Three Modest Recommendations
The following letter was sent to Community Board 14. Dear Editor,
Your six Vision 2020 goals for ‘the City’ are laudable and dead-on, but do not appear to correspond to your goals for Reach 17, The Rockaways. Your Rockaway plan appears somewhat fragmented, segmented and without a unifying vision. I’d like to offer three recommendations, please...
(1) An Esplanade from Tribute Park to the Marine Park Bridge: In light of your laudable 2020 Goal #1 seeking to “expand public access to the waterfront”; and, in light of the deteriorated conditions of Rockaway’s Bay Wall along it’s entire southern perimeter that DOT will be repairing in the nottoo distant future, why then are you promoting public access for only 5 blocks, from B 125 to B 130? For a 10 year plan, isn’t that rather timid, a bit fragmented, and not much of a vision? As the entire bay wall from Tribute Park to the Marine Park Bridge must be restored soon - well within the next ten years - why are you not recommending the entire wall be rejuvenated as The Jamaica Bay Esplanade? View it, my dear planning board, as a walk-way, a green-way, a bike-way...that is, ‘expanded public access’. Esplanades are not foreign to NYC, and in fact since 1990 the city has been furiously building promenades and esplanades all across Manhattan & Brooklyn. How about one (1) esplanade here in Queens (population 2.2 M New Yorkers) overlooking one of the NE’s greatest urban parks, The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge?
(2) Jamaica Bay For Non-Motorized Craft: Further, your planning targets along the bay-front west of Tribute Park...including B 108, Beach Channel HS access, B 88, B 80, The Edgemere Landfill and Bayswater Park...
Letters why is the Planning Board viewing each location separately and NOT wholly and integrally as points of embarkation and destination on a ‘Jamaica Bay Waterway Guide’? Naturally, this so-called guide would include other points of interest such as at The Wildlife Refuge and in Broad Channel. I mean, isn’t that what 10-year plans try to do...lay out a big-picture & unifying vision...and then seek to develop each site with the big-view in mind? Again, and not to repeat myself but this plan seems to approach each site along the bayfront separately and distinctly, rather than as integrated points of interest along the rejuvenated Jamaica Bay...a delightful destination for the homeowners and residents of Rockaway, as well as for the people of Queens, Brooklyn and in fact all New Yorkers.
(3) Ferry: Hint...Rockaway is surrounded by blue-water. Hint...JFK’s southern perimeter is bounded by blue-water. Hint...DOT has been pounding the table for years to link ‘the City’ thru a blue-water network.
Hint...Your 2020 Goal #4 states “enhance the public experience of the “Blue Network” by expanding waterborne transportation.”
What am I missing here? Or, more pointedly, why does this planning document NOT EVEN CONSIDER linking Rockaway, and especially B 108 and JFK, to the blue water network? Reach 17 needs a ferry and JFK needs a ferry...and, not in 10 years, but in 2011! Why the disconnect from what you say for NYC, and then what you plan for Rockaway?
You begin your planning document with the words “Vision 2020 is a plan to enhance NYC’s waterfront and waterways, one of the city’s most valuable assets.” I agree completely & wholeheartedly with your vision, but NOT your Rockaway execution. I hope you take a minute to consider my thoughts and recommendations.
PETER J. STUBBEN