NY Lawmakers on the Move Feb. 16, 2022

Braunstein Announces Crackdown on Loud Car Meetups at Bay Terrace Park

Assembly Member Edward Braunstein

Assemblyman Edward Braunstein (D-Queens), the 109th Precinct and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation announced yesterday that, in an effort to thwart noisy and disruptive “car meetups” taking place after park hours, a gate and lock have been installed at the entrance of the Little Bay Park parking lot.

Located next to the entrance of Fort Totten, the Little Bay Park parking lot has become a late-night and early-morning gathering place for car enthusiasts. Many of these vehicles are extremely noisy due to modified muffler and exhaust systems, and the lot’s proximity to the Cross Island Parkway service road lends drivers to drag race on the thoroughfare and on local streets. 

After conversations between Braunstein, the 109th Precinct and Queens Parks Department officials late last year, all parties determined that installing a gate and lock at this location would be an effective long-term solution. Now, the parking lot gates are being locked by 109th Precinct Patrol Officers every day after 9 p.m., park closing, and are opened by NYC Parks Department personnel every morning. In addition, the 109th Precinct continues to engage in patrols and enforcement efforts in the immediate area. 

“The new locking system at the Little Bay Park lot will deter drivers from gathering and creating a late-night disruption at the park and on surrounding streets. Coupled with continued interagency cooperation, this collaboration will hopefully put a stop to this quality of life concern for the long term,” said Braunstein. 

Meeks Reintroduces Minority Bank Bill

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks

U.S. Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-Queens), senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, yesterday reintroduced the Ensuring Diversity in Community Banking Act of 2022 (H.R. 6745).

This bill puts forward regulatory initiatives to preserve and promote minority banks and credit unions, strengthens programs that provide capital to these crucial institutions and creates an Impact Bank designation for community banks that predominantly serve low-income communities.

“Minority banks and credit unions have been disappearing at an alarming rate, with devastating implications for under-banked communities of color across the country and the pandemic has only exacerbated this issue. Low-income communities in banking deserts are increasingly reliant on predatory payday loans, or other options that cause them to fall in debt traps. The bill is an important step in ensuring that banks and credit unions that serve under-banked minority and low-income communities remain key pillars of the American banking ecosystem,” said Meeks.

Last Congress, the House passed the Ensuring Diversity in Community Banking Act of 2019. Congressman Meeks is working with colleagues in both chambers on enactment of this legislation.

Malliotakis Announces $1 Million To Upgrade Staten Island Ferry Fleet

U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis. Photo from her Congressional website.

U.S. Rep. Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island, Brooklyn) yesterday announced the New York City Department of Transportation will be awarded a $1 million federal grant from the Federal Transit Administration to improve the reliability and efficiency of the Staten Island Ferry fleet.

“For more than 200 years, the Staten Island Ferry has been an integral part of our City’s transportation system,” said Malliotakis. “With over 70,000 riders per day and 22 million riders per year, our ferry system provides commuters and visitors with a free alternative to travel by bus, car, or subway. I’m pleased to see federal dollars return to New York City to support critical upgrades that will modernize our ferry vessels and, in turn, provide more reliable and efficient service for our community. By making necessary investments in our existing fleet, we maximize the longevity of these boats and save money in the long run.”

This grant is being awarded under the Passenger Ferry Grant Program that provides funding for eligible projects to support existing passenger ferry service, establish new ferry service, and upgrade ferry boats, terminals, and related facilities and equipment. Specifically, these funds will be used to upgrade and modernize existing Staten Island Ferry vessels with propulsion technology to improve service reliability, efficiency, and air quality for riders.

Comrie to Host “Know Your Public Utility Rights” Training

State Senator Leroy Comrie

Senator Leroy Comrie (D-Queens) and the Public Utility Law Project of New York (“PULP”) tomorrow will host a virtual “Know Your Public Utility Rights” training session.

The training comes as millions of New Yorkers cannot afford their utility bills due to the economic devastation wrought by the pandemic, and that situation has worsened due to the recent Con Edison “bill surge”. It’s critical that those residents – seniors, medically vulnerable, and the low-, fixed-, and moderate-income – can work to become financially stable without the worry of having necessary utility services like electric, heat or water terminated in the dead of winter.

Interested parties and the press are invited to this virtual discussion on utility consumer rights in New York State. PULP will have attorneys that will shine a light on how consumers behind on their utility bills can protect themselves from shutoffs and seek financial assistance. There will also be an opportunity at the end of the session for the audience to ask questions.

This Zoom forum is slated for 6:30 p.m., tonight, Feb. 16. For more information, please call (718) 765-6359 or email [email protected] 

De La Rosa Holds Walkthrough of Northern Manhattan Tunnels

Assembly Member Carmen De La Rosa (Photo credit: nyassembly.gov)
City Council Member Carmen De La Rosa (D)

City Council Member Carmen De La Rosa (D-Manhattan) yesterday held a multi-agency walkthrough of Northern Manhattan tunnels and train stations to address sanitation, ensure access to resources for the unhoused population, and address safety concerns of residents. 

The walkthrough follows community calls for cleaning up the 191st Street tunnel after photos of used syringes littering the tunnel circulated on social media. The next day, the Department of Sanitation and the Corner Project took action in a coordinated effort to address the unsanitary conditions.

De La Rosa’s preliminary takeaways and action plan directly following the walkthrough are as follows:

Encourage Manhattan Community Board 12 to prioritize the 181st and 191st Street stations and tunnels in all future meetings.

$25 million Capital Project funded by the Department of Transportation (DOT) for the full renovation of the 191st Street tunnel in 2025.

Establish a direct line of communication to the Department of Social Services (DSS) for homeless outreach and services at local train stations.

Ask for increased frequency of tunnel cleanups from two times per month to consistent weekly cleanups.

Request security camera installments in the 191st Street tunnel.

Improve coordination between the Department of Social Services (DSS), New York Police Department (NYPD), and local non-profit partners such as Washington Heights Corner Project to provide proper services to those suffering with mental illness and unhoused people. 

“I am grateful to all of the city agencies who joined us today in an effort to make Uptown Manhattan cleaner and safer. I look forward to working together to implement long-term solutions to these ongoing issues our community has faced for far too long,” said De La Rosa. “Our community is working-class and many essential workers call Northern Manhattan home. Residents deserve to have clean and safe subway stations when they commute to and from work.”

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