TIMES, THURSDAY, JULY 3, 2014 • 26 Residents Are Damn Mad Over Ridgewood Reservoir ‘Dam’ Decommissioning Letters To The Editor addressed is failure to observe walk/don’t walk signs. When pedestrians cross intersections against the light, they run the risk of being hit. In addition, they force traffic to stop and wait for them. If the cars are coming across the intersection, this creates gridlock and forces traffic going across the other direction to stop. Driving in Manhattan is a nerve racking experience, largely due to these problems. Drivers would be much calmer behind the wheel if they did not have to deal with these nuisances. A lot of people speed and drive erratic/aggressive because they are frustrated and trying to make up for lost time. If our mayor is serious about reducing pedestrian and bicycle injuries, he has to acknowledge the fact that in many instances it is their own fault. The city has to both educate them and begin issuing tickets to them. Lee Rottenberg Middle Village The ‘No’ Movement In Rockaway Beach Dear Editor: Queens’ Rockaway Beach: the Land of No! No lifeguards, no swimming, no beaches, no boardwalk, no free bridges, no decent roadways, no quick transportation, no Rockaway Beach Line, no Playland, no Ferry, no business, no money, no jobs, no Peninsula Hospital, no trust in a bloated, corrupt, dishonest, incompetent over-regulated government. We do have a new speeding camera! We hope that the new mayor will clean up this government-made disaster. We love and hope for Rockaway. Please help us Mr. Mayor. Philip McManus Rockaway Park Letters from readers are invited and should be sent by regular mail to Times Newsweekly, P.O. Box 860299, Ridgewood, N.Y. 11386- 0299 or by e-mail to info@times newsweekly.com. All letters must be accompanied by the writer’s full name and address, which will be withheld upon request. Anonymous letters will not be considered for publication. All letters are subject to editing. The opinions expressed in each letter are not necessarily those of the Times Newsweekly or its staff. -CONTINUED FROM PG. 4- decided to decommission” the Ridgewood Reservoir “so it no longer has the capability of holding large amounts of water,” she stated. Ridgewood Reservoir is considered a high-hazard dam since it sits on a hill overlooking surrounding communities; when it was full of water, there was a risk of catastrophic floods to those neighborhoods if the structure failed in any way. Many in attendance criticized the Parks Department’s decommissioning plan, which involves installing two 4’-tall culverts on the northern end between the basins and a large, 11’-tall and 14’-wide culvert on the southern end of the westernmost basin adjacent to Vermont Place. To install the precast culverts and allow access for construction vehicles, Byrer stated, the Parks Department would install a road from the Vermont Place entrance crossing the western basin. Byrer stated the Parks Department would remove part of the road when the project is finished, but leave behind a gravel path to provide maintenance workers access. Invasive trees and other plant life would be removed from the western basin and replaced with trees suitable for the reservoir’s environment, she noted. Those advocating for the reservoir’s preservation, however, claimed the proposal would cause more damage than its worth—and questioned its necessity given the reservoir’s reforested state. “This is a complete disturbance of everything,” said Steve Fiedler, who co-chairs Community Board 5’s Parks Committee. “There are a number of ways to do this without disturbing” the western basin’s environment, which is believed to contain wetlands possibly eligible for DEC designation. Local resident Tom Dowd slammed the proposal as bureaucratic mismanagement, noting that the reservoir “no longer impounds water.” He claimed the project would “destroy” the natural ecology that evolved at the reservoir and disrupt a stopover on the “Atlantic Flyway,” a name for a migratory bird path through the Eastern Seaboard. “Think of the environment—the whole environment—and not just your silly breach,” he added. Alon Dominitz, chief of dam safety for the DEC’s Division of Water, charged the reservoir in its present form is still capable of retaining water. Others, however, questioned how that would be possible, as the reservoir is disconnected from the city’s water system. Dowd countered the city receives an average of 38” of rainfall per year, and it would not be enough to cause large amounts of water to be retained within the reservoir. Critics previously suggested it would take a rainfall of biblical proportions to refill the reservoir. “By your own definition, it’s not necessary,” Dowd said. “It’s already a non-hazardous dam.” When asked later about the presence of water in the center basin, Byrer indicated the water—which apparently did not drain due to an unpunctured clay lining within the basin—has held at a steady 5’-high level due to the natural water cycle. David Quintana questioned why the larger culvert is being placed along Vermont Place and not on the Jackie Robinson Parkway, the northern boundary of the basin. Byrer claimed the latter option would result in the closure of the reservoir’s perimeter paths, which recently reopened after extensive renovations. -CONTINUED FROM PG. 1- Chain Snatcher Cuffed In R’wood Attorney’s office, last Wednesday’s theft occurred at about 2:10 p.m. at the corner of Seneca Avenue and Menahan Street. Authorities stated a woman was pushing her baby in a stroller on the sidewalk when Rodriguez ran up to her, grabbed her necklace from her neck and fled on foot. Reportedly, the chain broke into two pieces as a result of the snatching. Law enforcement sources said an eyewitness to the incident followed Rodriguez to a nearby jewelry store. Officers from the 104th Precinct responded to the location after receiving a 911 call about the robbery and stopped Rodriguez. During questioning, prosecutors noted, officers found the broken necklace inside the suspect’s underwear. P.O. Louis Marinacci of the 104th Precinct booked Rodriguez on charges of third-degree robbery, criminal mischief and criminal possession of stolen property. Following an investigation, he was later booked by Det. Louis Lodato of the 104th Precinct Detective Squad for third-degree robbery and fourthdegree grand larceny in connection with the June 24 theft. According to court records, Rodriguez was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court last Thursday, June 26, before Judge Suzanne Melendez, who ordered him held on $5,000 bail. He is scheduled to return to court on July 10. -CONTINUED FROM PG. 1- This diagram outlines the Parks Department’s plan to install culverts in the Ridgewood Reservoir’s basin walls to decommission it as a state-recognized dam. Quintana dismissed her answer as “bogus.” Attendees also pressed the DEC for the status of an application submitted in 2010 to declare the Ridgewood Reservoir as a public wetland. The DEC’s Stephen Zahn claimed the agency had yet to address it due to a lack of staffing and more pressing matters related to environmental concerns following Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Zahn expressed hope the agency would tackle the application with an infusion of staff scheduled to be assigned to the department in the months ahead. Others were skeptical of the decommissioning plan and the Parks Department real intentions, citing the agency’s previous proposal to clear the western basin and build new athletic fields and other standard park amenities. Jonna Carmona-Graf, the Parks Department’s chief of program management for capital projects, insisted no development plans are on the table, as the Bloomberg administration pulled funding for the project due to the 2007-08 economic crisis. “At this point, there is no money or staff assigned for development” of the Ridgewood Reservoir, she stated. The Parks Department held hearings last year on three concepts for creating a natural park scheme at the Ridgewood Reservoir, but Carmona-Graf and Byrer noted the agency does not have available resources to advance those plans. The decommissioning plan must be approved by August, under state regulations, but Board 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri called for a waiver or indefinite extension of the deadline, given the concerns voiced at the meeting. Larson stated “there is a process and we will take that into consideration.” Follow Us On Twitter @timesnewsweekly The Times Newsweekly/Ridgewood Times Wishes All Of Our Readers A Happy And Safe Fourth Of July!
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