Letters to The Editor, Week of May 2, 2019

Blaz, Byford: Speed freaks

To The Editor:

Re “Pols voice ‘concern’ on 14th St. traffic pilot plan” (news article, thevillager.com, April 26):

The notion that the Department of Transportation needs an 18-month pilot program to test the performance of its 14th St. bus proposal is ludicrous. D.O.T.’s goal is to prove that by eliminating 17 bus stops, buses will move faster. Of course, they will.

With every bus stop that is removed, there will be an average savings of several minutes. The mayor hopes this success will be a pattern for other bus routes, so we can “save people valuable time for the things that matter.”

The mayor’s unexpected anti-people attitude is backed by Andy Byford, president of the New York City Transit Authority, who attacks community groups for opposing the bus stops’ removal, saying this is an important step toward speeding up buses. He said he only wants to remove “just a few stops.”

Speed is not the main function of buses.

Both men are forgetting the unique role buses play in New York. First, they are needed in neighborhoods far from subways. Second, they serve a growing population of people who cannot negotiate steps to use the subways, including the elderly, disabled and many others who have nonvisible conditions, like heart problems. These people will also find it difficult to walk the extra blocks imposed by the mayor’s plan.

Buses will move faster when the Transit Authority modernizes — not when city officials forget who makes up the ridership.  For instance, when are we going to install contactless credit and debit cards to speed boarding? These are used successfully in London and other places. Passengers enter via front or back doors and simply tap their card against a “reader.” Voila! A time saver.

The tepid reaction of our local elected officials to the changes is very disappointing. Now, not in 18 months, is the time to assert their role as representatives of their communities: the Lower East side, Stuyvesant Town, Chelsea, Greenwich Village and others.

Marguerite Martin and Carol Greitzer
Martin and Greitzer are co-chairpersons, W. 12th St. Block Association

 

At a protest last month, Downtowners urged the city not to cut bus stops on the M14 route as part of adding Select Bus Service. (Photo by Bob Krasner)

 

‘Asleep at the wheel’

To The Editor:

Re “Pols voice ‘concern’ on 14th St. traffic pilot plan” (news article, thevillager.com, April 26):

Community Board 2 utterly failed to make sure that Village residents’ voices were heard, so as to have avoided all traffic heading east on 14th St. being diverted south directly onto the Village’s streets.

C.B. 2 has once again shown that it is, to put it simply, asleep at the wheel when it comes to representing the vital interests of residents.

Richard Klein

 

Way to ram it through!

To The Editor:

Re “Pols voice ‘concern’ on 14th St. traffic pilot plan” (news article, thevillager.com, April 26):

Good for de Blasio for pushing this through over the yowls of the car-hugging, bike-and-transit-hating NIMBYs. I’m disappointed to see CoJo, Hoylman et al. hedging their bets on this to demonstrate that they’re listening to those loud voices of the few and not the much greater number of their constituents suffering for lack of adequate bus and subway service. Courage!

The bike lanes are an enormous improvement for our neighborhood. The 14th St. busway will be, too.

Matthew Arnold

 

Council ignores a crisis

To The Editor:

Re “Freeze store evictions until S.B.J.S.A. is O.K.’d” (op-ed, by Sharon Woolums, April 25):

How can any member of our City Council walk down almost any street in New York City without being stricken with shame at this disease of abandoned stores, growing dangerously more numerous every day? Nero fiddled while Rome burned. And our City Council’s just twittering, deceptive nonsense, on and on and on, avoiding an absolutely urgent bill — the Small Business Jobs Survival Act — that would blessedly enable small businesses to fight off extortion level rents at lease renewal time, which now is so torturing our endangered neighborhoods.

Obviously, Jim Drougas and Marni Halasa have suffered this first-hand, Ms. Halasa losing her Chelsea cafe to a vicious rent increase, and Mr. Drougas, watching the stores around him closing down one after another, while dreading when his lease is up.

Just down the block from Mr. Drougas’s bookstore was the Cornelia St. Cafe, which closed down when the cafe’s landlord raised the rent exponentially, with no recourse. Yes, how can any City Council member walk through this city without true shame?

Bennett Kremen

 

Kept the book light on

To The Editor:

Re “Bleecker’s bookbook closing shop for good” (news article, April 25):

Carolyn and Charles, your neighborhood loves you and deeply appreciates the decades of service. Bleecker without bookbook or Biography bookstores is unimaginable. Thank you so much for keeping the book light on for so long.

Steve Wilson

 

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