2014-03-14 / Columnists

Beachcomber

A couple of petitions have popped up online at change.org. One is for a bike/pedestrian lane on the Rockaway Freeway under the elevated track. The other petition is to restore the West Pond at Jamaica Bay. The link for the bike path is: http://www.change.org/petitions/bill-de-blasio-pedestrian-walkway-bike-lane-under-the-a-train-on-rockaway-freeway and for Jamaica Bay: http://www.change.org/petitions/sally-jewell-restore-the-west-pond-at-ja...

At a press conference on Monday, Senator Chuck Schumer called Wave editor Kevin Boyle, “O’Connor.” When Schumer joked and apologized for the miscue, Boyle said, “Don’t worry about it, Senator Goldstein.”

Schumer, wearing his usual green tie for the St. Patrick season, told residents he’ll be here for next year’s parade. He says Binghamton has its parade the same day as Rockaway so he’s got to alternate. That’s a better excuse than we heard from the mayor.

The city has Build It Back. The state has NY Rising. This week the state announced that 6,388 homeowners have been issued checks for more than $280 million for home rebuilding. As of February 23rd Build It Back has helped 154 homeowners. The state 6388, the city 154.

Milan Taylor, president of the Rockaway Youth Task Force, asked an interesting question. How can the image of Far Rockaway be improved? We’d like to hear sensible ideas, send them in.

City Councilman Eric Ulrich is floating the idea of a pedestrian plaza for one side of the beach block on Beach 116th Street in the summer. The idea would be to put out some tables and umbrellas, maybe have some performers, maybe some different kind of vendors … Hey, they did it on Broadway and 42nd Street in Manhattan, so maybe 116th Street could try? We’re guessing some merchants would love the idea, others not so much. We’d like to hear the pros and cons from people who work there.

Sand is on the way. The same sand that was supposed to be pumped on the beach in September now has a target date of March 22nd. Weeks Marine, the company handling the job, will have to hurry on the beaches the piping plovers call home. Once the plovers settle in on April 1st, the sand pumping for those beaches gets turned off.

Work crews and heavy machinery were seen in Fort Tilden last Sunday cleaning up debris, including huge chunks of concrete of what used to be Shore Road. The beaches for fishermen and hipsters alike are supposed to reopen by the summer.

The Senate is expected to vote on and pass the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act which will be a great thing for local real estate. While there are still issues and FEMA will really need to be monitored by Congress, the new law will stop the chance of premiums costing 20 or 30 thousand dollars a year in the near term. When and if the President signs it into law, we breathe a little easier. But even then, we’ll have to stay on top of this. FEMA and Big Insurance cannot be trusted.

After just two months in office, the mayor cited a drop in crime and praised the new policies of Police Commissioner Bratton. Bratton acknowledged that snow and freezing temperatures might have helped. In any case, it’s good to know the mayor has such faith in his commissioners. If he ever gets around to naming a Parks Commissioner maybe that person will work miracles like Bratton.

Danny Ruscillo is pushing for a turn signal at Beach 108th Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard. He produced statistics from the 100th Precinct which indicate there have been six accidents at that intersction this year. Previously, the DOT said a turn signal was not warranted.

The Community Board should invite an official from the Fish and Wildlife agency. They should be made to answer questions about the piping plover and just how much land the birds are entitled to. John Gaska of CB 14 says the birds have more right than humans. Well, ok but we’d like to know just how far these rights extend. We’d like to know how these birds found the same spots after Sandy tore apart beaches. And we’d like to know how these birds will find their favorite spots with new 16 foot dunes and a beach that’s full of new sand. And what’s to stop the birds from claiming YOUR beach?

Medians help beautify streets. More and more towns are putting them in with a dual purpose. They can be designed to catch flood waters. As the future unfolds and Rockaway prepares for future events, it makes sense to think of things inland, too. If Rockaway gets beach and bay protection and has other flood-proofing in place, flood insurance costs will be kept in check. All of Rockaway will benefit.

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