2013-04-12 / Columnists

Simon says...

Commentary From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B

Lew M. Simon Lew M. Simon We are very proud to announce the Grand Opening of the Good Government Regular Democratic Club on Thursday, April 18 th at 7:30 p.m.. All are invited to attend our ribbon cutting and hear from our elected officials and some citywide candidates.

After Hurricane Sandy completely destroyed our office, we are now located at Ocean Promenade Rehab, 140 Beach 113th Street. It is handicapped accessible and has an adjacent parking lot. Food and refreshments will be served.

We expect many public officials including Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Comptroller John Liu, Rep. Gregory Meeks, Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, Senator Joseph Addabbo and many others. Come one, come all. We are asking for a donation of $2.00 to help with the costs of restarting our club. We will accept your yearly dues of $25 or a contribution of any size.

We want to see you, but if you cannot attend please send a check for your membership to the GGRDC c/o Ocean Promenade Rehab, 140 Beach 113th Street Rockaway Park, NY 11694.

On Thursday evening we attended the Community Board 14 Transportation Committee meeting chaired by Martin Ingram.

The guest speaker was Norman C. Silverman who is the head of MTA bus operations. Martin allowed Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder to speak first and then I addressed a number of issues such as overcrowding of Q52 and Q53 buses. They have been bypassing Broad Channel because they are overcrowded. As we are well aware the A train is not running and Broad Channel residents are trapped.

We spoke about the need to restore the QM express bus back to the circle at Fort Tilden so Breezy Point residents can get off the Blue Goose shuttle and board the QM16.

We also asked why Manhattan express buses depart from the Beach 49th Street depot but bypass Rockaway passengers and start picking up passengers in Lindenwood 19 or 20 hours a day with weekend service. Rockaway, Broad Channel and Breezy Point are the stepchildren of the city and can't get such service. Why can't we have midday, late evening and weekend service?

After Hurricane Sandy we were left paralyzed with no A train. When A service is suspended for track repair shuttle buses pick up passengers at Beach 116th Street, Beach 105th Street, Beach 98th Street and Broad Channel and go straight to the Rockaway Boulevard station. Now they make us take the H train at Beach 90th Street to Mott Avenue to board MTA buses to go to through Nassau County and deal with extra traffic and make a long commute to Rockaway Boulevard. How asinine? Why not use the Crossbay Bridge? When we questioned Silverman he got defensive and said that we don't have enough buses and our community doesn't have the need or ridership.

When people asked about adding buses for the Q52 and Q53 or adding a stop on Beach 60th Street, he went crazy. We spoke about Q53 service and overcrowding, he said that we were wrong. I said that we had numerous conversations with the bus dispatcher. Silverman told us that a replacement for the retired dispatcher had worked there for two days. He was condescending to me. (This a different individual from Norman Silverman, a local resident, who is an advocate of reopening the Rockaway LIRR line. Same name; different person.)

On Saturday we attended a NYC Parks Department input session. Among our conclusions were that we needed protection with a combination boardwalk seawall with 10 to 15 foot dunes in front from Beach 74 to Beach 126 Streets. From Beach 126th street to Beach 149th street we need higher seawalls. We need a 10 to 15 foot high wall along the bay. Sand replenishment must begin immediately. The Army Corps must build T groins along the beach from one end of the peninsula to the other.

These jobs will require the Parks Department and Army Corps to get together and plan and work together. We urged that the play areas from Beach 74th Street to Beach 109th Street be raised 10 to 15 feet and make a structure like the High Line in Manhattan. The Rockaway Rockies must get a new roller rink. New skate parks, handball, volleyball and basketball courts are needed with an amphitheater at Beach 94-Beach 95 Street. Deputy Borough President Barry Grodenchik, the only public official present made it clear that he was supporting reopening the Rockaway Beach line.

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