"I'd like to post a letter I've sent to Councilwoman Helen Sears, in response to her stated support for the Community Board 3's proposed addition of parking meters on 73rd Street in front of Subzi Mandi--and in the mouth of the worst (most chronically gridlocked, dangerous) intersection (73rd Street and 37th Avenue) in northern Queens, as anyone who lives near it knows.
If I may, I will preface your reading of the letter with a quick sketch of my short-term process leading up to its writing, This put-it-to-a-vote item magically appeared on the agenda of the last CB3 meeting without any discussion with, nor inclusion of, any residential groups. To be sure, most residents certainly would argue that the bus stop on that corner, which mysteriously disappeared one night not long ago, should be turned into a loading zone for trucks that otherwise double-park and create daily havoc there.
I've never appeared before a community board meeting before, but when a neighbor called me to tell me the item was printed on their upcoming agenda I felt I had to go, both as a representative of my apartment building and as a founding member of the WJHA.
There were no residents of western Jackson Heights in the audience, nor did I recognize other members of the WJHA or the attendees of its meetings at the CB3 meeting, which was testimony to the stealthy nature of this item's inclusion on the agenda. I received further proof of CB3's bias when the item was introduced as having originated from Queens DOT (the implication was, NOT the board nor commercial interests). Queens DOT's last proposal was for a revival of the one-way pass on 37th Avenue, which has been defeated several times before. They haven't had an original idea about this traffic mess in years.
Then the "transportation committee" member who offered this red herring read Helen Sears' e-mailed support for the proposal, followed by a mumbled reading of Yvonne Sumner's disparaging e-mail (she represents an enormous co-op on 73rd Street) and then e-mails from other ''residents'' that were pro-accommodation of more vehicles. The impression was given on a community divided on this insane idea.
I found the experience akin to the political process I used to read about as a kid, only the subject then was the Soviet Union.
I hope residential concerns in the western end of Jackson Heights can find a few friends before it gets cut off by the knaves of commercial development and turn into a new version of a Robert Moses-induced Bronx slum. It looks like it's already happening on 73rd St, and it makes me angry and sad, both, because I love living here and I find it bewildering that the quality-of-life issues for residents don't receive attention equal to the accommodation of visitors to the area."