2006-03-10 / Columnists


By Joanie Omeste, Executive Director, Rockaway Chamber of Commerce

JOANIE OMESTE A quick parking update - Loading zones will be receiving the traditional red signs, replacing many "no parking" signs, which will cut down on the confusion and clutter. In response to requests from storeowners and patrons, loading zone times may shorten. People have complained about the meter time changing from 7p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Chamber has requested that DOT change the time back to 7 p.m. and is confident this will happen. When you ask? Additional parking spaces will be added to the northwest median when the weather turns a little nicer due to the asphalt work that needs to be done.

Additional muni-meters are on order for the central median. You may have noticed many of the new light fixtures not working, please be aware that DOT, Department of Design and Construction, the contractors along with the Mayor's Community Assistance Unit are working to have this problem corrected as soon as possible.

In answer to the question of "why?" parallel parking. This was in direct response to the businesses' requests for more parking. The original parking configuration had 103 spaces.

This plan designates 121 spaces conservatively assuming 22' per space for larger cars, vans or SUV's.

However, since the spaces are not rigidly marked, the flexibility makes it possible to reduce wasted space when most vehicles are mid-size or compact cars. What that means is you can actually get between 132 to 145 spaces. I did a personal walk through on a nice day and counted 140 legally parked cars.

Storefront angle-in parking toward the curb was a popular idea, but it would have meant removal of the median, which exists to increase safety for pedestrians by making it possible to cross the street in two separate short phases. Removal of the median would have also meant removal of the lights and trees. In addition, the overhang of the vehicles angle parked in front of the stores would take up the limited sidewalk space, plus the utility poles, street lights, etc., would have to be pushed back and would further narrow the area of the sidewalk....and probably the determining factor was that redoing the sidewalks would have been extremely cost prohibitive.

I noticed while watching the Academy Awards how ethics and integrity were themes threaded throughout the award acceptance speeches as well as many of the movies that were presented (not just the top five). A moral shift is taking place, or being returned, into society and people are feeling it. People are tired of the anger and hypocrisy, and I'm not speaking about government, because the Rockaways have the most dedicated and accessible local elected officials I've ever had the pleasure to associate with. I'm referring to everyday business and personal interactions. Recently, I read an article by Rushworth M. Kidder, the president of the Institute for Global Ethics who wrote, "....the Institute's research showed that five ethical values are widely shared in a multicultural world which show up in every culture: honesty, responsibility, fairness, compassion and respect." It's much more difficult to follow the opposite: keeping up with lies, blaming others, disrespecting the people around you; what an unfortunate and unproductive waste of precious time....time that can be better spent serving the community instead of taking from it.

I'm coming upon my second anniversary in the Rockaways and am continuously impressed by the wonderful people I deal with every day, many of whom contribute their good reason and intelligence behind the scenes. The old ways that hurt the Rockaways, the profiteers of an economically depressed area, are no longer prospering, but they are hanging on quite vehemently to a waning existence.

As the neighborhood goes through its renaissance and revitalization, I witness on a daily basis good ethics and integrity in action and coming to the forefront....this is truly what makes a neighborhood flourish.

Even competitive organizations can work together to achieve the same goals, and do something remarkable...achieve that goal! As an example, the Chamber is very supportive of the Rockaway East Merchants Association (REMA); both are membership driven organizations and, on paper, are competing for the same membership dollar. Both of our organizations have chosen to work together and to promote each other; therefore, when one wins to make the community better...both win, the community wins, and isn't that the core mission of both organizations?

This is the time for good people to shine and make it known who you are and what you stand for with honesty, responsibility, fairness, compassion and respect.

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