A sign of the times: Take it slow

To the editor,

Caution: Speed trap ahead!

It is the winter season, when everyone seems to be going a little faster, to get out of the cold. Well, the city is raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars by inflicting speeding fines on the unwary motorist.

Since the new Vision Zero effort was put in place by our socialist mayor, speed-regulating signs have been changed from 40 to 35 miles per hour on the small northbound section of Flatbush Avenue, from the Belt Parkway to almost Avenue U. As you pass the fish restaurant, before Kings Plaza, a small, innocuous sign, hiding in the trees, with an arrow pointing up and 25 emblazoned, is on the right. This type of sign tells motorists that there is a 25-mph zone ahead … Then, nothing!

In just about every New York town and village I have visited, the practice by the Department of Transportation, is to post a second sign where the new lower speed zone starts. Not here!

I have written earlier about the state police joining the city officers in issuing traffic violations. In this small stretch of road, motorists are pulled over by the dozens, and greeted by the friendly, but unforgiving gendarmes. The actual 25-mph speed zone sign is four blocks down the road at Utica Avenue, opening every unwary motorist to costly fines.

No, thankfully, I wasn’t a contributor to the city’s coffers, but wise enough to see what is going on and to slow down. Lawyers defending those fighting those tickets may want to check the books, as this omission of signs may be a loophole to investigate.Robert W. Lobenstein

Marine Park

Weed out bullies

To the editor,

Here we go again. The Council wants to create an anti-bullying task force.

How ridiculous that teachers and supervisors wouldn’t serve on these committees since they are on the front lines each day in their schools. Instead of creating a task force, get rid of the troublemakers so that teachers can teach and other students can learn. This can be achieved by the reestablishment of the “600” schools for problem students. This is not to be confused with District 75, which exists for special education students with physical and other needs.

In addition, our chancellor wants to shut 13 troubled schools. What will become of the teachers in these schools? Will they become part of the Absent Teacher Reserve pool and therefore relegated to substitute status with being shifted from school to school each week? Again, we can avoid all this with the bringing back of the “600” schools. Years ago these schools existed and as a result, deportment in our public schools was far better.

If only our educational leaders would step into the schools and do some teaching themselves, then and only then would they see what teachers need.Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

That was then…

To the editor,

With Sen. Al Franken, Congressman (John) Conyers and about three other Congressman resigning in the wake of (allegations of) groping women, I am wondering what would have happened to Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society programs he espoused if the standards he espoused then (were) what we are witnessing today?

What needs to be remembered is that Lyndon Johnson extended J.Edgar Hoover’s retirement indefinitely when Hoover was FBI Director. The mandatory retirement age then was 70, which he (overturned) in 1965.

In turn, Johnson used Hoover to investigate recalcitrant and reluctant Senators’ and Congressmens’ sexcapades if they would not vote for the measures the President wanted. This would not only have ruined them politically, but personally as well.

It is probably true he gave these Congressmen and Senators more patronage, whereas when Sen. Bob Packwood resigned after the first year of his fifth term in 1993, Mr. Packwood was not able to get the patronage necessary for these women to remain silent forever.

Elliott Abosh

Brighton Beach

Train trouble

To the editor,

One would think that a sign with a heading of “No overnight service at this station” would not actually mean an entire subway line will close at 9:30 pm. (Overnight used to mean after midnight.) But that was what was posted at each station of the BMT Broadway line in Manhattan last week.

I was at the 49th Street Station and because of that doubly misleading sign, I decided to walk to Times Square and pick up the Q there. At Times Square, I read the rest of the notice and realized there were no Q trains there either. I could have walked just one block to Rockefeller Center to get the Q if the sign’s headline stated: “Broadway Line closed after 9:30 pm. Q operating on 6 Ave. No N or R in Manhattan.” That would have been less confusing than what was posted.

I took the No. 2 from Times Square to get on a jam-packed Q at Atlantic Avenue at 11:15 pm and didn’t get a seat until Beverley Road. Is it any wonder why some prefer to drive? At nearly midnight, the trains should not be as crowded as in the rush hour. And the “brains” at the Regional Plan Association think it is feasible to close the subway system at midnight. That single Q train would have required 20 buses with standees.

Allan Rosen

Sheepshead Bay

Without a net

To the editor,

We’re rats on the hamster wheel of control in the world of unsocial media, (which) has become (a world of) political divisiveness and misinformation.

Several I know are as tired as can be, being pawns in the social media world that aims to do nothing more than fill pockets with more money than they would ever need; which is morphing into far worse notions, like power and control — control of what we see here, what we think and how we behave.

The Federal Communications Commission’s Dec. 14 decision to repeal its net neutrality rules is all that times infinity; a breach of the First Amendment right to free speech, free thought, right to assembly, to community, and to collaborate. All of that is what they wish to take away from us; to put us right back to smoke signals.

What we now seek is another venue online, but even with that, we worry: will we be able to easily access and share?

Dark times have been with us since Inauguration Day.

Hamster wheel fools is what we’ve allowed ourselves to become.

Barry Brothers


Be fare to riders

To the editor,

The proposal by New York State Sen. Martin Golden to offer two free transfers for those who have to ride two buses before boarding a subway is wishful thinking. People who moved to Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach and Gravesend — represented by Golden — knew full well that they would be living in a two fare (bus to subway) and sometimes three fare (bus to bus to subway) zone with longer commutes to and from work.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority services continue to be one of the best bargains in town. Since the 1950s, the average cost of riding either the bus, subway or commuter rail has gone up at a lower rate than either the consumer price index or inflation. The MetroCard, introduced in 1996, affords a free transfer between bus and subway. Prior to this, riders had to pay two full fares. Purchasing either a weekly or monthly pass further reduces the cost per ride. Many employers offer TransitCheks, which pay up to $255 monthly toward these costs.

For years, local politicians would stir the pot on this issue. Now, the latest cause is the cost for those handful of people out of several million daily riders who have to pay two fares versus one. An overwhelming majority can afford and already purchase either a weekly or monthly unlimited MetroCard which makes the “double fare” issue moot.

Residents, taxpayers and commuters represented by state Sen. Golden would be better off if he would worry more about how the State Legislature will find the $5.8 billion balance Gov. Cuomo still owes to bridge the $8.3 billion shortfall in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s $32 billion 2015–2019 Five Year Capital Plan, plus $1 billion more in emergency funds to deal with last summer’s New York City Transit subway and Long Island Rail Road East River tunnel signal crises.

In the end, it all comes down to the availability of increased funding for additional transportation service to serve residents of two-fare zones in the outer boroughs. Larry Penner

Great Neck

Reach James Harney at (718) 260-2529 or e-mail him at jharney@cnglocal.com.