Why did we bother attending?


To the editor:

I just wanted to share my frustration at the meeting held on Jan. 21 by Dan Padernacht, the chair of Community Board 8’s traffic and transportation committee. Not only was he curt and rude to many who wanted to share their feelings, but he purposely saved the pressing issues on Independence Avenue as the last item on the agenda.

The purpose of the meeting was not to see a PowerPoint presentation on the differences in street lighting or handicap crossings. But I would like to add that a cutout is desperately needed by the Independence Avenue exit from The Whitehall — maybe it could be placed near the fire hydrant.

Many elderly people have difficulty getting off the uneven curbs, and are fearful of falling.

But I couldn’t even voice that, and was uncomfortable with Dan’s condescending tone to too many, or cutting people off when they tried to voice their concerns.

The purpose of this meeting was to mostly discuss the narrowing of Independence, and installing bicycle lanes. And I believe these awful changes wouldn’t even affect him since I believe he does not live, work or frequent Seton Park, which is teeming with soccer, baseball and tennis players, not to mention school children during the warm weather, and folks going for a stroll in a green space.

And where is one supposed to park then?

Yet this topic wasn’t addressed when more than 225 people were attending. When it was finally brought up — and not fully discussed — there were less than 100 people in attendance because the meeting didn’t end until approximately 11:15 p.m. More than four hours, and the main agenda was put off. Totally outrageous and unacceptable.

How is this going to alleviate the situation of those disrespectful drivers doing wheelies at the intersections of West 239th and West 237th streets at all hours of the night? How are UPS and Amazon and FedEx supposed to deliver? And what about the ambulances and the parents who drop off their children at P.S. 24 and Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy?

And where are the neighborhood residents supposed to park?

Parking is at a premium in Riverdale, as we have lost many spaces over the years. Now a bike lane and narrowing the street? How ridiculous.

Many people have reported the donut driving situation — and even taken videos — yet nothing is being done. Why can’t some security cameras be installed at these locations? What about a neighborhood watch schedule? I’m sure some good neighbors would volunteer.

And why can’t we get a direct number to the 50th Precinct just dealing with this issue? And when once this is reported, the police could be there within a matter of a few minutes.

This has been going on much too long now. People are being awoken at odd hours by these loud noises and the souped-up cars drag racing in the area as well. Narrowing that street will cause many more headaches and doesn’t solve the existing problems. It will only make matters there much worse.

You also can voice your concerns with our Assemblyman, Jeffrey Dinowitz. If you call his office, someone will get back to you and then you can share your thoughts and ideas.

We need to work together to help improve our neighborhood, repaving West 246th Street riddled with potholes, fix the broken curbs and sidewalks, remove the graffiti, and repaint the peeling overpass by The Whitehall.

And we all should work together as a community, not as factions splitting off in different directions.

Carol Stricker

EDITOR’S NOTE: Discussion of brainstorming suggestions by a working group exploring reckless driving along the Independence Avenue corridor was actually the fourth of a nine-item agenda, not the last. It was a regular monthly meeting of the committee, which typically includes a number of different topics. Independence was discussed for more than three hours, beginning when the meeting was still near its peak attendance. 

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Carol Stricker,