Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move Jan. 13, 2015

News Site Brooklyn

Squadron, Gentile Turn Up Heat For R Line Study

Northern Brooklyn State Senator Daniel Squadron, Bay Ridge City Council Member Vincent Gentile, Riders Alliance, the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign and 41 elected officials called for the MTA’s next Full Line Review to study the R train.

In a letter to MTA Chair Prendergast dated January 11, the elected officials and advocates also requested that this Full Line Review be completed more quickly than the last Review, which took 18 months.

“We have heard a number of community concerns about the R train. The R train serves many communities for which it is one of the only transit options,” wrote Squadron, Gentile, Riders Alliance, Straphangers, and the electeds. “We also request that this review be conducted in a timely manner. The almost 18 months that it took to complete the A/C Full Line Review is, simply, too slow… Riders cannot be expected to wait that long for service assessments and improvements.”

Sen. Daniel Squadron
Sen. Daniel Squadron

In 2009, Senator Squadron worked with the MTA to create the first-of-their-kind Full Line Reviews. They have led to more frequent and on-time trains, newer and cleaner subway cars, and other cost-effective service improvements that are important to riders along the A, C, F, G, and L trains, in collaboration with colleagues, Riders Alliance, and the Straphangers Campaign. Councilmember Gentile has recently worked with colleagues, Riders Alliance, and the Straphangers Campaign to draw attention to service, communication, and station condition concerns along the R line.

“This Full Line Review can’t be as delayed as an R train commute,” said Squadron. “I hope the MTA pursues this Full Line Review, and quickly offers results and improvements. I thank Councilmember Gentile, Riders Alliance, the Straphangers Campaign, and my colleagues for their support in calling for a better R train.”

City Councilman Vincent Gentile
City Councilman Vincent Gentile

Gentile said he has heard his local constituents’ tireless complaints regarding R Train service for the entirety of his term in the City Council; however, ridership grievances stretch far beyond Bay Ridge. Riders from Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn share the same sentiment: R train service is a nightmare.

“Across the City, the R train is repeatedly late and overcrowded, suffers from infrequent service, frequent delays, unkempt stations, inadequate audio systems, and the use of older subway cars. The urgency for the next line review to include the R train has hit fever pitch – over 40 elected officials representing Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn have signed on to this letter. I hope the MTA hears and understands the need for the next line review to include the R Train so that we see positive solutions for our commuters in the near future,” said Gentile.

Schumer Calls For Fed Money For L Line

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer yesterday called on the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to ensure federal funds are budgeted for improvements along the overcrowded L train.

The Metropolitan Transportation Administration‘s (MTA) proposed $300 million project would increase capacity and reduce overcrowding on the L train, which runs through neighborhoods that have seen some of the largest increases in population in New York City.

More than 300,000 customers use the L Train on an average weekday, an increase of 98 percent since 1998. Specifically, weekday entries at the L train’s busiest station, Bedford Avenue, have increased by 250 percent. Schumer explained that the L-line needs more trains in order to accommodate the increase in passengers.

The MTA’s proposed project would add three power substations to allow for two additional trains per hour, a ten percent increase in service that could carry an additional 2,200 passengers per hour. Schumer is calling on the FTA to include the MTA’s project in the Fiscal Year 2017 budget recommendation to Department of Transportation Secretary Foxx.

“The growth in neighborhoods from Williamsburg to Bushwick to Canarsie means the L-train is literally bursting at the seams. Sometimes getting on the L-train at rush hour is harder than getting tickets for a Beyonce concert or Hamilton on Broadway. That’s why I am calling on the Federal Transportation Authority to fund the MTA’s plan to increase capacity and improve service on the L line, including adding two new trains an hour and building new entrances at the most jam-packed stations,” said Schumer.

The L-train travels through a number of heavily populated Brooklyn neighborhoods such as: Starrett City, Canarsie, East New York, Brownsville, Bushwick and Williamsburg.

Malliotakis Introduces Assembly Rules Reforms

Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis
Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis

Republican Bay Ridge Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R,C-Canandaigua) and members of the Assembly Minority Conference will be presenting and voting on 17 Assembly Rules Reforms.

The non-partisan proposals that would improve state government and help representatives to better serve their constituents. The three most notable notable reforms include:

  • Requiring equal funding for every member’s individual office, regardless of party affiliation or seniority.  (E.838)
  • Imposing eight-year term limits on the Majority Leader and Minority Leader of the Assembly. (E.840)
  • Imposing eight-year term limits on committee chairs. (E.844)

Hamilton Legislation Would Link Youth With Better Mental Health Services

State Sen. Jesse Hamilton
State Sen. Jesse Hamilton

Central Brooklyn State Senator Jesse Hamilton will launch legislation tomorrow in Albany that provides a critical link between New York youth and better mental health.

Hamilton’s measure dubbed Mental Health First Aid Bill (S6234) will create a continuing education requirement for teachers relating to mental health issues.

“Given our youth spend more time in school than they do anywhere else except their own home, school is one of the best places for both educators and students to become aware of mental health, mental health problems and mental disorders,” said Hamilton in an emailed statement.

“Schools serve as one of the most efficient places to promote mental health and in developing and delivering interventions that can improve youth mental health effectively and efficiently. The Mental Health First Aid curriculum is unique in that it is aimed at nonprofessional audiences and specifically seeks to aid in reducing social distance, increase help-seeking and helping behaviors, and provide strategies to assist an individual in crisis,” he added.

Why a “first aider” approach is vital to the community:

  • Mental health problems are common
  • People with mental health problems often face negative attitudes and discrimination
  • Many people are not well informed about mental health problems
  • Professional help is not always on hand
  • People often do not know how to respond
  • People with mental health problems often do not seek help

A continuing education curriculum will assist in educators responding to their students by:

  • Assessing for risk of suicide or harm
  • Learning to listen with a non-judgmental attitude
  • Sharing reassurance and information with knowledge and confidence
  • The correct way to encourage appropriate professional help
  • Persuade self-help and other support strategies

Deutsch Holds Family Fun Day

Sheepshead Bay City Councilman Chaim Deutsch along with Flatbush, Flatlands, Midwood and East Flatbush lawmakers Assembly Members Helene Weinstein and Rodneyse Bichotte, and City Councilman Jumaane Williams will hold a Family Fun Day, screening the classic, beloved movie “E.T.” this Sunday.

City Councilman Chaim Deutsch
City Councilman Chaim Deutsch

“As a working parent, I value the time I get to spend with my children and grandchildren. For other working parents like me, it is always difficult to find an activity that is fun for the whole family, yet cost-effective. This showing will give families the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company, see a great movie, and not break the bank doing so,” said Deutsch. “In my tenure as City Councilman, I have made it a priority to arrange for many family-friendly activities, and I invite you to join me once again this Sunday!”

Deutsch said the event is meant to also be multigenerational and as such grandparents, parents, and children of all ages are invited to enjoy the free show and the time spent with loved ones and friends.

Doors for the event open at 2 p.m. this Sunday, January 17 at the Madison High School auditorium, 3787 Bedford Avenue. The movie begins at 3 p.m.

Golden Hosts Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program

State Sen. Marty Golden
State Sen. Marty Golden

Bay Ridge State Senator Marty Golden announced he will again host the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, offering free tax preparation services to residents making less than $30,000 annually.

“I once again look forward to helping hundreds of my constituents complete their tax returns at no charge.  For 17 years, my office has hosted the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, an
invaluable service to those who qualify, saving constituents hundreds of dollars they would otherwise spend in tax preparation services.  I urge all those who qualify to call now to make an appointment,” said Golden.

According to the VITA guidelines, the program does not permit tax returns to be prepared for individuals with investment income or loss, income from rental property, and/or self-employed taxpayers with business expenses above $5,000 or losses.

Appointments will be available at his district office located at 7408 5th Avenue, on Sundays and Mondays, from February 21 through April 11Sunday appointments will be scheduled from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Monday appointments will be scheduled in the evenings from 6-9 p.m. Services will be provided by appointment only and can be scheduled by calling Senator Golden’s district office at
(718) 238-6044.

Adams Celebrates BRIC Building As Environmental Friendly

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams will join BRIC President Leslie G. Schultz and UrbanGlass Executive Director Cybele Maylone today will celebrate the leadership of Brooklyn’s arts community on protecting the environment, at a ceremony awarding LEED Silver certification for the BRIC Arts | Media House / UrbanGlass building in Fort Greene.

The site, which provides 60,000 square feet for performances, exhibitions, television production, and art studios in a community internationally renowned for its creativity, was designed to minimize the consumption of natural resources in construction, reduce demand for water and electricity, and offer artists and visitors a healthier indoor environment.

Others in attendance will include Thomas Leeser of Leeser Architecture, the building’s designer, and members of the local arts community.

The event is slated for 10 a.m. today at BRIC Arts/Media House, 647 Fulton Street in Fort Greene.