Queens Lawmakers On The Move May 21, 2018

Queens County City Council News

Crowley Releases Proposal Expanding Bicycle Tax Benefit

U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley

U.S. Rep. and Chair of the House Democratic Caucus Joe Crowley (D-Sunnyside, Astoria, College Point, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona, Woodside and parts of the Bronx) and U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) on Friday released a new proposal to modify and expand the bicycle commuter tax benefit to encourage more employees to bike to work.

The proposal increases the monthly limitation currently set on bicycle commuting expenses and modifies the bicycle commuter tax benefit to allow employees to take full advantage of the bicycle benefit. It also expands the bicycle commuter tax benefit to include bikeshare memberships as a qualifying expense.

“Giving employees the ability to easily and affordably bike to work will benefit our economy, our environment, and our communities,” said Crowley. “On Bike to Work Day, I’m proud to team up with Congressman Blumenauer to help more Americans get on the road – on a bike!

The Bicycle Commuter Act of 2018 will be formally introduced later this year. Crowley and Blumenauer released the proposal to provide the public and key stakeholders an opportunity to comment on the draft amidst a rapidly-changing transportation system before the draft becomes formal legislation.

Peralta, DenDekker Welcome Initial Safety Changes on Northern Boulevard

State Sen. Jose Peralta
Assemblyman Michael DenDekker

After demanding immediate traffic changes to Northern Boulevard following the tragic death of 9-year-old Giovanni Ampuero, State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside.) and Assemblymember Michael DenDekker (D-Woodside, Jackson Heights, and East Elmhurst) welcomed the initial steps the city’s Department of Transportation took to increase road and pedestrian safety along the busy corridor.

Peralta, DenDekker and other elected officials took part in a walk through along Northern Boulevard last week with DOT as part of the efforts to determine what specific safety improvements changes are needed at each intersection.

Part of the DOT implemented traffic changes includes the installation of Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs) on additional intersections on Northern Boulevard from Queens Plaza to 114th Street. LPIs allow pedestrians to begin walking at the crosswalk 7+ seconds before vehicles move. Additionally, DOT promised to install Left Turn Traffic Calming measures, aimed at reducing left turn speeds, at specific intersections on Northern Boulevard between 58 Street and Junction Boulevard.

“We need to ensure that what happened to Giovanni does not occur ever again. It is insane to think that a boy lost his life as he was crossing the street with a walk green light. It is vital that we not only held reckless drivers accountable and taken them out of the road, but we implement the necessary road and pedestrian safety changes to protect New Yorkers. I welcome the first changes DOT has made to Northern Boulevard, and look forward to working with them to make this corridor safe for all,” said Peralta.

“I am glad to see DOT making these initial changes to improve safety on Northern Boulevard, and looking forward to seeing additional improvements being implemented, like installing left turn calming measures and the repainting all the crosswalks,” said DenDekker. “These changes are a step in the right direction.”

Peralta and DenDekker also pointed out that DOT promised to complete a study to determine what additional safety measures can be implemented along the corridor from 54 to 114 streets.

Addabbo Statement On Texas School Shooting

Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr.

State Sen Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth, parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside and the Rockaways) expressed condolences and thoughts towards last week’s school shooting that left 10 dead at Santa Fe High School in Texas.

“My prayers go out to all the students, families and faculty of the Santa Fe High School in Texas following today’s tragic shooting there. Once again, our country has been struck by an avoidable tragedy. I believe that in addition to our prayers, as elected leaders we need to come together to protect our students while they are in school, whether by locking doors to the school or implementing other safety measures, in order to prevent these tragedies,” said Addabbo.

Avella Honors Jewish War Veteran at Capitol Ceremony

State Sen. Tony Avella

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-College Point, Whitestone, Bayside, Flushing, Jamaica Estates, Fresh Meadows, Bellerose, Floral Park, Jamaica, Douglaston, Little Neck, Auburndale, Kissena Park, Briarwood) last week inducted local veteran Jason Kaatz into the New York State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame at their annual induction ceremony in Albany.

Kaatz began his service in the United States Army in March 1964. He served in Vietnam from November 1964 to December 1967, with the 161st Assault Helicopter Company, 52nd and 14th Combat Aviation Battalions, 17th Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Brigade. While in Vietnam he was assigned to work with the Republic of South Korea Tiger Division, South Vietnamese 22nd ARVN Division, 5th Special Forces and Special Operations Group in Bhin Dhin Province, operating out of Lane Army Air Field.

Kaatz was honorably discharged from the Army in March 1970. During his service, he received numerous medals including the Vietnam Service Medal with three battle stars, National Defense Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with 50 Devices, Aircraft Crewman Badge, Good Conduct Medal, Meritorious Service Award, and Valorous Unit Citations.

Kaatz’ service to his country and community did not end when he left the Army as he continued to serve on a multitude of veterans organizations. He served on the National Executive Committee of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States and previously served as its Queens County Commander and served as Commander of the Bell-Oak Post 648.

 “I am honored to have been able to induct Jason Kaatz into the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame. The selflessness of Mr. Kaatz and the countless others that served before and after him in this nation’s military are the backbone of what makes this country great. Mr. Kaatz put his life on the line to fight for this country and, as his medals and accommodations show, he was a model soldier and someone we should all be proud served this country,” said Avella.