MTA to discuss alternate routes for upcoming L train closure

Ridgewood, N.Y. – The MTA will hold an open house to commuters who have questions about the upcoming L train reconstruction project.

The open house will take place at the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council located at 59-03 Summerfield Street in Ridgewood from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 12.

With the temporary shut down of the L train, Ridgewood could have the most affected commuters in Queens.

The Canarsie Tunnel will close for 15 months beginning April 2019. The tunnel needs extensive repairs after being flooded with saltwater during Superstorm Sandy, causing corrosion of cabling, circuit breakers and power and track equipment. Repairs are necessary as a precaution to keeping the tunnel from becoming dangerous.

Though the L train runs through a small section of Queens between Wilson Avenue and Halsey Street, thousands of Ridgewood residents use it as a main line into Manhattan. Commuters also come to the L line via the M train which runs through Ridgewood and Middle Village and connects with the L train at the Myrtle/Wyckoff Avenue stop.

The M train is currently preparing for increased volume next year. These upgrades are expected to be completed by the end of this month.

During the L line closure, the L train will continue to run between Bedford Avenue and Canarsie in Brooklyn, but some 200,000 commuters will have to find another route into Manhattan during this time.

The MTA has developed a mitigation plan for alternative travel options. The agency discussed the plan with the Community Board 5 Transportation Services Committee at the end of February.

The mitigation plan outlines that subway service will increase on the G, J, M and Z trains. The J and Z lines will run local from Myrtle Avenue to Marcy Avenue. The M trains will run up to 96th Street and Second Avenue on weekends and overnights.

Free MetroCard transfers will be given between the following locations:

-The Broadway stop of the G train and the Lorimer Street/Hewes Street stop of the J, M and Z trains

-The Junius Street stop of the 3 train and the Livonia Avenue stop of the L train

-The 21st Street stop of the G train and the Hunters Point Avenue stop of the 7 train

Bus service will be expanded with additional buses running from the Grand Street and Bedford Avenue stops from the L train into Manhattan over the Williamsburg Bridge. The bridge will be restricted to buses, trucks and HOV 3+ only, to adjust to increased traffic volume.

Ferry service will be offered between the north Williamsburg shore and the east side of Manhattan. There are no immediate plans for buses to drop passengers off at the ferry.

Open houses to discuss alternate routes have already been held in Williamsburg and Manhattan.

Man jumps to his death from Bronx-Whitestone Bridge

Whitestone, N.Y. – Police say a man jumped 135 feet from the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge just before 7 a.m. Tuesday morning of April 10.

The man’s identity is being withheld pending family notification.

NYPD Harbor Units pulled the man from the water and brought him to a nearby dock. EMS arrived on scene and transported the man to Flushing Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 8 a.m.

The tragedy caused heavy congestion on the bridge and Whitestone Expressway.

An NYPD investigation is under way.

Long Island City’s Queensbridge Houses receive new roofs in city’s plan to repair public housing

Long Island City, N.Y. – The Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City are among the buildings in New York City that received new roofs through Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to upgrade public housing.

Funds were allocated to replace the roofs of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) buildings throughout the city. Queensbridge Houses are the nation’s largest public housing complex. The new roofs are expected to reduce mold, which can cause asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

“Residents may never see the new roof over their heads, but they will feel the difference,” de Blasio said. “We are targeting a major source of leaks and mold, making kids healthier and helping parents sleep easier. With the right resources, we can deliver real-time improvements to the quality of life for thousands of families.”

The Queensbridge Houses also received free WiFi throughout the development, 360 CCTV cameras and 858 security lights.

Major roof replacements of 65 NYCHA buildings began throughout the city in 2015, costing $91.6 million, as part of the first phase of a roof replacement project.

The second phase of the project will repair 78 roofs and cost $100 million. Construction has begun and is expected to be completed by June 2019.

 

A step toward quieter airplane noise for Queens residents

Queens, N.Y. – The fight to lower airplane noise over Queens neighborhoods took a step in the right direction with the signing of the new omnibus spending bill by President Trump.

Signed on March 23, the legislation holds a clause instructing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to analyze new ways of measuring noise from aircrafts in order to reduce it.

The members of Congress’ Quiet Skies Caucus is focused on aircraft noise from LaGuardia and JFK airports. The members include Reps. Grace Meng (D-Flushing), Joe Crowley (D-Queens, Bronx), Tom Suozzi (D-Suffolk, Nassau, Queens), Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn, Queens), Gregory Meeks (D-Queens, Nassau) and Kathleen Rice (D-Nassau). They secured the measure in the spending bill and announced the provision on Monday.

“The blistering sounds of airplane noise in Queens continues to negatively impact the quality of life of borough residents, and looking at a more accurate measurement of noise effects would go a long way towards creating quieter skies over our communities,” said Grace Meng. “I look forward to seeing what other metrics the FAA proposes.”

The FAA uses day-night average sound level (DNL) to measure airplane noise in decibels. The allowable limit for the noise in residential areas is 65 decibels.

According to the agency, when airplanes are flown between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., a 10 decibel penalty is added to the noise they create for the DNL calculation.

Many Quiet Skies activists have called for the allowable decibels to be lowered to 55.

California uses a system called Community Noise Equivalence Level rather than DNL. In addition to the DNL’s penalty between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m., the CNEL adds a five-decibel penalty for flight noise between 7 and 10 p.m.

New York Community Aviation Roundtable Co-chairman Warren Schreiber lives in Bay Terrace, where many residents are unhappy with the noise from LaGuardia planes. He says DNL’s metrics is flawed.

“You could have a plane sometime during the day coming in and producing noise of 80 decibels and then you have another one coming in and producing noise of 40 decibels,” he said. “Take the two of those together, divide it by two.” Schreiber noted the calculation would be 60 decibels, just under the FAA threshold, but those who hear the plane that produced 80 decibels are subject to a painfully loud sound.

Howard Beach-Lindenwold Civic Association President Joann Ariola said airplane noise “has never been as bad as it is now.” She added the FAA “is either not registering airplane noise properly or not listening to the results” of DNL measurements.

Susan Carroll, one of Queens Borough President Melinda Katz’ reps on the aviation roundtable, says the omnibus clause is a major victory for the Quiet Skies movement.

Queens lawmakers offer a solution to making schools safer

Bayside, N.Y. – Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein (D-) and City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-) want Queens public school principals to be able to lock their school’s front doors while school is in session.

Citing the tragic February school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida of 17 students and staff members, Braunstein and Vallone are calling on the New York City Department of Education (DOE) to lift rules that currently mandate front doors remain open from the outside while classes are in session. Vallone cited a recent incident at P.S. 184Q when a suspicious man reportedly entered the school.

“Currently DOE policy requires that school principals keep the front door of their school unlocked during the day. This allows an individual to enter the building before a determination can be made if they represent a danger or not. This deviates from the practice at many private schools where visitors must ring a bell and announce themselves before being permitted entry,” said Braunstein. “Granting public school principals this same authority to confirm whether or not an individual represents a threat before allowing them into a school could prevent dangerous incidents from taking place. It is a change we must consider.”

“When it comes to our students’ safety, we need to be proactive, not reactive, and principals should have the autonomy to decide when they think it is appropriate to preemptively lock their school entrances,” said Vallone. “Incidents like the one at P.S 184 clearly show that our students are not as safe as we think and changes need to be made to make sure that they can learn and grow in the safest environment possible. This request is just the first step in a series of changes that must be made. This must remain our top priority from here on out as we lead the charge for safety in our schools.”

MTA worker struck and killed

College Point, N.Y. – A 59-year-old MTA employee died tragically Tuesday morning when a bus backed into him at the College Point bus depot, police said.

Law enforcement officials said a 56-year-old male MTA bus driver drove a bus in reverse inside the depot on 28th Avenue between Ulmer Street and College Point Boulevard at about 10:20 a.m. on March 27. The victim had been changing tires on a nearby vehicle. It appears the bus driver did not see the other MTA employee and proceeded to back the bus into the victim, killing him.

EMS rushed to aid the victim, but the worker was pronounced dead at the scene. His identity is being withheld pending family notification.

According to WABC-TV, the bus driver is being questioned about the incident.

Police from the 109th Precinct are investigating the accident, but say no criminality is suspected.

 

 

 

Fountains at Flushing Meadows Corona Park to be Revamped in Fall 2018

Flushing, N.Y. – A $5.2 million reconstruction project beginning Fall 2018 will revamp the fountains and reflecting pool that make up the ‘Fountains of the Fair’ located south of the iconic Flushing Meadows Unisphere.

The revamp will begin with transforming the reflecting pool into a ‘mist garden,’ said Parks Department spokesperson Meghan Lalor. Specialized mist and fog jets will create a cloud mist that will rise between 3 and 5 feet above the surface.

The center fountain will be made into a sunken performance area surrounded by lawn according to the Parks Department. The large fountain will be transformed into a water play area, complete with spray showers. New seating and lights will also be added.

The area will be paved with an art deco pattern to honor the look of the park during the 1939 World’s Fair.

The center and large fountain along with the reflecting pool were constructed for the 1964 World’s Fair. The pools were revamped in 2000 but were damaged during Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

The Parks Department held public ‘visioning sessions’ in 2015 and 2016 to get community input on the reconstruction. The community wanted more water options and expressed a desire to keep the art deco details of the first World’s Fair held at the park in 1939.

 

Bayside holds first ever St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Bayside, N.Y. – The ‘Wearin’ ‘O the Green’ was strong and steady as the first Saint Patrick’s Day Parade was held today at 10 a.m. down Bell Boulevard.

Enthusiasts marched down Bayside’s ‘main street’ between 36th and 41st Avenues to celebrate Irish heritage and culture. Nearly 20 community groups participated in the parade according to Kieran Mahoney, one of the event organizers. There was no shortage of Irish dance schools and bands. Those that marched include groups from Blessed Sacrament Catholic Academy, Sacred Heart Catholic Academy of Bayside and Holy Cross High School. Mahoney said the parade turnout was larger than expected.

Planning for the inaugural event began last October including raising funds to pull off the event. A dinner dance was held in January at VIVO! Mediterranean Grill & Catering and musical events were run by Monahan & Fitzgerald, a local Irish pub. The celebration was also sponsored by local businesses

The Grand Marshal of the parade was Pat Lynch, President of the Patrolman’s Benevolent Association of the City of New York (NYCPBA).

The parade promises to be an annual event along Bayside’s famed Bell Boulevard.

 

Update Your Passport, No Appointment Necessary at QCC in Bayside

Bayside, N.Y. – Whether you’re looking to renew your passport or you’re a first-time passport applicant, Queensborough Community College is now offering Passport Processing Services with no appointment necessary. The service is available to students, faculty and staff as well as members of the community.

QCC is the only City University of New York (CUNY) college to offer full-scale passport processing services in its Bursar Office. Applications will be reviewed by certified staff members who will also determine if passport photos meet strict Department of State guidelines. Completed applications will be sent to passport processing centers by Priority Mail. Walk-in passport services are not available at U.S. post offices and other locations, which require an appointment.

“This is a unique resource for the College and the community. This flexibility is so important for families as well as students, and a great convenience during the holidays, the busiest time of year,” said Christine Francavilla, Enrollment Bursar Director.

For more information, visit qcc.cuny.edu.

 

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