Ocean Ave. losing its Brooklyn charm

Brooklyn Daily
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To the editor,

With reference to the building going up on Ocean Avenue between Kings Highway and Quentin Road, Ocean Avenue now looks like any other generic street … the private houses are going — a lot have gone — and the trees, which Brooklyn is known for, are also gone and going (“Ocean rising! Tide of development sweeps Ocean Avenue” by Julianne Cuba, online April 17).

Howard Chen, manager of the company putting up the latest building, says that the neighborhood is turning into a hot spot for development. I can’t imagine why.

If this was years ago I would agree with him. Kings Highway was the premier shopping street, it had the finest clothing stores for women, men and children. Now the Highway is full of banks, drug stores, and a lot of schlock stores. There was a supermarket on 16th Street, now there isn’t a decent grocery store. Walk down the street and you feel like you are in a foreign country as you no longer hear English.

Wait until those people, who move in without having a parking space, have to find a place for their car. All the buildings basically look alike, they all have balconies that are, for the most part, the size of a postage stamp, and they have medical centers on the ground floor. Some are legal, some are not.

This new building will have a day care center with 30 teachers? They don’t have that many in an elementary school!

Kings Highway has turned into a sad shadow of its former self.

Rowena Lachant


Protest protesters

To the editor,

One of the saddest sights I’ve seen covered on the “left”-biased news was the hordes of protesters, still screaming at the top of their lungs, against President Trump and the Republican-Conservative party.

May Day, once traditionally a happy affair across Europe and early America, observed to herald in a new and bright season of spring, has been turned dark and dour by the communists and socialists to bring their message of suppression of free thought and hate for democracies across the globe.

Today’s protesters, a rag-tag bunch, are all for open borders, free drugs (pot and heroin included), anti-hate as long as you go along lockstep with their demands and, of course, anti-Republican anything.

The protesters should really appreciate what they have in the simple ability to be able to protest. As once their form of government takes power, protests? What are protests?

Robert W. Lobenstein

Marine Park

Rethink housing

To the editor,

I wholeheartedly agree with Joanna DelBuono’s column, “City Needs Tiny Houses, Not Greenways” (“Not for Nothin,’ ” online, April 26). Our city definitely needs homes for the homeless much more than we need greenways. We also need more and better schools for all children much more than we need bike lanes and fancy parks. I think Ms. DelBuono’s idea of small separate houses for the homeless is infinitely better than setting aside low-rent apartments for the poor and homeless in those horrible high-rise monstrosities that wealthy developers are creating.

I was angered by Ed Greenspan’s letter “Fix Our Schools” (“Sound off the to Editor,” online, April 30). I do not believe in stigmatizing students by shipping them off to “600” schools. I understand that Mr. Greenspan was a teacher for many years and, undoubtedly, had to deal with many difficult, disruptive students. However, I believe that the only solution for the problem of disruptive students is to find out and alleviate the causes of their upsetting behavior. Fining the parents — many of whom are impoverished or abusive, or both — will only make things worse. I believe that well-trained social workers and teachers should be able to find out what the real problems are that are causing students’ problem behavior. The parents, as well as their children, may need counseling, physical, financial, and other help. Gangs and drug dealers must be kept away from schools. Gang members in the schools need help in getting out of the gangs. Some students may have to be removed from abusive homes. The small houses Joanna DelBuono suggests could be a big help to homeless students and their families.

I would like to suggest to Mayor DeBlasio that he use the money he plans to spend on beautifying the city on building new schools and repairing old ones instead, and on hiring more teachers, teachers’ aides, and social workers and improving their training. One way of decreasing disruption in schools would be to allocate funds to provide more activities in the schools that would really interest bored students enough to get them to participate. I don’t think the city is ready for mandatory pre-school for 3-year-olds because I don’t know where they are going to put these children. There is not enough room in the available schools for the current students, let alone 3-year-olds. The students we have now need smaller classrooms and more individual attention. I believe that if students live in safe, supportive homes and safer outside environments and are able to participate in meaningful and challenging activities in their schools, they will not need to be disruptive.Elaine Kirsch


Higher speed?

To the editor,

I write in response to the many unfounded claims in Allan Rosen’s letter supporting raising the speed limit on Ocean Parkway (“Debate over Ocean Parkway speed limit,” “Sound off the to Editor,” online, April 16). From denying the correlation between speed and fatal crashes to falsely claiming that most pedestrian fatalities are caused by pedestrian error, Mr. Rosen’s mistaken assertions are typical of drivers who cannot accept that safer urban streets means slower, more cautious driving. Speed is a leading cause of crashes that kill or seriously injure in New York City, just behind failure to yield and driver inattention. The chance of killing a pedestrian at 20–25 miles per hour is five percent, but rises to 45 percent for 30–35 miles per hour, and 85 percent for 40–45 miles per hour. Raising the speed limit on Ocean Parkway by five miles per hour would greatly increase the chance that a collision results in a fatality. The fact that drivers turning right off Ocean Parkway share a light cycle with pedestrians and cyclists passing through crosswalks at the same time only makes this proposal more dangerous. At the heart of Mr. Rosen’s letter is the belief that any inconvenience to drivers is too large to justify measures to protect the lives of pedestrians and cyclists. But the streets of New York do not belong exclusively to drivers.

Mr. Rosen touts Queens Boulevard as another street where he believes the speed limit is too low, claiming that bike lanes and improved pedestrian infrastructure installed by the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) are unwarranted because longer crossing times for pedestrians and fencing to prevent jaywalking reduced that street’s high number of pedestrian fatalities 15 years ago. What he neglected to mention is that DOT lowered the speed limit from 35 miles per hour to 30 miles per hour at the same time. After further reducing the speed limit to 25 miles per hour and implementing a redesign of the street’s service lanes and medians, there hasn’t been a traffic death on Queens Boulevard in more than two years, something which had not happened in 30 years. In fairness to Mr. Rosen, all of DOT’s measures likely made Queens Boulevard safer, but while DOT’s data repeatedly shows that bike lanes and pedestrian improvements make streets safer and that most crashes (78.5 percent) in which pedestrians are killed and seriously injured do not involve pedestrian error, there is no data to support the claim that a higher speed limit on Ocean Parkway would be safer or even as safe as the current limit.

Those who support Sen. Felder’s proposal to raise the speed limit on Ocean Parkway wish it were less a street and more a highway.

To those of Mr. Rosen’s ilk, pedestrians and cyclists — and often, other drivers — are simply an impediment to their driving. Lowering speed limits, striping bike lanes, restricting turns, and the implementation of other traffic-calming measures are simply gimmicks meant to appease a supposedly all-powerful bike lobby (of which I am a member, but seemingly have no power), raise revenue through speeding fines, and frustrate drivers in an effort to discourage them from driving. Because they are more concerned with how long it takes to drive across Brooklyn than with the death toll on our streets, Vision Zero’s mission to eliminate fatalities on our streets rings hollow to them. Like affordable healthcare to [House] Speaker Ryan, other peoples’ lives are a sacrifice they are willing to make.Brian Howald

Brooklyn Heights

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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