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City’s changes to SBS, bioswales proposals not enough

By Bob Harris

Although many members of community boards in Queens spoke out against the proposed Select Bus Service, it was initiated anyway.

The plan required that curbside SBS bus lanes be installed and regular parking for shoppers be eliminated.

The result was that business at local shops alongside Cross Bay Boulevard now have bus lanes with no parking Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The solution the city just made is to eliminate the no parking on Saturdays. It is something, but not enough. How much business will stores lose from these restrictions?

There is also the problem that some shopping streets or stretches of shopping streets have a 24-hour, no parking lane.

This seems very silly. The whole idea of preventing people from parking on streets adjacent to stores is stupid.

The city is now giving tickets ranging from $115 up to $150 to people who drive in these SBS lanes, but the rules are so confusing that people will be ticketed unfairly. And if you drive and text you can receive a fine of $50.

The basic problem is that stores along SBS routes are losing business because customers can’t park opposite the stores. Parking for shoppers is the problem and the SBS lane takes away parking to speed up bus time on these streets.

The common sense answer is to stop this nonsense and put cameras on the regular buses so photos can be taken of cars in bus stops and double parked on the streets, as well as sending through traffic enforcement or regular police cars to give tickets and thus speed up regular buses. Then SBS lanes are not needed.

The city spends money on these lanes, but when lack of parking causes stores to lose money, it expects them to continue to pay all the fees and taxes it charges.

When the revenue at these stores drops, the city will probably investigate them because they are paying less taxes on revenue and salaries.

There has been talk of expanding the SBS lanes to other areas. Union Turnpike was mentioned.

There is a long stretch of stores and schools and houses of worship along the south side of Union Turnpike in Fresh Meadows which would be really affected by this foolish scheme. Other areas were also mentioned. Hopefully, the city realizes that this plan is a failure and drops it in other neighborhoods.

RAINWATER SHORTAGE?

The city has hired crews from all over Long Island to come and drill to determine what is beneath sidewalks to find out if they can build bioswales or rain gardens.

These are drainage areas, which will let rainwater go into the ground and not run off into sewers.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation determined that New York City is not putting enough rainwater into the ground.

Of course, this problem exists because the city has permitted too many people to cement over too much of our land, so enough water is not absorbed into the soil.

The bioswale is an area in front of a house or building which looks like a rock garden with some tall grass and a tree or two, with a little fence around it.

It is several feet deep, with special soil which can absorb rain. Instead of stopping people from cementing over their lawns and back yards, the city’s solution is that people can chose to cover the bioswale area with a type of regular looking grass-like material or a cement which absorbs the rain.

There are better ways of spending money.

GOOD AND BAD NEWS OF THE WEEK

It happened again. A gunman with an AR-15 walked into a school and killed 17 students and teachers in Florida.

Why?

Because he was mentally ill or angry and was able to buy an automatic rife with clips of 30 or 40 bullets. The good news is that the students are fighting back for their lives.

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