NY Lawmakers on the Move, Aug. 29, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

Cymbrowitz announces work to begin to make Sheepshead Bay & Kings Highway subway stations ADA accessible

Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) announced Friday that work to install long-awaited elevators and other accessibility upgrades at the  Sheepshead Bay B/Q and Kings Highway F stations is scheduled to begin in mid-2023.

The  lawmaker spent years appealing to the MTA to install elevators at these busy stations and  even made repeated offers of funding to make the upgrades possible. Plans will include  elevators, tactile guideways for people with vision impairment, and other complementary  design features to make the stations fully accessible. 

“This is great news for the people of southern Brooklyn, especially for the many  thousands of seniors, people with disabilities and young families in our communities who  have been effectively barred from using the subway and have been asking for these  improvements for decades,” he said.

These projects will be expedited using “design-build,” which allows designers and contractors to  work together from the beginning rather than going through the typical lengthy bidding  process. 

Cymbrowitz has long been an outspoken proponent of “design-build”  and in 2019 voted for the New York City Public Works Investment Act, which authorized  certain public agencies to use the “design-build” procurement method. 

“For southern Brooklyn and other areas with relatively few mass transit options, full  accessibility at these stations will be a game-changer,” Cymbrowitz said. “It’s terrible that it took this long, but I look forward to the day when seniors, people  with disabilities and families with baby strollers can enjoy the same right as anyone  else to access these local stations, and the entire MTA network, and get around our city.” 

Meng leads Queens elected officials in calling for state to prioritize flooding in key climate change program

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) announced Friday that she recently led a letter – signed by 14 other Queens elected officials – calling for New York State to prioritize flooding in the borough as it finalizes a key program to help address climate change.

Those joining the letter include Queens Borough President Donovan Richards; State Senators Jessica Ramos, John Liu and Leroy Comrie; Assemblymembers Brian Barnwell, Catalina Cruz, Andrew Hevesi, David Weprin, Jenifer Rajkumar and Ed Braunstein; and Councilmembers Linda Lee, Lynn Schulman, James Gennaro and Sandra Ung.

The correspondence asks the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to ensure that the types of floods occurring in Queens are a central part of the criteria in the Disadvantaged Communities program, an initiative to ensure that disadvantaged, frontline and otherwise underserved communities benefit from the state’s transition to cleaner, greener sources of energy. 

These types of disadvantaged communities are areas that are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and consist of low and moderate income households, among other things. If this flooding is prioritized in the criteria, Queens could receive more state funding to address the problem.

The criteria for the program is being finalized by the Climate Justice Working Group, an advisory panel charged with working on the issue under New York’s Climate Act which recognizes that climate change does not affect all communities equally.

“Last year, the remnants of Hurricane Ida struck New York City and left a trail of disaster,” the elected officials wrote. “Our borough of Queens tragically lost eleven members of our community in the storm, leaving countless others without their home, car, and possessions. Many of the victims were from lower income and immigrant backgrounds and struggled to recover from the storm’s devasting effects. Ida also cost the city millions of dollars in property damage.”

Comrie Launches Senior Appreciation Month

State Senator Leroy Comrie

Senator Leroy Comrie (D-Queens) and elected officials this coming Friday will launch the 20th annual Senior Appreciation Month.

While Comrie is the lead organizer, Senior Appreciation Month events have been put together through a collaboration of elected officials at multiple levels of government in Queens. The month long program will feature a variety of events. 

Senior Appreciation Month began as Senior Appreciation Week in 2002 and became a month long celebration in 2007. In past years, events have included senior proms, nature hikes, game nights, informational luncheons, fashion shows, bowling, town halls, musical celebrations, and more. The calendar of events for this year’s Senior Appreciation Month will be announced at the the launch.

The launch is slated for 10 a.m., Friday, Sept, 2, at the Roy Wilkins Recreation Center Gym, 177th St and Baisley Blvd in Jamaica, Queens.

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