"Well, don't do that," the doctor replies.
It's an old joke and one you've probably heard a thousand times. And it brings to mind the mess surrounding the DOT proposals to change 84th Street and 89th Avenue. Both of these changes are going to hurt our community. And so, the solution is simple – don't do that.
Don't do anything. Do no harm. Leave both streets alone. At the public hearing back in February, DOT Commissioner Maura McCarthy said that neither proposed change resulted from safety concerns. Neither street is an accident prone location.
There were no requests from residents asking for these changes. One request came from a single resident, now deceased. The other requested change, 84th Street, came from Boston Market. The residents of Woodhaven were not aware of either harmful request until it was almost too late.
The entire exercise exposed just how poor communications are between the different entities involved. The Woodhaven Residents' Block Association, Community Board 9 and the Department of Transportation must work together to make sure such confusion never happens again. But now that the confusion has been lifted it is clear that both proposed street changes must be rejected.
Community Board 9 will vote on these proposed street changes next Tuesday, March 13th. The meeting begins at 7:45 p.m. at our volunteer ambulance corps, located at 78-15 Jamaica Avenue. We need a strong show of support to make sure that both of these streets are left alone. Remember the message we want to send the DOT: Don't do that.
An entirely different matter - the rezoning of Woodhaven and Richmond Hill - will also be voted upon at the next meeting of Community Board 9. Zoning laws determine what can and can't be built in our community. Over time, these laws are reviewed and altered to fit the community's needs to (a) guard against over-development; and (b) promote development where desirable.
The current zoning laws governing development in Woodhaven are vastly out of date. How out of date? The last time they were adjusted Lawrence Welk and Chubby Checker had Top Ten records. Eisenhower was President. It was an entirely different world.
The Woodhaven Residents' Block Association held a public forum with City Planning in January and unequivocally supports the plan that is now on the table. We have heard from our members and our residents and they, too, fully support the plan.
However, there is a group of businessmen in Richmond Hill who are against the plan. In a recent interview with the New York Daily News, one of the men against the plan asked "The new census data is showing the community has increased so why are we talking about down-zoning?"
This gentleman makes our point for us. The majority of complaints that the WRBA receives have their root cause in overcrowding. Not enough parking, overcrowded schools, too much garbage, too much noise, too much traffic, too much, too much.
While the plan on the table will not help turn back the tide it will certainly prevent it from getting worse. And with the new census data showing an increase in population the time to act is now, not later.
We urge Community Board 9 to vote in favor of the rezoning plan put forth by City Planning. We hope the residents of Woodhaven will come out on Tuesday, March 13th to show their support for this plan which will help protect and preserve Woodhaven.
In summary, on street changes our stance is "No. Don't do that."
And on Rezoning our stance is "Yes. Please pass this ASAP."
If you have any questions drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 718-296-3735. Hope to see you on the 13th at the Ambulance Corps.