Category Archives: Politics

Commission To Look At Mayor’s Congestion Pricing Plan

A commission was assembled yesterday to study Mayor Bloomberg’s congestion pricing, traffic-cutting proposal and present a recommendation to state and city lawmakers.  The plan includes a fee for drivers, up to $8, for driving into Manhattan below 86th Street during peak hours.

According to the New York Times:

Gov. Eliot Spitzer nominated Marc V. Shaw, a former deputy mayor under Mr. Bloomberg, as head of the 17-member commission, which must make its recommendation by Jan. 31 on whether to impose an $8 daily charge on drivers entering Manhattan below 86th Street. The charge for trucks would be $21.

The commission includes two other members appointed by the governor, who has endorsed the mayor’s proposal, three members appointed by Mayor Bloomberg and three appointed by City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, who has also supported the plan.

It would appear from those appointments that the mayor can count on a majority of commission members to back his plan. The commission was created by a law passed during a special legislative session in July as a compromise between supporters and opponents of the congestion pricing plan.

The federal government revealed last week that it would give New York $354 million if it went forward with the mayor’s congestion plan.

Members Named for Panel Studying Traffic-Cutting Plan [N.Y. Times]
Panel Established To Debate Congestion Pricing Plan [NY1]

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91st Street Residents Oppose Bike Path

The city is aiming to double the amount of bike lanes from 200 miles to 400 miles in the next two years, according to this article in the NY Sun (via Gothamist).  (I know – who knew we had any bike lanes?)

The bike plan calls for a path to run from Central Park to East River, and part of this route woud be installed on 91st Street, which between 2nd and 3rd is blocked off from any traffic (these bike paths look like this).  The bike path plan, of course, has residents pissed.

According to the Sun

Since it was closed to vehicles in 1978 and zoned by the city as a “play” street, the quiet block of East 91st Street between Second and Third avenues has become a private promenade for strolling Upper East Side residents, as well as children who play football and skateboard unattended in the street.

“It’s more than just a street to everyone who lives here,” a resident of 35 years, Jane Colton, said yesterday, sitting on the curb with her aging Dalmatian. “It’s what makes our neighborhood special.” The community has even banned running groups from using the street. “We like it dead here,” a community resident of 30 years, Louis DeStephano, said.

Louis, if you’re looking for a someplace that’s really dead, there’s a spot a little further north called Connecticut, and it sounds like it would be a great fit for you.

I think it’s great the 91st Street residents have been able to take a street in the middle of New York City and turn it into their own quaint little private park, built on city property — good for them. But banning running groups? No bike paths? Can the rest of us play or what?

More:
East 91st Street Unhappy About Impending Bike Path [Gothamist]

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Filed under 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 91st, Politics

New Noise Codes Aim To Make City Quieter, Good Luck With That

A new ordinance kicked in Sunday aimed at bringing down the noise levels in New York City.  The new codes will attempt to address noise from construction sites, bars and clubs, barking dogs, ice cream trucks (really?) and garbage trucks, among other things.

According to the New York Times:

…contractors must produce “noise mitigation plans,” and post them at their job sites, informing the public how they intend to minimize the sounds of exploding rock, yammering jackhammers and other outbursts. Garbage trucks must stay at least 50 feet away from residential buildings between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.; ice cream trucks must turn off their cheery jingles when parked at the curb; and poorly muffled motorcycles and trucks will be barred.

 garbage1.jpg
(pic via www.stefpix.com)

Out of curiousity, how is a garbage truck going to stay at least 50 feet away from buildings?  That means they can’t drive down side streets, right?  And how are they going to pick up trash if they don’t drive down side streets?  I guess these new codes are going to be like those fake laws nobody enforces or pays attention to – like jay walking or smoking pot?

If you’re interested in reading the whole ordinance, let me pull out a portion and show you why you and I aren’t lawyers:

From the 25 page noise code PDF provided by the city:

§4. Subdivision (a) of section 24-208 of such code is amended to read as follows: (a) The commissioner may require the written registration of air compressors, paving breakers, refuse compacting vehicles and rapid transit railroads, including but not limited to its rolling stock, track and trackbeds, passenger stations, circulation devices rated 300,000 BTUs or higher, tunnels, elevated structures, yards, depots and garages. A period of sixty days shall be allowed for the filing of such registration measured from the date such registration is required by the commissioner or with respect to devices installed after such requirement is instituted measured from the date of installation. However, in cases of emergency, the commissioner may designate a shorter period of time. §5. Section 24-211 of such code is amended to read as follows: §24-211 Display of permits[,] and certificates [and other notices; removal or mutilation prohibited]. Any tunneling permit or certificate required by this code shall be displayed in the vicinity of the device on the premises designated on the tunneling permit or certificate or in the vicinity of the place where the device will be operated or supervised.v§6. Paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of section 24-213 of such code is amended tovread as follows:

Great read.  I want more:

SUBCHAPTER 4 11
Construction Noise Management
§24-219 Noise mitigation rules. (a) The commissioner shall adopt rules prescribing noise mitigation strategies, methods, procedures and technology that shall be used at construction sites whenever any one or more of the construction devices or activities listed below are employed or performed:
(1) air compressors.
(2) pile drivers.
(3) sledgehammers.
(4) bulldozers.
(5) pneumatic hammers.
(6) steam shovels.
(7) derricks.
(8) cranes.
(9) steam or electric hoists.
(10) off-road construction vehicles other than trucks.
(11) pumps.
(12) pneumatic tools.
(13) blasting.
(14) power tools.
(15) tunneling machines.

This one makes more sense.  If by chance they’re listing things that shouldn’t be noisy, I want to add my next door neighbor who’s a DJ.

Also – as I’m writing this, there’s a gargabe truck on 78th doing everything except being quiet.

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Bloomberg Plan Includes Fees For Drivers Leaving City

traffic.jpg

This one flew under the radar.
Back in late April, on Earth Day, Mayor Bloomberg unveiled 127 initiatives aimed at reducing the city’s negative impact on the environment – a key objective of the plan is to cut greenhouse emissions by 30 percent by 2030. A much publicized proposed initiative in the Bloomberg plan is to charge drivers coming into the city south of 86th street a congestion fee of $8.What hasn’t been much publicized is the plan to charge those driving OUT of the zone – including a majority of the Upper East Side – a $8 fee as well, according to the New York Times.

From the Times:

It might seem that anyone taking a car out of the congestion zone ought to be rewarded instead of penalized, but officials disagreed.

“We’re not trying to get people to leave the zone in their cars,” said Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff, who played a leading role in fashioning the plan. “Overall what we’re trying to do is get people to use their cars less.”

And later:

In seeking public support for the plan, city officials have not been emphasizing the fee that will be imposed on those driving out of the congestion pricing zone, perhaps in part because the fee would be levied on far fewer drivers than those who drive in every day.

But city officials also appear aware of the political sensitivity of the plan, and are counting on support from people residing inside the zone, who could be expected to benefit from the drop in traffic. Most opposition so far has come from the other boroughs, and the suburbs, where some residents see it as a financial burden and an elitist initiative that favors Manhattan.

The plan seems likely to go through. Approval on the state level would give New York a shot at mega-bucks — over a half billion — from the Dept of Transportation to help implement the overall plan. The Governor supports it and now the State Legislature is expected to make a decision in July.

A spokesman for the federal Department of Transportation, said it was unlikely that New York would get the money if the Legislature did not quickly approve the plan, according to the Times.

While I’m a fan of many of the parts of Bloomberg’s proposal, there’s this to consider — cars are like cigarettes with people, they can’t give them up.  So, you know what’s going to happen?  This will get approved. People will keep driving in and out of the city, and they’ll pay the congestion fee, and the road rage is going to sky-rocket.   

So, instead of almost getting hit by a driver who’s experiencing a meltdown about once a week, I’m betting that’s going to be a daily occurence.  I guess I should start wearing this when I leave the apartment:

bodyarmor.jpg

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Filed under 59th, 60th, 61st, 62nd, 63rd, 64th, 65th, 66th, 67th, 68th, 69th, 70th, 71st, 72nd, 73rd, 74th, 75th, 76th, 77th, 78th, 79th, 80th, 81st, 82nd, 84th, 85th, 86th, Politics

10021 Gets Overhaul

The Upper East Side’s zip code is getting an overhaul — 10021 will be divided into three zips, 10065, 10021, and 10075 —  effective July 1.  A postcard sent out by the post office attributes the zip code change to the increase in residents in the area:

yellowcardfront.jpg

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney has a list of FAQs on her website regarding the change.  According to the site, the new zips will cover the following areas:

(the borders on the west and east are 5th ave and East River) 

10065: East 61st Street through East 68th Street

10021: East 69th Street through East 76th Street

10075: East 77th Street through East 80th Street

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Filed under 61st, 62nd, 63rd, 64th, 65th, 66th, 67th, 68th, 69th, 70th, 71st, 72nd, 73rd, 74th, 75th, 76th, 77th, 78th, 79th, 80th, Politics

“Upper East Side Rich White Vanilla”

Take offense to that?

It’s the name of one of the offerings from local boutique ice cream company 5 Boroughs Ice Cream. The company ran into hot water today due to the name given to another one of their flavors – “Staten Island Landfill.”

Kim and Scott Myles, the Queens couple who founded 5 Boroughs said they intended no harm with “Landfill” name, according to AP.  But Staten Island borough president James Molinaro is ppiisssseeeddddd off.  He says the moniker is “insulting and derogatory,” and he’s calling for a boycott. 

Via AP:

“The stereotyping of our community is as ignorant as it is hurtful,” the infuriated politician wrote. “Even the most basic research effort would easily reveal the positive qualities that truly define our community.”

Hey dude, you live in Staten Island, feel lucky they remembered you.  Every time I’m in a conversation that includes listing the boroughs it goes something like this:

“The five boroughs?  Yeah, there’s Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and…….ah….hmmm.”

And 30 minutes later someone says “the landfill place…ah…Staten Island.”

More accounts of anger:
Pol: Say No To ‘Staten Island Landfill’ Ice Cream [CBS]
Politican Soured on Trashy Dessert [NY Times]

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Filed under General, Politics

Kellner Wins, N.Y. Post Of Course Writes Bisexual Headline

Micah Kellner won the special election held Tuesday for an Assembly seat representing the Upper East Side.

Kellner, a Democrat and aide to the New York City comptroller, ran against Gregory Camp, a Republican who got beat up pretty bad at the polls. The Times reports 64 percent of the vote went to Kellner and Camp received 35 percent with 100 percent of the precincts reporting.

For a full wrap-up see the below links to the New York Times and — the always classy — New York Post.

Links:
Comptroller’s Aide Wins Upper East Side Assembly Seat [Times]
BISEXUAL POL WINS [Post]

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