Letters to The Editor, Week of Aug. 22, 2019

Jane would be smiling

To The Editor:

Re “Court slams brakes on 14th St. busway — again!” (news article, thevillager.com, Aug. 9):

No one gave thousands of dollars. Block associations made commitments of $1,000 to pay for the record — meaning, the documents required for the lawsuit. 

Meanwhile the executive director of Transportation Alternatives makes $200,000 per year, its deputy director make $140,000, and its communications director makes $120,000. They are the wealthy folks telling residents of the Village and Chelsea what to do. 

The Department of Transportation has already banned left turns, painted a busway, turned University Place around, closed Union Square West, barred right turns going east onto Broadway, barred left turns from Fourth Ave. onto 14th St., and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has instituted off-board ticketing. My bet is that they have eliminated the problem without the dramatic shift of vehicles onto residential streets. 

According to D.O.T.’s own data, under the busway plan, 1,000 cars per hour would be shifted just to 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th Sts. 

The agencies should study the impacts of what they have done so far, and rely on real data, not the rhetoric. And anyone who says that the local block associations are “organizations of a small wealthy minority” doesn’t know anything about our community. 

Writing this three days after getting a new stay on the busway, I know that Jane Jacobs is smiling down at me this morning, not on Mayor de Blasio.

Arthur Schwartz

 

Lower Eastside Girls Club members joined Michael Schweinsburg, of 504 Democrats, right, in calling for the restoration of recently removed M14 bus stops. The teens said buses are a reliable source of transportation for lower-income residents, and also that all the stops are needed for safety, so that Girls Club members don’t have to walk far to and from the bus at night. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)

 

Cyclists’ righteous roll

To The Editor:

Re “Wheely mad: TransAlt rages at attorney” (news article, Aug. 15):

Transportation Alternatives’ decision to picket Arthur Schwartz’s home may not have been particularly politic, but the “fascism” charge is off-the-charts irony. Bicyclists are an oppressed and stigmatized group in New York City, while motorists are ultra-privileged and have a virtual license to kill. Time and again we hear of pedestrians or cyclists killed by motorists in what are euphemistically called “accidents” or “crashes,” with no charges filed. The cyclists are on the side of social justice, and the motor-heads (and their enablers, like Schwartz) on the side of fascistic Ugly Americanism.

And if Schwartz and his co-litigants have a legitimate argument against the plans for 14th St., they blow all their credibility with their opposition to the 12th and 13th Sts. bike lanes. We urgently need more space for bicycles — everywhere.

On the factual tip, I’d like some corroboration that Transportation Alternatives’ “top officials” make $200,000 a year. Did you check with the organization, Villager?

I’m also still waiting for The Villager to explain what “Select Bus Service” is.

Bill Weinberg

Editor’s note: The Transportation Alternatives staff members’ salaries are listed in the group’s 2018 IRS 990 form, available online.

 

Streets for everyone

To The Editor:

Re “Wheely mad: TransAlt rages at attorney” (news article, Aug. 15):

Transportation Alternatives, the well-funded lobbyists behind many of these street-level changes, are a bunch of elitist bullies throwing a temper tantrum because they didn’t get their way.

This fight is making sure our neighborhood and our streets are safe and easy to travel for everyone — a simple fact that’s gotten lost in this lovefest/push for commuters and bicyclists. We are neighborhoods full of local businesses, of residents who’ve been here for decades, of projects, of public and private schools, of fancy and rent-controlled buildings, of day workers and visitors. 

The “rich” label that’s being slung at us is just another lie bandied about by TransAlt, the side in this that is actually oozing money.

How about we work together to make sure everyone is safe on streets that are becoming increasingly lawless?

Elissa Stein

 

Blaz and real estate

To The Editor:

Re “Mayor, give back hotel owners’ cash” (op-ed, by Ed Hamilton and Debbie Martin, Aug. 15) and  “Preservationists decry Tech Hub, again” (news article, Aug. 15):

Interesting two articles in The Villager revealing Bill de Blasio’s collaboration with real estate interests. This is our smooth-talking mayor, who has such empathy with the poor that he will support huge neighborhood-changing projects for a small token amount of low-income housing.

He is such a disappointment!

Crista Grauer

 

Politicians fail us

To The Editor:

Re “Preservationists decry Tech Hub, again” (news article, Aug. 15):

Thanks, The Villager, for this article and for past coverage that has illuminated the shady back story of this project and how the city — and the mayor — have rammed it through to get built. 

What is most appalling is how Councilmember Carlina Rivera utterly caved to the developers and to the mayor in supporting this, hours before the crucial City Council vote on it. 

Running for office, she had promised her prospective voters (like me) for weeks and weeks prior that she would support this project only on contingency of the Council securing zoning protections outlined by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. 

I will not vote for Carlina Rivera again because of this. She is no Rosie Mendez — who, day by day, is more and more sorely missed by her former constituents. 

Nor would I vote for Bill deBlasio. For any office.

Jeanne Krier

 

E-mail letters, maximum 250 words, to [email protected] or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 1 MetroTech North, 10th floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201. Please include phone number for confirmation. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel. Anonymous letters will not be published.

3 Responses to Letters to The Editor, Week of Aug. 22, 2019

  1. Thanks for printing my letter, Villager. But “The information is online, you do the research” isn’t much of an answer. Reporters are supposed to do that. So are we to assume that, yes, Transportation Alternatives’ “top officials” make $200,000 a year?

  2. And I’ll add that Schwartz invoking Jane Jacobs in his letter here is more off-the-charts irony.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *