Sound Off To The Editor

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To the editor,

The July 21–27 edition of the Bay Ridge Courier contains an article about the possibility of Citi Bike coming to the neighborhoods of Sunset Park and Bay Ridge (“Citi Bike in the Ridge?” by Lawrence Carrel). In it, Paul White of Transportation Alternatives cites the gathering of 700–1,000 signatures as evidence that these communities are anxious for Citi Bike to arrive. But the math tells a different story. There are approximately 190,000 residents combined in both these neighborhoods; 1,000 signatures represents approximately .005 percent of those residents. Not exactly a consensus by any measure. And I wonder how many people who were asked to sign the petitions refused to do so. Mr. White doesn’t mention.

Mr. White claims (without citing specifics) that Bay Ridge residents are asking him why their neighborhood is being short changed by Citi Bike. I can’t imagine it’s an accurate claim. I’ve lived in Brooklyn all my life. The first half in Park Slope and the last 42 years as a Bay Ridge homeowner. No one I know in Bay Ridge bemoans the lack of Citi Bike.

Park Slope and Bay Ridge are distinctly different neighborhoods and Citi Bike is definitely not a one-size-fits-all program. Before anyone plants a Citi Bike station in Bay Ridge, an honest appraisal of its merits needs to happen — with real community input.

And beware Sunset Park and Bay Ridge: Once Citi Bike displaces your parking spaces, you’ll never get them back. Henry D’Amato

Bay Ridge

• • •

To the editor,

So Paul Steely White gets 500 signatures from Bay Ridge and calls it a mandate for the Citi Bikes program to come into Bay Ridge. I bet I could go within a four-block radius in Bay Ridge and get 1,000 signatures against Citi Bikes; would they consider that a mandate??? Hell, no. This group, Transportation Alternatives, makes proposals and the Department of Transportation under (Commissioner Polly) Trottenberg, and previous commissioners, rubber stamp 99 percent of their desires, without community input, traffic and parking considerations and safety, as they have done in many neighborhoods throughout the city, giving in to the group’s self-serving wants. He, White, says he knows what Bay Ridge wants; he knows nothing about this part of Brooklyn, except that we have not been cursed with this bike program yet. Paul Steely White, concern yourself with the areas that love you and your incessant bike fetish: Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Fort Greene, Williamsburg, just to name a few in Brooklyn.Richard Hecht

Bay Ridge

They’re truly special

To The editor,

As I read Ed Greenspan’s letter to Bill DeBlasio (“Count Him Out” July 21–27), I felt compelled to comment on his words: “Who is working for your campaign, special education students in the New York City school system?” In a following sentence he stated: “How stupid are the people who work for you?” I find it unfortunate that Mr. Greenspan, a teacher, found it necessary to use a stereotype of the special ed student in order to make his point about the incompetency of Mayor DeBlasio’s campaign committee. If you replaced “special education students in the New York City school system” from Mr. Greenspan’s letter with the name of any other racial, ethnic, religious or sexually-oriented group, the response to this stereotype would be loud and clear.

After working for 33 years in the Department of Education as a special ed teacher and assistant principal of special education, I often encountered this negative viewpoint from ill-informed parents or from people outside the field of education. My response was always to provide accurate information in an effort to explain the range of disabilities among students with an Individualized Education Plan, the services they received, and list examples of the success of our students in their jobs and careers beyond their graduation from high school.

The goal of special education throughout the country is to provide special ed students access to subject-licensed teachers in a differentiated and engaging classroom environment. By eliminating obstacles to learning and providing appropriate academic supports, students with Individualized Education Plans are able to achieve academically and be judged on their achievements instead of their disability.

I wish to commend all of my New York City — Department of Education teaching colleagues: past, present and future, for all of the hard work and dedication that they bring every day to their challenging profession in teaching special education students. I know that you have to constantly endure the entrenched stereotypical perception of our students that was expressed in Mr. Greenspan’s letter.

Hopefully, my written response to this misconception will inform and enlighten the readership of this publication.Edward Marzano

Marine Park

Seeing eye-to-eye

To the editor,

To Robert Lobenstein and Elio Valenti,

Having disagreed with your writing and arguing with you for months, I am thrilled to find that there are some things we, and most other Americans, can agree on.

Mr. Lobenstein, I have been annoyed by outsourcing for many years and firmly believe that souvenirs of America should be made in America. I also believe that clothing and other items sold here should be manufactured here, not in sweat shops in China or the Philippines. How can something be a souvenir of the American Revolution if it’s not made in America? I shall never forget a tour I made of Pennsylvania Dutch Country several years ago. I picked up a beautiful frying pan with hand-painted flowers in the souvenir shop and was horrified to see painted in big letters on the front of the pan “Made in Taiwan.” Needless to say, I didn’t buy it. My late husband wanted American-made clothing, but I searched all over Macy’s and couldn’t find any. I think outsourcing should be outlawed!

Mr. Valenti, another thing that has driven me crazy for years is bicyclists on the sidewalks. Lately, I’ve had to dodge mopeds and other electrical vehicles on the sidewalk near my senior center. One almost hit a member of my center pushing a walker along the sidewalk. I think that if the city would hire and train enough traffic enforcement agents and police officers to police every street and hand out summonses to every bicyclist on the sidewalk, the fines they would collect would more that cover the cost of these agents and officers. The sidewalks I use are not wide enough for bike lanes. I am also upset by litterers, broken sidewalks, and people who don’t clean up after their dogs. I love dogs but hate to have to look down while I walk to avoid stepping in their poop or falling over a soda bottle or a hole in the sidewalk. Sometimes I don’t know whether to look up to avoid being hit by a bicycle or to look down to avoid trash, poop, and broken sidewalks. I would much prefer to be able to enjoy the birds, trees and flowers along my way. I wonder if traffic enforcement agents and police officers are or can also be empowered to issue summonses to litterers, careless dog owners, and business- and home-owners who do not fix their sidewalks. Then we could all have a safer and pleasanter walk on our streets. I would also love to see the day all American flags, Liberty Bells and clothing are made in America.Elaine Kirsch


Quit bickering

To the editor,

It is disturbing to see Caesar and Nero fiddling with accusations, while the city crumbles and the subway burns. Although, with two narcissistic leaders, what would the public expect?

The transportation system is sinking to 1960s–70s levels of unreliability and safety, and finger-pointing seems to be the only response. “It’s your system! No, it’s yours! is the cry from government officials.

Police seemingly are getting no respect from City Hall and watching them, en masse, turn their backs to the mayor speaks volumes. And our fearless Governor is busy driving around in F.D.R’s 1932 Packard in the hope of looking Presidential for the 2020 election.

Who ultimately pays for all of this inaction and argument? Well, take a good look in the mirror! You had the gumption to make a major change in D.C., but faltered in your support for changes. In a few weeks we have to decide to change City Hall politics or just reelect the same old-same old and let the city continue its downward slide. Robert W. Lobenstein

Marine Park

Feuding is futile

To the editor,

The most recent feud between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio over who controls and is responsible for recent Metropolitan Transportation Authority problems is nothing new. This ongoing feud over numerous issues between Cuomo and DeBlasio has now entered the fourth year. Based on past history between previous governors and mayors, this is really nothing new. Democrats Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio have a lot in common with the late Republicans Gov. Nelson Rockefeller (1959-1974) and New York City Mayor John Lindsay (1966-1973) along with Gov. George Pataki (1995-2006) and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (1994-2001). The same is true for the late Democrat Gov. Mario Cuomo (1983-1992) and New York City Mayor Ed Koch (1978-1988). Nelson Rockefeller, George Pataki, Mario Cuomo and son Andrew Cuomo deal with Mayors who want equal billing on the political marquee. Lindsay’s urban, Koch’s Big Apple, Giuliani’s safety–quality of life and DeBlasio’s progressive agenda were–are dependent upon both increased state and federal assistance. DeBlasio envisions himself as the national spokesperson for progressive mayors from all cities. This conflicts with governors who have to worry about all 62 counties making up New York State. It also creates problems for governors like Cuomo who harbor presidential ambitions in 2020.

All have long forgotten that buried within the 1953 master agreement between the City of New York and New York City Transit is an escape clause. New York City has the legal right at any time to take back control of its assets. This includes the subway and bus system. Actions speak louder than words. If municipal officials feel they could do a better job managing the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, including running the nation’s largest subway and bus system, (they should) man up and regain control. Instead of complaining, Mayor Bill DeBlasio should come up with the balance of $2.5 billion the city still owes toward fully funding the $32 billion MTA 2015-2019 Five Year Capital Program. Gov. Andrew Cuomo should deliver the outstanding $5.8 billion balance toward his original $8.3 billion pledge, plus his most recent new commitment of an additional $1 billion. The MTA and New York City Transit can’t afford to wait until 2018 or 2019 for both de Blasio and Cuomo to make good on their respective promised financial commitments.

Larry Penner

Great Neck

Updated 1:34 am, July 10, 2018
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Reader feedback

JD from Brooklyn says:
On July 26th Citibike had a record 70,000 trips in ONE DAY. Just think how many cars off the streets, riders not crowding the Subway and less chance of people being killed by a motorist. Sorry folks Citibike is here to stay and should be in every neighborhood.
July 30, 2017, 11:36 am
Jim says:
One of their riders was fatally struck by a vehicle. These riders from that awful bank don't know the rules of the rode and sometimes almost hit pedestrians. I am all for building bike stations on sidewalks for people to park their own bikes I noticed one on the busy Kings Highway around east 14 street. We don't need any more citibike stations. Let people park their own bikes and not have to pay a fee for a bloomberg legacy.
July 30, 2017, 11:47 am
James says:
If you don't want citibike expansion make sure your local council member knows about it with a simple phone call.
July 30, 2017, 12:38 pm
JD from Brooklyn says:

The citibiker was killed by a bus driving down a side street which is illegal. And the video shows contrary to what you heard it was the bus at fault.
July 30, 2017, 1:37 pm
JD from Brooklyn says:
"I noticed one on the busy Kings Highway around east 14 street. We don't need any more citibike stations. Let people park their own bikes and not have to pay a fee"

The point of having Citibikes available at transit stations is for people to use as a secondary mode of transportation. If I get off the train at KH and its raining I can take the bus to complete my trip. If its sunny I can take a citibike. The cost the least expensive transit item in the city, only $150 for a YEAR. Also in the city its quicker and more efficient to take a citibike across town the keep hoping on and off a train or bus for $2.75 a trip.

As for rules of the road, talk to your fellow motorist about that. Speeding, double parking, running red lights and stop signs, and the consequences of cars not following the rules of the road cause more deaths and injury than any bike.
July 30, 2017, 1:52 pm
JD from Brooklyn says:
Just today, perfect example.

" witnesses said the driver of a taxi van ran a red light heading west on 85th Street and crashed into the other cab."

" ...crash into a family eating outside Wahlburgers Restaurant – including the 1-year-old in the stroller."
July 30, 2017, 7:43 pm
Jim says:
So what is the endgame? Limiting drivers to government vehicles, taxi cabs, and the super wealthy who can afford to park in garages? Where does it end? When will there be enough citibike stations? Why not expand sidewalk bike parking stations like the one on Kings Highway and East 14 street?
July 30, 2017, 11:38 pm
Maria Mishkin from Bay Ridge says:
I am a lifelong resident of Bay Ridge and I would be ecstatic if CitiBike came to this neighborhood. Thousands of Bay Ridgites use bikes to get around this area and all over Brooklyn. It is cost effective because you can hop on and off all day. To Jim, yes, some parking spots will be lost but if you walk around Bay Ridge looking carefully you will see plenty of empty parking spots in the neighborhood never used. The majority of residents of Bay Ridge do not own a car and use public transportation or their own bike. I hope they continue to collect signatures and I am sure the majority would be in favor.
July 31, 2017, 8:16 am
JD from Brooklyn says:
Jim, the endgame is getting motorist to stop thinking that they own the streets. Maybe that was true years ago but the tide is turning. The streets and roads belong to everyone and everyone deserves to be safe on them.

Just published in the NY Times:

"Today there are more than 450,000 daily bike trips in the city, up from 170,000 in 2005, an increase that has outpaced population and employment growth, according to city officials. About one in five bike trips is by a commuter."

More bikes mean less cars on the roads, less people cramming into buses and subways.
July 31, 2017, 8:56 am
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from BS, BK, NY, US says:
I agree with you Larry: I guess these two clowns don't know about the past political history of the subway system. I'll guess that I'll not be voting for those two losers.
July 31, 2017, 9:08 am
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
"The majority of residents of Bay Ridge do not own a car" -- and about 20% of Bay Ridge is senior citizens who are not hankering to ride a bike!
July 31, 2017, 12:22 pm
John Quaglione from Bay Ridge says:
I find it interesting that an article mentioning a Citi Bike petition was circulating in Bay Ridge, after I called for Citi Bike to seek community board approval.
Let me be clear, no new Citi Bike stations should appear anywhere in Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach or Dyker Heights without prior community board approval. I am not against Citi Bike coming to our area but I do not support the loss of any parking spots to Citi Bike docking stations. There are several areas in our neighborhood that would be appropriate locations for Citi Bike stations on large sidewalks and by our parks. I do not support City Hall telling us what is best for our community, let our community have a voice in the process. If City Hall and Citi Bike just take away parking spaces, it only fuels the anger of it's residents and merchants then destroys the potential good of having Citi Bikes available for everyone's enjoyment.
July 31, 2017, 12:47 pm
Susan Lyons from Bay Ridge says:
To Ms. Me from Bay Ridge,

My 70 year old neighbor rides a bike almost every day to do his errands. His doctor told him that is what is keeping him healthy. Plenty of senior citizens ride. Check out Ocean Parkway and all over south Brooklyn on a nice day.
Aug. 1, 2017, 8:28 am
JD from Brooklyn says:
"but I do not support the loss of any parking spots to Citi Bike docking stations."

Sorry John, the streets do not belong exclusively to cars. Parked cars are using valuable real-estate for free and serve no use other than allowing you to park a car you decided to buy. If you do not have a garage or driveway you should not expect the city to supply free parking for you.

The city has every right to take parking spots without board approval for Citibike docks because those docks will serve the entire community and not just your car.
Aug. 1, 2017, 10:11 am
Jim says:
They will serve the entire community? Does that include people with physical challenges? The road belongs to the people. That includes drivers who aren't wealthy enough to pay for garages. Why not expand bike stations on sidewalks where anyone can park their own bikes?
Aug. 1, 2017, 10:51 am
b says:
Aug. 1, 2017, 11:11 am
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
They don't take it up at age 70, and certainly not in the streets. How many older ladies do you see riding?
Aug. 1, 2017, 11:40 am
JD from Brooklyn says:
Jim, because sidewalks are used by people. Parking spots are used for cars. You have a choice to have a car or not, not so with people using the sidewalks.

As for the disabled and elderly, taking away sidewalk space from them would be more of a handicap then taking away parking.

Again the city is under no obligation to supply you with free parking.
Aug. 1, 2017, 11:40 am
Sue Lyons from Bay Ridge says:
The road belongs to all residents, not just drivers. Pedestrians in the crosswalk with the light and not looking at a cell phone are hit by reckless drivers when they should be able to cross safely. Bay Ridge is one of the top neighborhoods in Brooklyn for car accidents involving pedestrians. Some people with physical challenges are encouraged to bike and be more active to reduce their physical problems. Citibike membership has tripled in the last two years for a good reason. Losing one half of a block for parking spaces will not ruin the neighborhood.
Aug. 1, 2017, 11:45 am
JD from Brooklyn says:
Ms. Me,

Biking is not for everyone granted, but the more people that forego their cars for a bike means less cars on the road, less congestion, less chance of being hit by a car for that 70 year old lady.

Biking and a good biking infrastructure makes everyone safer.
Aug. 1, 2017, 12:31 pm
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
That's right -- she'll be hit by a bicycle, which is harder to see, and often ON THE SIDEWALK!
Aug. 1, 2017, 1:11 pm
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
Aug. 1, 2017, 1:19 pm
JD from Brooklyn says:
Aug. 1, 2017, 1:56 pm
JD from Brooklyn says:
Aug. 1, 2017, 2:22 pm
Jim says:
Please take a look at the bike station on Kings Highway and east 14 street. It is the same size as a bus stop with a bench. In fact from behind it looks like a bus stop. It is at the corner of the block which does not in any way block pedestrians. I would favor more of those. Citibike stations are at least four to five more times the size of that sidewalk universal bike station. A commuter coming off the subway can unlock their bike and continue their trip home without having to pay a fee to Citibike.
Aug. 1, 2017, 2:29 pm
Jim says:
Sorry, the bike station I mentioned is towards the corner of the block just like a bus stop.
Aug. 1, 2017, 2:32 pm
JD from Brooklyn says:
You do not get it Jim,

Yes I can use my own bike and lock it up on KH but then I am locked into returning to that station. What if I want to take a different train back, or get a ride? I would have to go back to that station. With citibike I am not locked in anywhere. I have the freedom to return to any station or take another mode of transportation home. If the weather turns, I do not have to ride home in the rain. I can take a Uber, or a bus from the station or the city. Also when I get into the city I can use citibike to get around. Its much more enjoyable and cheaper.

$150 a YEAR for a citibike pass is the cheapest transportation option in the city.
Aug. 1, 2017, 5:45 pm
JD from Brooklyn says:
All the radio you need to reduce the number of cars on the road
Aug. 1, 2017, 6:09 pm
JD from Brooklyn says:
radio = reason (auto correct grrrr)
Aug. 1, 2017, 6:10 pm
JD from Brooklyn says:
"That's right -- she'll be hit by a bicycle, which is harder to see, and often ON THE SIDEWALK!"

Very unlikely
Aug. 1, 2017, 6:11 pm
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
At the May meeting of the 68th Precinct community council a complaint was made about all the sidewalk bike riding in the neighborhood and the commander said they were aware of the problem and having a crackdown the next week. Since then I have seen numerous grown men riding on the sidewalk including on and around 65th street, which is where the precinct is located. So much for that!
Aug. 1, 2017, 7:13 pm

Comments closed.

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