PUBLISHED BY MOSHOLU PRESERVATION CORPORATION

Vol. 16, No. 9    April 24 - May 7, 2003



     
 

Filtration Questions

The city wants to build a $1.5 billion filtration plant across the street from the Woodlawn No. 4 elevated train, residential buildings and all this traffic. But it has yet to present its full plan to community residents and the elected officials who they expect to vote for their bare-bones proposal to build the facility in this section of Van Cortlandt Park. See editorial below

Editorial
Filtration Follies

Only in Albany could a bill be introduced by no one.

And that's exactly what is happening with legislation to alienate Van Cortlandt Park

There's a joke in the state capital -- and it would be funny if it weren't so indicative of its backward, secretive ways -- that when a legislator wants to introduce a bill without leaving any fingerprints, he or she has it introduced by Assemblyman Rules (pronounced rooLAYS). What that means is that the bill is introduced in the Rules Committee where it is not necessary to have the name of a sponsoring lawmaker on the legislation.

This absurdity is symbolic of everything that is wrong with the city's efforts to push a skeletal bill through Albany. The bill has virtually no information to indicate the size, scope and impact of such a facility. There have been zero public hearings on this latest incarnation of a proposal to build in the park, and none of the mandated procedures created to prevent reckless disregard for public resources have been followed.

A bill about nothing sponsored by no one. Sounds like a "Seinfeld" episode. Or it would, if real life and real people in real buildings across from a real park weren't involved.

Luckily, park advocates have legal eagles at the ready. And the last time the community and the city wound up in court to prevent building in Van Cortlandt Park, the state's highest court in Albany practically laughed the city's lawyers out of town.

If the city wants this to play out like a situation comedy, it could have a very familiar ending.

Oval Progress?

While we're pleased that something is finally going to be done to slow traffic on
Williamsbridge Oval, we're a little disappointed.

It's been several years and many, many meetings since community residents first began to demand that the Department of Transportation (DOT) do something to prevent cars from using Reservoir Oval as a speedway.

So, we hoped the DOT would come up with something a little more substantial to slow traffic than painted yellow lines. As the borough commissioner herself said, if this is to work, police enforcement is critical. But how likely is a regular police presence around the Oval during a severe fiscal crisis?

Speed bumps and stop signs do not require enforcement. The bumps physically force drivers to slow down, and almost all drivers at least slow down considerably for a stop sign.

It's clear that the recipe for getting action on the Oval is tireless community vigilance. We have no doubt that the committee of residents working on this issue will continue to press DOT until it is satisfied that pedestrians and park users are truly safe, and we congratulate them for their hard work up to this point.

Maybe the yellow lines will work, and if it they do, we will be the first to applaud the DOT. But if they don't, we will urge the agency to stop studying and start acting to protect the people of Norwood.

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