Queens Lawmakers On The Move May 31, 2019

Queens County City Council News

Katz, Koo, Rozic Break Ground On New Annex for Francis Lewis High School

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz
City Council Member Peter Koo

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz (D), City Council Member Peter Koo (D- Bayside, College Point, Flushing, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Fresh Meadows, Whitestone) and Assembly Member Nily Rozic (D-Flushing, Queensboro Hill, Hillcrest, Fresh Meadows, Oakland Gardens, Bayside, Douglaston) yesterday broke ground to mark the start of construction of a new, state-of-the-art, 555-seat annex for the high school in Fresh Meadows, which is the most overcrowded in the City at over 200% capacity.

Assembly Member Nily Rozic

The annex will reduce overcrowding at Francis Lewis High School and will be fully accessible, air-conditioned, and will include at least 18 new instructional spaces. Other amenities will include a culinary arts room, a science lab, a greenhouse, locker rooms, and a multi-purpose room.

“Today we are breaking ground on a new state-of-the-art, fully accessible annex that will significantly increase classroom capacity at Francis Lewis High School, the City’s most overcrowded high school,” said Katz. “This annex will help the Francis Lewis faculty and administration do an even better job of providing a high-quality education to all of the school’s students. Lorraine Grillo and her team at the School Construction Authority have done a great job of addressing overcrowding and we eagerly await the completion of this project, which will benefit students for decades to come.”

“Today is a great day for the Francis Lewis High School family as we break ground on a 555-seat expansion that will finally provide desperately needed relief to the most overcrowded high school in the City,” Koo said. “This annex will be a state-of-the-art facility with space for classes, extra-curricular activities, a greenhouse, and more. I was happy to contribute funding to this important expansion, and I’d like to thank Principal Marmor and his staff, the Department of Education, and the School Construction Authority for their commitment to ensuring Francis Lewis High School students have the resources they need to succeed.”

“Any opportunity for our schools to expand and provide students with the space to enhance student learning is one to celebrate,” Rozic said. “I congratulate Francis Lewis High School on this eagerly awaited expansion and look forward to joining the school community at its unveiling.”

Vallone Floats Bill to Install Solar Powered Traffic Safety Devices on City Streets

City Council Member Paul Vallone

City Council Member Paul Vallone (D-Alley Pond Park, Bay Terrace, Bayside, College Point, Douglaston, East Elmhurst, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Little Neck, Whitestone) this week introduced a bill that would direct the Department of Transportation (DOT) to study the feasibility of adopting and installing solar-powered traffic control devices on New York City streets and require the city agency to publish their findings and recommendations.

If passed, the measure would take effect immediately and study findings would need to be submitted within one year of the effective date.

A number of localities in states including Florida, Massachusetts and New Jersey have already employed solar power to enhance their street crossings and intersections. The system is generally activated on demand by motion sensor or push button and provides an advanced signal in the form of flashing lights to vehicles driving down the street that a pedestrian will be crossing in the crosswalk. As seen in other municipalities, this signaling system provides another layer of safety for pedestrians and is installed seamlessly with existing infrastructure.

“In the critical interest of keeping our City’s pedestrians protected, we must proactively look for new and innovative ways to make our streets safer for all,” said Vallone. “Solar-powered illuminated crosswalks have been successfully implemented in other parts of the country and would be an effective way to improve safety for our pedestrians. As the Administration continues implementing its Vision Zero plan, this inventive control measure could be a critical piece of preventing collisions like the one that tragically took the life of Madeline Sershen.”

Gianaris, Senate Majority Hold Hearing On Automatic Voter Registration

State Senator Michael Gianaris

Senate Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside and parts of Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Woodhaven) yesterday helped lead the way in Albany in a public hearing on automatic voter registration (AVR).

“At a time in our country when voting rights are under assault, New York must live up to its potential as a progressive leader,” said Gianaris, sponsor of S1278. “Access to the ballot box should be easy and fair, and enacting automatic voter registration would go a long way towards improving our democracy.”

One of the main focuses of the hearing was to hear arguments on the strengths and weaknesses of front-end and back-end approaches to Automatic Voter Registration. In a front-end system, such as that proposed by Senator Carlucci in S139, potential voters who interact with state agencies would be given the option to be automatically registered during their interaction.

Fifteen other states and DC already have some or plan to implement some form of AVR.