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Day 1: Getting Dangerous Summit Place Step Street Fixed and Eventually Replaced in Kingsbridge, Bronx

13 Dec

So the beginning of the title to this post means that I’m beginning today to count the days it takes to replace the unsafe step street between Bailey Avenue and Heath Avenue, which heads right into Summit Place. I know many of us have expressed concerns in various ways about this before, but here I’ll start afresh, with no complaints, just a more focused effort to get this done. The next meeting of Community Board 8’s Traffic and Transportation Committee is on Thursday, Dec. 20 at Amalgamated Houses, 74 Van Cortland Park South, at 7 p.m. I’ll be there and I hope that others who care about this can attend too.

In a recent email exchange with an incredibly helpful member of Community Board 8, Laura Spalter, I learned that replacing this step street is number 6 on the board’s Fiscal Year 2020 capital priorities list, which begins July 1, 2019. (The current list on the CB8 site needs to be corrected or updated, since the step street is not on that list at all.) We need to learn how long it will take to get to #6, and whether the city will adhere to that request at all.

But regardless off whether it becomes a city-authorized capital project plan — which means it would be completely replaced — it would take at least two or three years to plan and complete I’m figuring, maybe even more. But in the meantime, it definitely needs to be repaired. Here are some photos I took the other day:

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This is what so many steps look like on this step street. And aside from all the cracks, many of the steps are uneven in height, exacerbating the potential of tripping and falling. 

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The worst step on the step street. Dangerous! 

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Just a wider look at all the damage. 

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Many of the rail posts, like this one, indicate to me that there were once lights on them. This step street is poorly lit, which makes the cracked, uneven steps even more dangerous. 

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See the big stone block near the beautiful, new graffiti post on the side of this store? Well that’s from one of the posts on the step street. It’s been like that for a long time but the city has done nothing about it. 

Again, if you are concerned about any of the above I look forward to seeing you at the next gathering of the Traffic and Transportation Committee meeting of Community Board 8 (info above). There’s a Facebook site called Friends of Summit Place Step Street. If you have any questions or concerns related to the step street, you can post them there and I, or someone else, will get back to you. Thanks!

—Jordan Moss

 

 

 

 

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22 Days to Go: Biaggi Will Attend Bronx Town Hall Tonight for State Senate Candidates. Will Klein?

22 Aug

With only 3 weeks (+ a day) to go before the critical primary vote on Thurs., Sept. 13 for staten senator, in the 34th Senate District (and others all over the city), the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition is hosting a Town Hall tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Monroe College, 2501 Jerome Ave. (near Fordham Road) for Senate candidates interested in representing a few northwest Bronx districts. Alessandra Biaggi will be there. I heard that her opponent, incumbent Jeff Klein has not RSVP’d. Anyone interested in learning where candidates stand on many critical issues — health care, housing, schools, jobs, etc. — are welcome to attend.

Biaggi vs. Klein Debate on BronxTalk on Aug. 13 at 9 p.m. (39 Days to Go Before Election on Thurs., Sept. 13)

5 Aug

Just got word from BronxTalk’s veteran host Gary Axelbank that he’ll host a debate between Alessandra Biaggi and Jeff Klein, candidates for State Senate, a week from tomorrow: Monday, Aug. 13 at 9 p.m. It’s on Optimum channel 67 and Fios channel 33. Don’t have those? Well, go to a friend’s house that does have one and invite more friends!   It’s critically important because, as I’ve already written here and here, it’s a local race with impact throughout the Empire State. If you can’t watch it at that time, it’ll be on-line soon thereafter.

42 Days to Go — Taking Down Members of Bronx-Born IDC (Independent Democratic Conference)

2 Aug

8.2.18 – I wrote about Bronx politics and critical local issues for almost 20 years, when I was reporter and editor of the Norwood News (in Community Board 7) and the Bronx News Network. One thing I rarely witnessed were Democratic incumbents (all were Dems except for Guy Velella during my tenure) facing primary challengers with a good shot of winning. During my time on the job, except when corrupt incumbents were defeated or stepped down (State Senator Pedro Espada, Councilman Pedro G. Espada, State Senator Efrain Gonzalez, Councilman Larry Seabrook, Nelso Castro, Eric Stevenson, Israel Ruiz, etc., etc.) few if any vets of the City Council, state Assembly, or state Senate, faced significant challengers.

But times have changed. If there’s one thing to be grateful to Trump and his seemingly corrupt victory for, it is this: excellent and energized freshmen progressive candidates are taking it to the streets along with big teams of dedicated volunteers. They are acting on the fact that state and local elections are as – and even more in many cases – critical to democracy and local issues as presidential elections. What happens – or doesn’t happen – locally has a dramatic impact on national politics as well. Even big-shot former U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill famously said, “All politics is local.”

And it is not just local in terms of issues affecting Bronx residents and neighborhoods, but residents and towns of the entire Empire State.

And that’s because of the IDC, a team of eight “Democrats” who sided with Republicans in the State Senate, handed over all of the real power of Democrats to the GOP. That’s blocked every essential bill on critical issues like voting rights, school funding, a Health Care Act, and the DREAM Act from passing in the State Senate and joining forces with the Assembly, vastly controlled by Democrats.

State Senator Jeff Klein, of the Bronx, formed the IDC in 2011. It wouldn’t have existed without him. (Technically, it no longer exists since Cuomo made them shut it down earlier this year, but Klein and his team are being told to pay $1.4  million they received from the Independence Party. Like almost all other IDC incumbents, Klein faces a strong challenge from Alessandra Biaggi, who already has 400 volunteers on her team taking it to the streets, knocking on doors, phone banking, writing post cards, contributing whatever they can. Here’s her recent video.

Bronx Democrats (including me) have moaned and groaned for years that our votes don’t  count for much, particularly in presidential elections. But this is a Democratic primary with epic issues (local, state and national) at stake. Your vote – and participation – matters. Big time.

So learn more and volunteer for Biaggi (or any of the other challengers to IDC incumbents ) right now! There are only six weeks to go! The primary is on Thursday (yes, Thursday!) September 13.

Oh, and if you’d like to learn more about the IDC, check out this excellent, brief video Zephyr Teachout did last year.

 

Criminal Justice Focus at Bronx Documentary Center Screening and Panel Discussion

9 Jan

The Bronx Documentary Center in Melrose will host “Visualizing Criminal Justice,” a screening and panel discussion, with the Marshall Project. on Thurs., Jan. 11 at 7  p.m. “Jenny Carchman’s We Are Witnesses takes a deeper look at the faces behind the complex and highly-flawed criminal justice system.” More info here.

Petition for Safety at Ft. Independence Intersections

28 Nov

Crossing Ft. Independence Street in Kingsbridge Heights is dangerous for everyone — kids, adults, and drivers. There are no crosswalks in 2 essential areas. Time for the city act. If you live, work, or go to school in the area – or just plain care – sign this petition and  share link with others. We want the city’s Department of Transportation to act ASAP. Thanks!

Who, and What, You’re Voting For in Bronx and Beyond

2 Nov

Wnyc.org has a great site listing who and what you’re going to be voting for this coming Tuesday, Nov. 8.

The city itself has its own detailed site.

Pass this along. The more who know about these links the merrier.

City Limits Highlights 40 Years of Critical Reporting

3 Feb

City Limits is 40 years old this year. For most of its life thus far it was a hand-held magazine, but for a couple of years now it’s been a website with the same critical coverage of urban policies that affect all New Yorkers and their neighborhoods.

Celebrating its impressive anniversary (how many nonprofit publications are around for four decades?) City Limits highlights a story from each of those 40 years (including my piece -part of a series produced by Tom Robbins and his excellent students at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism – about a boy’s death following a fire in a disastrous Bronx building long-ignored by its landlord.)

What City Limits also has up and running are essays by many of its former editors including Robbins, Alyssa Katz and Doug Turetsky. (Bronx and Norwood neighborhood resident Jarrett Murphy is the current editor who made this whole lookback happen.)

Take a read and pass it on. It’s good for everyone to know more about where we were and focus on what policies still need focus and change.