Community Board 9’s new motto: 'Safety Second'
by Mk Moore
Apr 18, 2018 | 220 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
For the first time ever in the history of Community Board 9, the public body voted to oppose speed humps on a street in the district. Why would anyone oppose a speed hump? What could possibly cause a community board to vote down a speed hump that the Department of Transportation (DOT) determined was necessary to protect the public? A few single-family homeowners felt that speed humps would create squealing brake noises disturbing their peace. How can a community board even have the right to overrule DOT on a matter of public safety? Is there an agency or body that can review and overrule this unwise decision? In February of 2016, community members from 116th Street in Kew Gardens showed up with a petition in hand at a Community Board 9 meeting to protest dangerous traffic conditions. Over 100 residents sought the assistance of the community board to remedy the dangerous speeding. For two years, the residents wrote emails and letters to DOT, the Queens borough president and Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz asking for traffic conditions on 116th Street to be improved. During this period, a major street project on Park Lane South was passed and implemented by DOT with the support of Community Board 9 that moved even more traffic onto 116th Street as spill over. The residents of 116th Street continued waiting and pushing DOT to get our problems addressed. Three separate requests were filed with DOT for traffic surveys. Two years later, DOT has returned the traffic surveys showing that there is an unsafe traffic condition on 116th Street. Vehicles traveling at 40 mph on a 25 mph residential street is dangerous, something anyone living on 116th Street could have already told you. You need only ask the residents of 83-15 116th Street, who had a vehicle leave the road, cross a crowded sidewalk, and take out ten feet of shrubs to end up on our front lawn. Perhaps you could ask any person, absolutely any person you encounter on 116th Street, how they feel about the high-speed traffic. Where do we go to get the recommendations of the DOT enacted and the whim of the community board overturned? The residents of 116th Street need someplace to send their next petition. Mk Moore is a resident of 116th Street.
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Richard Mazur, North Brooklyn Development Corporation
by Benjamin Fang
Apr 18, 2018 | 140 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Richard Mazur has seen all of the changes to Greenpoint since 1950. He is the executive director of the North Brooklyn Development Corporation, a neighborhood preservation group that seeks to improve the quality of life in the community. Growing up in the 1950s, Mazur recalled Greenpoint as a “bustling, blue-collar community” surrounded by an industrial wasteland. All of the factories on the waterfront were polluting the environment, but they didn’t know it then. “They were too busy working and surviving to actually pay attention to the destructive forces that had been destroying the environment in Greenpoint,” he said. In the 70s, Mazur said residents became tired of the incinerators burning, the ashes falling and the smell from the sewage treatment plant. A small group of people fought for change, which began the process of environmental stewardship. “Our goal was to create as much open space as possible,” he said. “What improves your environment? More green, more open space, more air to breathe.” Activists fought for a complete Bushwick Inlet Park, which became a reality when the city purchased the last parcel. The EPA has begun the process to clean up Newtown Creek with its Superfund process. And thanks to a settlement with ExxonMobil for an oil spill, the state attorney general’s office has funded dozens of sustainable projects. Local schools are now teaching about sustainability and the environment. “Friends of” parks groups are forming to care for local green spaces. Rooftop gardens, stormwater retention and other techniques are helping to combat climate change. “All of a sudden, this floral husbandry is taking root,” Mazur said. “So the future is in good hands.” His life in Greenpoint has finally come “full circle.” “From smelling stinky plastic as a child, now as a senior, I can smell the fresh oxygen that these trees are going to produce through photosynthesis,” Mazur said.
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