On the Hook for a costly tunnel

To the editor,

The city proposed a local bus route from Red Hook through the Battery Tunnel but the Metropolitan Transportation Authority never implemented it presumably because they thought there wasn’t enough demand. So Gov. Cuomo proposes a new subway.

The MTA discontinued the M42 branch to the Javits Center because of light usage. So the city extends the Number 7 to do the same thing.

Travel time from Midtown to LaGuardia needs to be shortened from the current 45 minutes, so Cuomo proposes a LaGuardia Airport extension that takes even longer.

The city will spend $5 million to study the Utica Avenue extension that never will be built because a consultant is owed a favor. Now most likely the same thing will happen with Cuomo’s Red Hook idea. Meanwhile he criticizes the subway for having 80-year-old signals while diverting MTA funds that are needed to fix the signals.

No elected official has addressed rectifying existing transit problems with the exception of the New York City Comptroller, who issued a report about buses. The New York Times, in an excellent three-part series that most recently explained the reasons for high subway construction costs and pretty much blamed politicians’ bad decisions over the years for the MTA problems, as well as the MTA itself. Yet no politician has commented about that series. Rather than commending the Times and promising things will change, they just continue to ignore addressing the problems while continuing to make flashy proposals to make themselves look good. The question is, will the Times series result in any meaningful changes. So far it’s business as usual.

Allan Rosen

Sheepshead Bay

Makes snow sense

To the editor,

The Governor declares an emergency, people are urged to stay indoors, but New York City schools were faithfully open on Jan. 5 following the snowstorm. I don’t know what the Mayor is thinking, but why wasn’t there a delayed opening on that day? In that way, you would cut down on the traffic during morning rush hour and encourage better student and staff attendance. The new excuse by our progressive thinkers is to keep schools open so that the students will receive their nutritious lunches. Hogwash. Very little is accomplished on days following snowstorms. Due to high absentee rates from both teachers and staff, classes are either combined or students told to report to the gym, cafeteria or auditorium depending upon the grade they’re in, and merely assigned to a teacher who doesn’t know them. This makes discipline even worse, especially in those schools where there are continuous discipline problems. In many schools, the day becomes one of complete chaos with students roaming the halls, banging on doors and acting out knowing full well that nothing shall happen to them. In many schools, the day becomes one of watching movies in the school auditorium and that includes cartoons as well.

Where was the UFT in this matter? Doesn’t the staff pay dues? Imagine, an online petition was circulated with over 119,000 people requesting that schools be closed. A lot good that did with a mayor who is so full of himself with his presidential ambitions and a chancellor who is practically out the door.

On these type of days, district office personnel are never seen at the schools. They are probably home in the bed while on the phone expressing how happy they are not to be at work.Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

Stuck with the build

To the editor,

As much as I would like to, I cannot accept David Halberstam’s belief that 4204 Avenue T will be a one-family dwelling. After reviewing many documents at the city’s Department of Buildings website, things about his construction site are very interesting! Its funny the “secret” buyer chose steel and concrete, so his “home” will last “100 years.” Guess he didn’t realize that most Marine Park homes (including the original one demolished) date to 1925, making them 93 years old as of 2018 — are still standing (though built of mere brick and wood.) I guess one now surpasses, more than just keeping up, with the neighbors!

I also researched similar sites. A structure at 2402 Avenue P, corner of East 24th Street, was designed to be a residence only too. Funny? A Buildings Department document shows the first floor rated at 221 persons max, with the cellar rated at only 151 persons. That would be one huge family! Alas, a fast one got pulled on the community. As at 4204 Avenue T, this building occupies almost the entire length and width of the plot. The Ave. P site includes an elevator, with exterior entrance. The first floor has a large hall, with a 10- to 11-foot ceiling. At the rear, six HVAC units are located atop the rear entrance extension (no garage or driveway.) As expected, “No Parking” signs block off the curb directly in front (Avenue P side), removing two valued parking spots. Of course, though violating several zoning regs, the Board of Standards and Appeals still granted the variance, after the fact. Apparently, the BSA is great at letting violators get away with such shenanigans.

If I didn’t know better (at least at this moment in time), I could mistake the Ave. P structure for the one at Avenue T. Something about large corner plots, high ceilinged first floors, ornamented facades, large windows, elevators, etc., etc., is just too much of a coincidence for me. The similarities between the structures at 4204 Avenue T, 2402 Avenue P, 2822 Avenue J, and other locations are astounding! Which is why, Mr. Halberstam, contrary to your declarations, methinks that is what will be coming to that Marine Park intersection, in the near future. Of course, if you are proven right, and I wrong, I will be the first to admit it. That would be the least that I could do.

Kevin Hanley

Marine Park

Taking it ‘light’-ly

To the editor,

I find it offensive that both the Mayor’s office and the Police Commissioner refused to provide more police protection for the Dyker Heights lights display. It wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that Dyker Heights was one of the few areas in New York City with the sense to not vote for Mayor DeBlasio?? Of course the Police Commissioner just does this “progressive” mayor’s bidding. Of course, this has nothing to do with the “holier than thou” attitude of this “progressive” mayor? Such hypocrisy!Kenneth Katta

Fort Hamilton

Tunnel isn’t cheap

To the editor,

Extension of the New York City Transit No. 1 subway line from the Rector Street downtown Manhattan station to Red Hook Brooklyn for $3.5 billion (a tunnel and three new stations) as proposed in 2016 by senior VP of the AECOM Engineering firm Chris Ward and now supported by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his 2018 State of the State speech is wishful thinking. This subway extension would support a proposed Red Hook economic development project. It would be similar in size and scope to Battery City Park in Manhattan. Was this $3.5 billion figure written on the back of a napkin? Cuomo wants the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to conduct and pay for a planning feasibility study. There would still be the need for environmental documents or preliminary design and engineering followed by final design and engineering efforts and identification of billions for construction funding. All of the above is necessary to validate any basic estimates for construction costs. Given the narrow streets and dense development, who could find a staging area for mobilization of contractor employees, equipment and materials to support construction? Imagine trying to assemble a tunnel boring machine at Rector Street adjacent to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. What about removal of debris once excavation begins? Hundreds of trucks needed on a daily basis to remove rock and soil would be challenging.

It cost $4.5 billion for Phase 1 of the Second Avenue subway (36 blocks and three stations) and $2.4 billion (18 blocks and one station) for the No. 7 line Hudson Yards subway extension. Neither required a multi-billion tunnel under the East River. Construction of new subway stations average between $500 million up to $1 billion, depending upon location and complexity of work. All three new subway stations would require compliance with the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). This includes expensive elevators and other features.

Is there a political quid pro quo in the form of campaign donations between developers, construction contractors and unions who support this project and Cuomo?Larry Penner

Great Neck

More from Around New York