Volume 20, Number 45 | THE NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN | MARCH 21 - 27, 2008

Letters to the editor

Gerson’s with Downtown

To The Editor:
Re “Gerson’s a definite maybe on traffic pricing” (news article, March 14 –20):

I have seen Mr. Gerson in several community meetings on congestion pricing, and Alan is now voting on congestion pricing the way Downtowners want him to.  Questions about serious flaws in congestion pricing have been raised in these community meetings and these questions have not been answered satisfactorily by Dept. of Transportation and PlaNYC representatives. 

As it stands now, all toll bridge and tunnel vehicles (Holland Tunnel) would not be discouraged at all by congestion pricing because of the automatic deduction it offers — therefore, no decrease in traffic (at Canal St.).  Logically, parking permit abuse needs to be eliminated before implementing any congestion pricing to ensure that 140,000-plus government sector vehicles with permits are not exempt from this tax. 

And, how about D.O.T. enforcement of Downtown no-permit areas, and $300 million lost from parking meter revenue due to parking permit abuse?  Councilman Gerson is doing the right thing because he has not heard real answers regarding these issues as they relate to congestion pricing — congestion pricing is far from ready for N.Y.C.
Geoff Lee
Probing look at M.T.A.  

To The Editor:
Impressed I am by Downtown Express’s regular probing reports on the broken promises made by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.  Used daily by millions, New York’s subway system is lacking in efficiency, dependability and — as far as management is concerned — basic accountability.

“It’ll be something more than a plaza, but less than the oculus” is M.T.A. spokesperson Aaron Donovan’s nebulous answer as to what will replace the lost livelihoods, buildings and (seemingly) elementary budget skills sacrificed for the Fulton Street Transit Center (news article, March 7 – 13, “Some sort of building will rise at Fulton, M.T.A. says”).  Without Downtown Express, residents of Lower Manhattan would not be informed of the intellectual and managerial shortcomings necessary to promise such a de facto golden egg and simultaneously disregard a resultant budgetary shortfall of over $400 million.  In the meantime, business owners are evicted, traffic is disrupted and subway service becomes more unreliable and slower than the already dismal norm.  If the M.T.A. were a real, vulnerable, accountable business, Aaron Donovan would confess shortcomings or be fired.  Unfortunately, the M.T.A. does not hold itself responsible to customer satisfaction nor basic balancing of its budget.

Your paper continually exposes the corruption and inefficiency rooted in the M.T.A.  Thank you for pursuing an issue that concerns every New Yorker.
 Ammon Dennis


Bad planning plans

To The Editor:
Re “C.B. 1’s divided views on geographic divisions” (news article, March 14 – 20):  

Please don’t be fooled when Julie Menin, chair of Community Board 1, says that the year-old Planning Committee will be able to weigh in, or have a say, or are invited to discuss things with her geographical committees. Land use resolutions that affect us for decades should go to a board-wide Planning Committee (made up of diverse members from all over the board who can develop a sense of history and expertise).  Let the NIMBY geographic committees “weigh in” or “have a say” at the Planning Committee if you wish.

As far as Andy Neale’s comments that we never discussed inclusionary zoning/affordable housing during the Jack Parker application, I refer to his own e-mail in 2005 where he wrote “If it means giving up even 1 [inch] of height limit or .0001 of [floor-to-area ratio] I am totally against it.”  So C.B. 1 never looked at modifying its inclusionary
zoning provisions in the special district to prevent huge 100,000 square feet bonuses such as at Leonard and Church Sts., and never looked at having any affordable housing provisions at Jack Parker. That was one of the reasons that I asked Julie to let me start a Planning Committee and quit chairing the Tribeca Committee.  We never really get into the details, just the politics.

My goal was to have a board-wide comprehensive Planning Committee that prepares and votes on land use resolutions like all other boards in the city, and treat planning with the same respect and importance as we treat landmarks, quality of life, the waterfront, youth and education at C.B. 1.
Rick Landman,
Outgoing member of Community Board 1


Market’s not super

To The Editor:
As a long time Downtown resident, I fully support the need for a large food market (news article, March14 - 20, “Seaport mall identifies site for large food market”). But the idea of using prime waterfront property for a traditional grocery store is alarming.

I can only hope the large food market being discussed would add to the charm of the community and would also open up more usable waterfront for community use.
Mark Goldsmith

Editor’s Note: It’s unclear precisely what type of food market might open in the Seaport. General Growth Properties has not mentioned a supermarket in any public discussions about the mall and has said that it is considering a public market, which could be similar to a farmers’ market.



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