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Slope going nuts over ‘insane’ one-way plan

The Brooklyn Paper
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To the editor,

I wrote this letter to my councilman, Bill DeBlasio, after reading your outstanding coverage of the Department of Transporta­tion’s plan to convert Sixth and Seventh avenues into one-way streets (“One-way 7th,” March 3).

Dear Mr. DeBlasio:

I am very concerned by DOT’s decision to make Seventh and Sixth avenues one-way streets. This insane plan will do nothing to ameliorate the already dangerous driving that occurs in the neighborhood — and in fact will only exacerbate it.

The only reason that I can think of that the DOT would want to do such a thing would be to make the route to Atlantic Yards a faster one for all those hurrying to a game. Eighth Avenue and Prospect Park West are speedways; we don’t need two more speedways in the neighborhood.

This is a NEIGHBORHOOD full of families, many with small children, and this complete lack of consideration of the need to make our streets SAFER — not faster — is not only imprudent, it is insulting.

Why don’t we, the residents, have a SAY in this decision? And what are you doing to stop this decision? Or do you support it?

Susannah Taylor, Park Slope

• • •

To the editor,

I must say I was suprised by your editorial of March 3 (“City left with Yards mess”), which seemed to give the city Department of Transportation a pass on its responsibility to plan for traffic with or without the Atlantic Yards.

DOT paid for a parking study which indicated that residential parking permits might be a good thing for Downtown Brooklyn — but it reneged on a promise to allow a pilot program to see if it would be successful.

The DOT paid for a traffic-calming study also for Downtown Brooklyn that was completed three years ago — yet has refused to implement the study. One of the corners that was included for traffic calming was the corner of Third Avenue, where a person was killed last month.

DOT refuses to do anything that will make traffic safer and help the Downtown community. The city approved and “greased” (for want of a better word) the Atlantic Yards project. The Mayor, Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff and Borough President Markowitz were active supporters of the project and got absolutely nothing in return for the affected people. No residential parking, no additional moneys, no new subways (as was done both for lower Manhattan and the West Side, where the city — not the MTA — is paying for the extension of the No. 7 subway).

It’s not the DOT that is left holding the bag — it’s the residents of Downtown Brooklyn.

Name withheld, Boerum Hill

The F does stink

To the editor,

Thank you for giving some exposure to the problems of the F train (“What the F!” Feb. 24). I date the beginning of these problems to the introduction of the V train. Ever since the V came into existence, I have wondered whether Brooklyn was ever represented at the table that gave this service to Queens.

Elementary math tells you that two won’t go into one. For Brooklynites standing on Manhattan subway platforms, watching useless, empty V trains heading for Second Avenue is a constant source of frustration.

It would be interesting if your newspaper could publish statistics on the number of F trains that ran per hour prior to the introduction of the V. The V train must contribute in some measure to the “below-average regularity” that you cite.

Last year, I discussed the burgeoning population in Brooklyn, and the poor F train service, with one of our elected officials and he indicated that there was a possibility that the V might be extended into Brooklyn.

For the MTA spokeswoman to simply negate the possibility of either extending V service or utilizing the existing express tracks is to ignore the urgent need of a Brooklyn population that is nearing its historical peak.

Furthermore, even without the increase in population, there has been an increase in ridership, thanks to the Metrocard.

I urge the elected officials of Brooklyn, and Brooklyn’s most fervent booster — Borough President Markowitz — to make this a priority issue with the MTA now. It just doesn’t make sense to have an express track sitting idle.

And while they are at it, why not extend express service all the way to Coney Island? This would help other New York City residents get to our under-appreciated beaches, while providing much-needed service to people living in that part of the borough.

Jasmine Melzer, Park Slope

Is it censorship?

Editor’s note: We received this letter from the National Coalition Against Censorship, a Manhattan-based group.

To the editor,

The Brooklyn Public Library embroiled itself in a censorship controversy by excluding several pieces from a show documenting the Atlantic Yards neighborhood (“Photos the BPL doesn’t want you to see,” Feb. 17).

The exhibition, “Footprints: Portrait of a Brooklyn Neighborho­od,” first appeared at Grand Center, a community space in Prospect Heights. When the Library offered to host the show, it did stipulate that some of the works, which could be perceived as advocacy against the pending development of the area, should be excluded.

Even though the library offered other rationales — size and artistic merit — the political position advanced by some of the work was clearly the reason for the exclusion.

Is this censorship?

Yes.

Censorship is the suppression of speech by public officials because of the point of view expressed by said speech. The library personnel at BPL are public officials and the work was rejected because of its critical point of view, so their action may be defined as censorship.

The BPL said that because it “serves the entire community,” the library should not “offer platforms for one-sided advocacy on controversial political issues.”

But we doubt the library would reject a book because it laid out an argument on a matter of social importance, no matter how one-sided the argument was. Why reject an artwork?

As a result of BPL’s decision, viewers were deprived of information about the debate around the redevelopment. Is that the best way to serve a community?

Exhibiting work advocating a particular point of view does not mean that the library is endorsing that point of view any more than buying a book for the collection means endorsing its argument.

If the library is concerned about misperception, there are other ways to avoid appearing one-sided while protecting free debate: it could put a note explaining that the exhibition does not represent the position of the library and it could organize public programming or add work that represents other sides of the debate.

Removing work from a show because it takes a position not only goes against First Amendment principles, but also betrays the library’s mission to represent a diversity of viewpoints.

It is a regrettable error of judgment on the part of an institution that has traditionally been one of the most principled defenders of the free circulation of ideas.

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