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25 mph speed limit

The New York City Council yesterday passed legislation that reduces the citywide speed limit on residential streets from 30 miles per hour to 25 mph, a move that lawmakers and advocates said would, if properly enforced, dramatically reduce traffic-related injuries and fatalities.

After state legislators voted in June to allow the city to lower the speed limit, the Council approved the bill, sponsored by Councilman David Greenfield, that aims to slow vehicles on streets where speed limits are not posted – meaning roads overseen by the state Department of Transportation (such as expressways and parkways) will not be affected. The reduction is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative, which aims to dramatically curb traffic injuries and deaths over the next decade.

“Reducing the default speed limit in New York City is the lynchpin of Vision Zero,” Greenfield said in a statement to the press.

City officials said they plan to launch a three week publicity campaign about the speed reduction on Monday, according to the New York Times, and the new speed limit will go into effect on November 7.

The nonprofit Transportation Alternatives also backed the Council’s move, saying “if properly enforced, the new speed limit could prevent more than 6,500 traffic injuries in the next year and cut the annual number of pedestrian fatalities in half.”

The group urged de Blasio to quickly give his stamp of approval to the bill – which the mayor is expected to do and sent out his own statement praising the Council’s vote – and stressed that the NYPD and city Department of Transportation need “to send a stronger message about the dangers of speeding by continuing to improve traffic enforcement and public information initiatives.”

“Unsafe driver speed is the number one cause of traffic deaths in the city, killing more New Yorkers than drunk driving and cell phone use at the wheel combined,” Transportation Alternatives said in the same statement. “A pedestrian hit by a driver going 25 mph is twice as likely to survive as a person hit at 30mph.”

While Councilman Jumaane Williams, who represents portions of Midwood as well as Flatbush and Ditmas Park, was in Cleveland for the vote, he said in a statement Tuesday he would have voted against it.

“I fully support the need to reform traffic laws in New York City, and the majority of proposals offered in ‘Vision Zero,'” Williams said. “When the issue of the citywide reduction previously came before the Council, I voted to give the City discretion on lowering the speed limit, since I believed the City deserved to make this decision. At the same time, I believe that this legislation is too broad in the form passed today and I would have voted against it.”

“Instead of an overall speed limit reduction, the better approach is to study the City’s various neighborhoods and major arteries and assess, with specificity, where a lower speed limit makes the most practical sense,” Williams continued. “For example, it makes sense to carve out school zones as necessary places to have a lower speed limit, as many young people populate these areas. Many side streets and other ‘Slow Zones’ in my district would also benefit from a lower limit. In fact, I would vehemently support lowering the speed limit on many residential streets in my district – with some areas even lower than 25 mph.

Williams goes on to say that he will “continue to support increased enforcement, through speed cameras and stepped-up enforcement of current traffic rules and regulations, and have consistently done so.”

Another local member of the Council, Mark Treyger, who represents Coney Island and Gravesend, voted in favor of the bill, but expressed concerns about enforcement.

“There’s little dispute that there has been a serious number of traffic-related fatalities and there’s no dispute that speed kills,” said Treyger. “The issue that I continue to raise is the issue of enforcement … and making sure it does not become a mechanism for increased revenue, like for these cameras where some of them are problematic. I think it should be for the true intention – to save lives.”

Treyger pointed to the controversial placement of a speed camera on Shore Parkway next to a Belt Parkway exit ramp, as first reported by Sheepshead Bites, as an example of “gotcha” enforcement to be avoided.

“To me, ['gotcha' enforcement] undermines the entire program [of Vision Zero]. The intention should not be to harm working families who are just trying to get home,” he said.

Another area pol praised the legislation as potentially life-saving.

“Lowering the speed limit can drastically reduce a serious fatality. My district has a high population of seniors and reducing the speed limit could mean the difference between life and death.  No one should ever have to experience the loss of a loved one to a traffic accident,” said Councilman Chaim Deutsch.

To see a copy of the bill, you can go here.

Photo via Governor Andrew Cuomo.

With additional reporting by Ned Berke.

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From last year’s parade.

The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblyman William Colton:

Assembly Member William Colton (47th Assembly District – Brooklyn) will be one of four grand marshals for Brooklyn’s 33rd Annual Columbus Day parade. The parade will take place on Saturday, October 11th at 1:00pm on 18th Avenue (also known as Cristoforo Columbo Boulevard) from 63rd Street to 85th Street in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. The parade will be preceded by a celebratory Mass at St. Athanasius Roman Catholic Church at 10:15 am on the day of the parade.

The other three grand marshals include Council Member Vincent Gentile (43rd Council District), Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello (Director of the office of Parish Giving, Vicar for Development, & Pastor of St. Bernard’s Church), and Regina Scire (Vice President of Market Manager Investors Bank). The Grand Marshals were chosen for being outstanding individuals whose achievements and contributions to society exemplify those traits which the FIAO values. The FIAO also believes that the Grand Marshals serve as positive role models for our youth.

The FIAO’s Brooklyn Columbus Parade Committee stated that it chose Colton as for the honor because of his “outstanding commitment to the community and support of the local organizations that make Brooklyn thrive.” The FIAO further declared Colton as an “outstanding leader in the New York State Legislature” whose “advocacy and legislation in the Assembly has supported the needs of tens of thousands of Brooklyn residents across all communities and culture.” They continued, stating that the Assembly Member’s “extraordinary leadership and contributions to the communities” has made “a true different in the lives of residents” in southwest Brooklyn.

Each year the Federation of Italian-American Organizations (FIAO), along with numerous other organizations, sponsors the Brooklyn Columbus Day Parade. The parade celebrates the rich contributions and the dynamic vibrancy brought to our society by Italian-Americans. In addition, the Brooklyn Columbus Day Parade instills a true pride in our identity as Italian-Americans as well as fosters brother-hood among the many ethnic groups in our community.

This year’s parade is very important because the FIAO will open Il Centro – New York City’s first Italian-American Cultural Community Center later this fall. This 44,000 square foot, six story facility will house event space, classrooms, an interactive learning library, a fitness center, gymnasium and pool, and expand the work of the Federation’s services to incorporate language, culinary, arts, writing, job training and economic development programs.

The neighborhood of Bensonhurst, in Brooklyn, has been home to a large population of Italian-Americans for over fifty years.

Assembly Member William Colton was born and raised in Bensonhurst, attending St. Athanasius School as a child and being an active parishioner in St. Athanasius Church. His Italian heritage stems from his maternal grandparents, who immigrated to the United States from Naples, Italy in the early twentieth century. His father was an Irish-American. Colton has been a lawyer and community activist in the Bensonhurst community for over twenty years before being elected to the State Assembly in 1996. He also was a New York City public school teacher and UFT Chapter Chairperson before becoming an elected official.

On Sunday, October 5th, The FIAO honored Assembly Member Colton and the other parade Grand Marshals at their annual Columbus Day Parade Funding Raising Brunch. The event was held at the Dyker Beach Golf Course.

Colton asserted, “I am extremely honored and humbled to have been selected by the FIAO to be one of the Grand Marshalls for the 33rd Annual Brooklyn Columbus Day Parade. I credit my grandparents who immigrated to this great country from Naples in the early 1900’s for providing me with the faith, the moral values and the traditions which makes this possible. My Italian heritage is important to me, as I work to serve and fight for the people of southwest Brooklyn. I thank the FIAO for this tremendous honor.”

Source: Ephox Blog

Alternate side parking regulations will be suspended Thursday and Friday, October 9 and 10, for Succoth. All other regulations, including parking meters, remain in effect.

You can check out the rest of the 2014 parking calendar here.

Happy Succoth, Bensonhurst!

Source: DOT

Source: DOT

Department of Transportation contractors have wrapped up repairs to the eastbound portions of the Belt Parkway between Flatbush Avenue and Rockaway Parkway, and last night kicked off repaving of the westbound lanes on the same segment.

Crews will be milling and resurfacing portions of the westbound Belt Parkway between Rockaway Parkway and Flatbush Avenue from 11pm until 5am, beginning last night.

Full closures of all westbound lanes will occur every night of the week except Saturday night to Monday morning, and will last for approximately two weeks.

Drivers will be directed to a detour that exits at Rockaway Parkway, makes a left onto Flatlands Avenue, continues to Utica Avenue, and then proceeds south onto Flatbush Avenue. See the map above for additional details, including the alternate route using Pennsylvania Avenue.

Work will not occur on the night of Monday, October 13, in observance of Columbus Day, but it will resume Tuesday night.

 

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When news broke in 2012 that Congressman Michael Grimm was the target of a federal investigation, the pol said it was a liberal media conspiracy. Now the pol’s defense team is depicting it as a political witch hunt led by a prosecutor with electoral aspirations, and aided by former FBI colleagues settling a score.

Grimm pleaded not guilty to a 20-count indictment that alleges, among other things, tax evasion, fraud and illegal hiring practices connected to a restaurant he owned before running for office. The trial is set to begin in December, but the pol’s legal team sent a pair of letters earlier this month that appear to suggest the direction their defense will take – not one that clears his name of tax fraud, but one that says he was only caught because the prosecution sought to take down a Republican.

Staten Island Advance reports:

In a letter dated Oct. 1, Grimm’s lawyers, Jeffrey A. Neiman and Daniel Rashbaum, fired off a list of 14 questions to federal prosecutors, many asking about the role of former Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Kaminsky in the investigation into the congressman.

Kaminsky, a Democrat, left the U.S. attorney’s office after the tax evasion indictment was announced to run for state Assembly.

“What role did former Assistant United States Attorney Todd Kaminsky have in the investigation of Mr. Grimm?” one question asks.

“When did Mr. Kaminsky first notify the United States Attorney’s Office of his intention to seek political office, informally or formally?” asks another.

… Grimm’s team also asked what role FBI Supervisory Special Agent Anthony Bivona and Assitant Special Agent in Charge Mary Gallingan played in the investigation, as well as many other indictments the U.S. Attorney’s office has sought in the past five years regarding restaurants paying employees in cash, under-reporting cash sales to the Internal Rvenue Service, or “hiring illegal aliens as employees.”

Neiman and Rashbaum wrote a second letter on Oct. 1, asking for documents, notes, copies of inconsistent statements, and criminal or psychiatric histories of witnesses in the case.

In a response dated October 2, Lynch’s office said they would provide relevant info prior to trial as required by law. But her office bristled at the 14 questions, saying they were neither pertinent, nor legally required.

“It should be noted, however, that the 14 questions about the investigation and other cases seek information that is irrelevant to the charges of this case…. The government therefore respectfully declines to provide the information sought in these 14 requests,” Lynch writes.

The Daily News has a little more about the request for information regarding the special agents:

Team Grimm appears poised to take on supervisory FBI Special Agents Anthony Bivona and Mary Galligan. Sources said Bivona had a falling-out with Grimm and Galligan led an internal probe of Grimm before he left the bureau.

SILive.com has full copies of the letters.

14th Avenue and 86th Street, the scene of the accident. (Source: Google Maps)

14th Avenue and 86th Street, the scene of the accident. (Source: Google Maps)

Bensonhurst resident Cristina Alonso, 38, died yesterday evening after being hit by a car on 86th Street and 14th Avenue.

Alonso was crossing 14th Avenue “outside of the crosswalk” just after 7pm Monday when a red 2002 Ford Explorer traveling south on the avenue hit her, police said.

The woman, who lives on 17th Avenue near 66th Street, was rushed to Lutheran Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The driver, an unidentified 33-year-old man, remained on the scene and was not immediately charged with wrongdoing, though the investigation is ongoing.

cb11

Photo by Elle Spektor

Community Board 11 will hold its next meeting tomorrow, October 7 at 7:30 pm at the Bensonhurst Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare, 1740 84th Street.

The Board serves as a local conduit to the government of New York City, representing neighbors’ needs and concerns. If you have a problem with a city agency or quality of life issue, the Board exists to relay your concerns and spur action.

There will be time to hear residents’ concerns and discuss various committee reports, and elected officials may be in attendance.

For additional information, call (718) 266-8800.

Source: Orin Zebest/Flickr

D LINE

From 10:45pm to 5am, Monday to Friday, 205 St-bound D trains run express from 145 St to Tremont Av.

From 9:45am to 3pm, Monday to Friday, Coney Island-bound D trains are rerouted via the N from 36 St, Brooklyn to Stillwell Av. Trains stop at New Utrecht Av-62 St.

N LINE

There are no service advisories scheduled at this time.

R LINE

From 11:45pm to 5am, Monday to Friday, there are no R trains in Brooklyn between 59 St and 36 St—take the N. R trains run between Bay Ridge-95 St and 59 St, Brooklyn.

F LINE

From 12:30am to 5am, Tuesday to Friday, 179 St-bound F trains run local from 21 St-Queensbridge to Roosevelt Av.

Colton (Source: Facebook)

Colton (Source: Facebook)

The following is a press release from the offices of Assemblyman William Colton:

Assembly Member William Colton (47th Assembly District – Brooklyn) has called on the New York City Department of Transportation to resume installation of street signs to remind pet owners to clean up after their dogs.

Colton’s office has been contacted by a large number of constituents about dog owners who are not picking up after their dogs. This is one of the biggest complaints the Assembly Member receive from constituents.

A number of years ago, the NYC Department of Transportation had street signs installed warning them to pick up after their dog and that if they did not, they could receive a fine from the City. This policy was discontinued a few years ago, likely due to budget cuts.

This week, Colton sent a letter to the Department of Transportation calling on them to resume putting up these warning signs telling dog owners to clean up after their pets in order to greatly improve the quality of life for New York City residents. Dog owners, who do not pick up after their pets, cause serious health and sanitation issues. These issues seriously hinder the quality of life for the people of the City. For example, children often play on the streets and sidewalks throughout our City, and they are exposed to the dog feces not cleaned up by pet owners. Also, the cleanliness of our neighborhoods is decreased by negligent pet owners who do not pick up after their dogs.

In the letter, Colton asked the Department of Transportation to work in conjunction with the Department of Sanitation to install these street signs to remind pet owners to be responsible and pick up after their dogs, and to warn them that if they fail to follow this law, they will be penalized for their negligent actions.

Colton asserted, “It’s important that we protect the quality of life in our neighborhoods. It’s irresponsible and negligent for dog owners to not pick up after their pets, because of the serious health and sanitation problems that arise from not cleaning up after your dog. The streets signs the City used to install help reminded people that they have a legal responsibility to clean up after their dogs. The Department of Transportation needs to continue installing these street signs to not only remind pet owners of their responsibility, but to also remind them that failure to comply with the law can lead to a fine from the City.”

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Maria and Chubby Campanella (Source: theicecreamgirl.com)

Family, friends and community leaders gathered this Sunday to memorialize Angelo “Chubby” Campanella, a neighborhood fixture and old-school ice cream man who passed away in 2009.

Campanella’s name now graces a street sign high on the corner of 21st Avenue and 77th Street to honor the late Brooklynite. Campanella was a popular Good Humor ice cream man, who was known as much for his good deeds around the neighborhood as for the sweets he delivered.

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A collector lent a vintage Good Humor truck for the memorial service. (Photo by Mike Wright)

Born April 11, 1926, was, among other things, a World War II veteran. As an ice cream man, he toured the neighborhood in what would now be a vintage Good Humor truck – a model of which was on display at the ceremony, thanks to a collector – retiring in 2004 due to heart problems.

But it wasn’t the end of Campanella’s neighborhood route. He obtained a motorized wheelchair in 2006 and, as the Daily News noted in their obituary, became a ubiquitous sight once again.

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Maria talks about her father during the service (Source: Mike Wright)

Meanwhile, his youngest daughter, Maria “The Ice Cream Girl” Campanella kept the family business alive, doling out frozen dairy goodness and goodwill across the neighborhood. In a more modern Good Humor truck, Campanella has pasted up photos and other tributes to her father, and organizes fundraisers for causes as varied as the truck’s menu.

Their dedication drew praise from community leaders who attended Sunday’s service, including State Senator Marty Golden, Assemblyman Bill Colton and Council members David Greenfield and Mark Treyger.

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Source: Mike Wright