1, a car crashed into the Brooklyn Public library's Spring Creek
branch, and demolished 14 feet of brick wall. The car also destroyed the
building's heating, hot water, and electrical systems. The library branch is
closed indefinitely while repairs are in progress, and patrons are being
directed to other branches.
Illegal Park Driver Kills
Woman in Westchester, Goes Free
A Bronx teenager, Simone Marshall, killed a woman while illegally driving in
Glen Island Park in New Rochelle. Marshall was driving her family's car with
her mother and other family members. She lost control, and slammed the car
into a seaside guard rail. She then struck Holly Januzzi, who was sitting on a
park bench, dragged her down an embankment, and into the water. Ms. Januzzi
was dead by the time rescuers reached her.
Although Westchester County
Police stated that it is illegal to receive or give driving instruction in
county parks, it is unlikely that Marshall will be issued more than a traffic
violation, if that
Break the law, kill someone,
drive home free. Same as it ever was.
The NYC Transit Authority has proposed construction of a block-long pedestrian
mall on Roosevelt Avenue as part of its Main Street subway station
rehabilitation in Flushing, Queens. Buses that stop at the subway station
could negotiate the mall, and delivery trucks could enter during specific
off-hours. The Transit Authority maintains that Main Street has the heaviest
intermodal passenger traffic in the country, with 21 bus lines approaching the
proposed mall. Local elected officials, including Queens Borough President
Claire Shulman, reserved comment on the mall proposal until more details were
available. Local merchants, however, have wasted no time in expressing concern
that their motoring customers will be driven away by the mall.
City Hall, Jeeves
While our mayor may look like he's busy cutting the city's budget, he believes
that some things are sacred. The administration is hoping to almost double the
budget for "chauffeur-attendants" to serve the needs of city
officials. The eight drivers now on the books racked up $219,000 in overtime
in 1993, and are on their way again this year. City Hall would like to add
seven new "chauffeur-attendants" to the payroll; they start at
$26,000 a year.
Cooking the Books
There's a big gap in the New York State budget, and Komanoff Energy Associates
have found it. A recent study by the group reports that while state motorists
pay $4.5 billion in taxes, tolls, fees, and fines to all levels of government,
the governments spend $6.9 billion on streets, highways, enforcement,
regulation, and administration. Therein lies the gap. About one in three
dollars spent on the traffic infrastructure has to come out of general
revenues. This isn't good news for the 56 percent of households in the city
that don't even own a car, or for the 30 percent of households across the
state that are carless. And these calculations do not include what Komanoff
estimates at $21 billion in indirect environmental and social costs-just in
New York City.
Pave Park Slope, Put up a
Where does the city stop and the suburbs begin? The demarcation has always
been pretty straightforward, with density giving way to sprawl at the
metropolis's borders. But the Guiliani administration is working to bring the
sprawl into the city. To lure giant chain stores like Caldor, Wal-Mart, and
Tops Appliance City into traditionally industrial areas throughout the five
boroughs, city officials are proposing new zoning regs that will raise the
size limit on most stores in areas zoned for manufacturing from 10,000 to
100,000 square feet. Each store would be surrounded by its own immense parking
lot. Among the losers are likely to be retailers who own small stores--the
same ones who long ago vanished from the suburban landscape.