FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM APRIL 6, 2017 • THE QUEENS COURIER 29 oped A LOOK BACK This week’s photo comes to us from Joan H. K. Hoffman of Douglaston. It shows us the corner of Linden and Farmers boulevards as it appeared in the 1940s. According to Ms. Hoffman, her father opened a florist shop at 180-19 Linden Blvd. in 1926, close to where this picture was taken. Note the Woolworth’s store in the foreground. We thank Ms. Hoffman for sending us this wonderful picture and encourage all of you to send your historic photos of Queens to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by regular mail to A Look Back, c/0 The Queens Courier, 38-15 Bell Blvd., Bayside, NY 11361. All mailed pictures will be carefully returned to you. letters & comments REPLACE RIKERS WITH LOCAL JAILS? NOT IN MY BACKYARD! Our elected officials must be playing a game of “Can you top this insane idea?” If you don’t believe me just look at the recent “Blue Ribbon Commission” studying the idea of closing Rikers Island. First of all, the location of Rikers Island, while not perfect has many advantages such as: 1) there are no residents on the island to complain, 2) there is a central location where criminals and accused are kept, and 3) most importantly, the idea of a location with one way on and off (unless you are Michael Phelps or Mark Spitz), thus cutting down on potential escapes appeals to most logical citizens of NYC, myself included. The idea of closing Rikers Island and housing criminals in residential neighborhoods is lunacy at its worst! If you think that there were taxpaying citizens who were up in arms regarding building homeless shelters in their backyards, wait until my fellow citizens wake up after they find out that there will be criminals (and accused criminals) instead. Thomas Murawski, Glendale VALUING THE ROLE OF GIRL SCOUTS IN HER LIFE On March 6, I testified before the City Council’s Committee on Youth Services, an action encouraged by the Girl Scouts of Greater New York, where I’ve been taught to stand up for issues I think are important. I would not be the young woman I am today without my 10 years of experience as a Girl Scout, and the invaluable leadership development opportunities it gave me. Because of the leadership skills and confidence I gained through Girl Scouting, I have helped mentor and inform girls in my troop and high school about the issue of teen suicide and self-harm, which has personally affected me. Currently, I’m a freshman in college pursuing my dreams of becoming an Army Officer. Unfortunately, for girls who can’t participate in Girl Scouting, these opportunities are not as common. Recently, the Girl Scouts’ State of the Girl: Unfinished Business report found that while all girls believe leadership is important to our society, only 21 percent of girls surveyed had a desire to, and a belief that they can, lead. That’s why I urged the members of the Committee on Youth Services to look for ways to expand leadership development opportunities for girls in New York City, particularly in public schools and high-need areas such as public housing, shelters and detention centers. My personal leadership development opportunities have helped me gain the skills and confidence that will help me reach my goals and become a leader in my career, my community and city. I urge the city to help make similar opportunities available to girls across NYC. Loriana Donovan, Girl Scout Alum, Long Island City There’s a better way to ‘Access’ East Side BY LARRY PENNER At a recent Metropolitan Transportation Authority board meeting, it was announced that the MTA LIRR Eastside Access to Grand Central Terminal had fallen behind another year. This means that the project completion date may slip once again by one year from December 2022 to December 2023. We have heard this story over and over since 2001. Insufficient support from Amtrak including track outages and assignment of Force Account Signal and other workers has been responsible for periodic delays since 2006. Experienced LIRR riders take advantage of existing options already available. Transferring at Woodside for the No. 7 express subway will take you to Grand Central Terminal in 15 minutes. This is 5 minutes more than staying on to Penn Station or change at Queensboro Plaza from the No. 7 subway for either the N or W subway which will take you to 59th Street and Lexington Avenue in even less time. LIRR passengers disembarking at Hunterspoint Avenue can transfer to the No. 7 subway and arrive at Grand Central Terminal in under 5 minutes. There is also a ferry at Long Island City with connections to 34th Street, Wall Street and other destinations. Another option for LIRR rides is to change at Jamaica for the E subway line. The E line will take you to 53rd Street and Lexington Avenue. You can also change from the E line to the F line at Union Turnpike. The F subway line takes you to 63rd Street and Lexington Avenue. You can also change from the E line to the R line at Queensboro Plaza. The R line will take you to 59th Street and Lexington Avenue. Until the 1970s, both LIRR and New Jersey Transit riders exiting east at Penn Station had a direct underground passageway known as the Hilton Corridor. Further, there was an underground passageway along Sixth Avenue which went as far north as 42nd Street. Both passageways were closed many decades ago by NYC Transit and the LIRR, due to security issues. If reopened today, commuters would have easy connections to the Broadway N, R, Q, W and Sixth Avenue B,D, F and M subway lines along with the PATH system. This connection could probably be restored in several years for less than the cost of one individual East Side Access construction contract or several of the larger construction contract change orders. Vornado Realty Trust estimated that the cost for reopening this 800-foot indoor corridor would be under $150 million. Since 2001, the total direct cost for East Side Access has grown from $3.5 to $10.8 billion today. The real cost is easily closer to $15 billion, when other items which are considered indirect and carried off line from the official project budget are included. The MTA has repeatedly missed every budget and schedule for this project. When it comes to completion of the East Side Access, the 1960s LIRR motto “Line of the Dashing Commuter” might have to be changed now to “Line of the Slow-Moving Sloth.” Larry Penner is a transportation historian and advocate who previously worked 31 years for U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration.
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