Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move May 3, 2019

News Site Brooklyn

BP Adams Applauds New Rule Allowing Access-A-Ride Vehicles In Dedicated Bus Lanes

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams yesterday applauded the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) new ruling in allowing Access-A-Ride (AAR) vans in dedicated bus lanes.

The new ruling comes just weeks after the proposal was initially announced, which aims to speed up trips for users of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) program for disabled commuters, which has been plagued by complaints of slow and inefficient service.

Advocates have been urging the city for the last few years to allow AAR cars into bus lanes, saying the change would help provide faster trips for customers, many of whom rely on AAR because of disabilities that prevent them from taking other public transit options.  Trips through the service are often painstakingly slow, users say — rides are shared, so drivers frequently take winding routes to pick up other customers, making riders late for work and other engagements.

The change to the city’s rules would allow for wheelchair-accessible AAR vehicles that can seat four or more to use bus lanes on city streets, according the proposal. This would apply to AAR vans, of which there were 1,300 in the program’s fleet as of 2012, according to initial reporting from City Limits.

“Allowing Access-A-Ride vehicles in dedicated bus lanes, which are designed to improve traffic flow for all who utilize vehicular mass transit, is a common-sense solution to an age-old problem. In order for Access-A-Ride to fulfill its mission to riders with disabilities, paratransit must be able to move efficiently. I look forward to reviewing the success of this new rule and exploring additional ways we can improve transit accessibility and fairness,” said Adams.

Persaud Bill Exempting Tuition Funds From Qualifying For Public Assistance Passes Senate

Roxanne J. Persaud
State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud

State Senator Roxanne Persaud’s (D-Canarsie, East New York, Brownsville, Mill Basin, Sheepshead Bay, Bergen Beach, Marine Park, Flatlands, Mill Island, Georgetown, Ocean Hill, Starrett City) legislation that exempts certain funds in qualified tuition plans in the calculation of household benefits under public assistance programs passed the New York State Senate on Thursday.

On May 1, the Senate passed Bill S1089, which would amend the social services law in relation to disregarding funds in a federal qualified tuition program — known as 529 Accounts or “qualified tuition plans” — during public assistance assessments. These tax-advantaged savings plans are intended to help families save for future higher education expenses but are currently considered during assets limit tests conducted when determining whether households qualify for public assistance.

This legislation seeks to codify regulations harmonious to already-existing New York State regulations so families in the federal program are not penalized for saving money to afford future education plans.

“I thank the Senate for approving my legislation that will help public assistance households with qualified tuition accounts (“529 Accounts”) to retain their savings needed to pay for higher education,” said Persaud.

“Education is a pathway out of poverty toward self –sufficiency; households that participate in this federal program should not be forced to spend-down education savings in order to receive assistance. S1089 codifies exemptions already provided for in state regulations and agency guidance,” added Persaud.

BK Lawmakers Denounce Intersection Involved In Death of 3-Year-Old Struck In Bath Beach

City Councilman Mark Treyger
Assembly Member William Colton

City Council member Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island, Bensonhurst) and Assembly member William Colton (D-Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, and Dyker Heights) yesterday mourned the tragic death of a 3-year-old struck by a vehicle in South Brooklyn.

On Thursday, around 1 p.m., Emur Shavkator, was fatally struck by a commercial van near the intersection of Bay 25th Street and Benson Avenue in Bath Beach.  The toddler was with his mother riding a small green scooter on Benson Avenue at around 12:45 p.m. when he was struck by the van as it made a right turn onto Benson.

The toddler was eventually pinned beneath the vehicle, where his mother tried to save him but was later rushed to Coney Island Hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to initial reports. The driver, 61-year-old Johnny Gonzalez of Bensonhurst, stayed at the scene where he was later arrested failure to yield and failure to exercise due care. The investigation is ongoing.

“This is an unspeakable tragedy, and my thoughts are with this family and all those who know and love them. Our streets need to be safe for pedestrians, cyclists, and little kids on scooters. I have been requesting traffic calming measures at this intersection since 2014, including submitting multiple requests for traffic signals which were denied by the City’s Department of Transportation. There is a moral urgency to street safety improvements that, regrettably, does not seem to be captured in the data points collected during traffic studies,” said Treyger.

“How many more innocent lives will be taken before NYC Department of Transportation steps up and recognizes the urgency behind dangerous intersections and making them safer for our community. I demand that a traffic light be installed at the intersection of Benson Avenue and Bay 25 Street,” said Colton.

Myrie To Hold Budget Town Hall In Crown Heights

State Senator Zellnor Myrie
State Senator Zellnor Myrie

State Senator Zellnor Myrie (D-Central Brooklyn) announced yesterday that he will be hosting his first Town Hall this week focusing on the recently passed New York State budget (FY 2020).

At the event, Myrie will give a breakdown of how the budget works, how this year’s Enacted Budget will affect the communities in District 20, and will take general questions from the audience.

The event is slated for 3 p.m., Saturday, May 4, at St. Francis de Sales School for the Deaf, 260 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights.

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