for breaking news visit www.queenscourier.com AUGUST 6, 2015 • The queens CourieR 37 oped A LOO K BACK letters Better transit needed, not airport overhaul Here in northeast Queens, airplane noise from LaGuardia Airport is overwhelming, from before 6 a.m. to well after midnight most days, with planes booming overhead every 1 to 3 minutes, one after another, after another. Don’t tell me I shouldn’t have bought a house near an airport — this was not a problem when I bought 18 years ago, and only started within the last few years. We do not need a modernized airport. We need to replace short-haul flights of less than 600 miles with high-speed rail. We do not need a modernized airport, we need subways and commuter railroads that work. Put our tax money where a huge majority of New Yorkers want it, Mr. Cuomo: subway and railroad maintenance and repair, and new subway and commuter railroad facilities and lines. Find a way to raise the multiple billions needed to do this by making Wall Street and the wealthy pay their fair share. Stop being a politician, and become a leader, if you’re capable of that. No money for LaGuardia Airport! David R. Yale, Bayside Thankful for Willets West defeat On July 6, 2015, the Appellate Division Court ruled that part of Flushing Meadows Corona Park may not be used for a mall complex known as Willets West. This has been a contentious issue for some time, because many people feel that parkland belongs to the public and should not be awarded out for private development projects. From my understanding, there were many negative impacts to this project including economic duress to surrounding small businesses, increased traffic congestion, and other quality-oflife problems. This ruling may still be appealed by the developers in favor of the project, but at least the court has essentially recognized that parkland belongs to the public. When one thinks of this situation, what would people have said if this attempted land grab was happening in Central Park or Prospect Park? Most people would be outraged and justifiably so. Flushing Meadows Corona Park deserves the same respect. Now let’s see the portion of the park that was going to be changed into a mall used for appropriate recreational and green space! This will create jobs and be beneficial to all of the residents of Queens and especially to the people living in the adjacent neighborhoods of Corona and West Flushing. Henry Euler, Bayside Awaiting the presidential sideshow As the Republicans gear up for the Fox televised Republican candidate debate next week, we still see Donald Trump ahead in the polls. It’s expected that he will bring his reality show loudmouth tactics to the debate, and many will tune in to see the fur fly. But does such stuff a president make? And would those Trump supporters today really vote for him to be the president of the United States and leader of the free world if he ever got the nomination? I doubt it. Trump’s mouth may make for good Jerry Springer afternoon TV entertainment that pits husbands and wives and friends and lovers against each other, only to be broken up by bulky stagehand security guards before the punches fly, but it is far removed from the qualities necessary for president of the United States. You can’t run the government that way. You can’t fire everybody you don’t like. The problem for the Republicans is their ideas are bankrupt. They say they want to “take America back.” Back to what? Back to when 14 million people didn’t have healthcare and used the emergency rooms costing us billions of dollars? Back to when the right to marry wasn’t a civil right? Back to when Wall Street could play roulette with our money and cause another housing and stock market crash? Back to when a woman didn’t have the right to choose? There is no way back, only forward. Their platform is bankrupt and nobody wants to go back. Tyler Cassell, Flushing Light rail line would A Look Back be a boon for Queens by CITY COUN CILWOMAN ELIZABETH CRO WLEY Queens is New York City’s fastestgrowing borough. We are experiencing not only the largest increase in population, but also growth in workforce and economic development. As a city, it is crucial we support this growth with an expansion of smart, sustainable transportation. Improved public transportation and interborough (Brooklyn- Queens) transit are greatly needed to ease the burdens this growth has brought. However, Queens is lacking this infrastructure, with not enough transit options and some of the most overcrowded streets. Commercial corridors such as Fresh Pond Road, Myrtle Avenue, Metropolitan Avenue and Grand Avenue are plagued with congestion, unreliable bus service and overcrowded subways. This congestion and overcrowding happens around the clock and is exasperated during rush hour. Through these transit-poor communities runs the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) Lower Montauk branch. This rail line runs east to west and is still maintained by the LIRR, but is used by the New York Atlantic Railway for private freight transport. This public right-of-way is an invaluable resource that must be tapped and used for our local commuters’ benefit. When it comes to public transportation, most New Yorkers would agree trains are the most efficient option. So, why not take advantage of this track, already open and available for use? I believe we could start to take advantage of this rail by implementing an efficient and accessible light rail service from Glendale and through other neighborhoods to Long Island City, and since bringing this proposal to the Ridgewood Times last month, it has been met with great local support. Light rail is exactly the smart, sustainable service that would accommodate Queens’ continuing growth. It is environmentally friendly and, in this particular location, could provide intraborough transit to Brooklyn and Manhattan while also facilitating the ever-growing industries in our local communities. A light rail car is the size of approximately three city buses, but travels without the common delays buses meet on crowded city streets. The average New York City Transit bus needs to be replaced every 13 years, while light rail cars last about 50 years. Additionally, when considering the size of a bus versus a light rail car, they are ultimately similar in price, thereby proving them to be more cost-efficient in the long run. Adding to the long list of light rail advantages, it is quieter and more energy-efficient than buses. Across the country, newly developed, vibrant communities have been forming around this type of affordable, sustainable transportation. This is happening in cities as far as Portland, Oregon, and Phoenix, Arizona, but also right across the East River in Hudson County, New Jersey. In New Jersey, the rail line has contributed to the revitalization of cities like Jersey City, Weehawken and Hoboken. Along the Lower Montauk line right-of-way are neighborhoods so close to the heart of New York City, yet so underserved in public transportation. These communities, rich with history and overflowing with hometown pride, are unlike any other place in the world. Train service could also significantly strengthen the local economy. So much of the area surrounding this once-vibrant right of way is filled with industrial buildings and storage facilities. But an environmentally sound light rail service could encourage different types of businesses to plant roots in our communities. It would also provide a quick connection to Long Island City, the East River Ferry and Roosevelt Island, which will soon be home to “The Bridge at Cornell Tech” graduate center. This project could be tackled with minimal cost. While most transit capital transit projects cost hundreds of millions of dollars, this plan will be a fraction of that. The most expensive piece — the right-of-way — already exists, as does the rail itself. In a borough and economy growing faster than city planners can prepare for, we must take advantage of every option we have to improve the economic opportunities and the overall quality of life. This project is ideal for our growing population. This 1944 picture shows the Grover Cleveland High School production of “The Merry Widow” operetta at the Ridgewood school’s auditorium. This production was directed by Dorothy Brown, then-head of the Music Department. Students Dorothy Roman, Arlene Stenchever and Dante Magnani are pictured on stage in elaborate costume. 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