FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM MAY 14, 2020 • THE QUEENS COURIER 13
oped letters & comments
OUR NURSES DESERVE
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues,
we must give a large shoutout
to all of our nurses across the country
who, along with doctors, EMT workers
and other medical personnel, have
been on the front line of battling this
virus from the beginning.
Each and every day, they are risking
their lives to help save as many
patients as possible. Th ey off er comforting
words to all those patients who
are fi ghting for their lives and are also
there to comfort those who are dying
and cannot be saved.
We all are so very grateful for all of
these wonderful, dedicated professionals
who have been there from Day 1 of
this pandemic, and who will continue
to be there even as this crisis begins to
slowly, but surely ebb.
Th is writer wants to express his most
sincerest appreciation for our nurses,
doctors, EMTs and other medical personnel
across America. May God bless
each and every one of you as you continue
your dedication, care and compassion
for all who are ill and dying
due to this virus.
You are truly angels of mercy, all of
you! Stay strong, stay safe, stay healthy
and keep the faith, always and forever.
John Amato, Fresh Meadows
MTA SHOULD HAVE
Besides “City’s COVID-19 budget
crises puts $2.7 billion BQX
streetcar proposal in limbo” (Bill
Parry — May 7), there was never
a guarantee that the Federal Transit
Administration will pay for 50 percent
of the cost.
Dreams of Amazon doing the same
have come and gone, since they canceled
coming to Long Island City.
Th ere is no funding for this project in
the MTA $51 billion 2020 - 2024 Five-
Year Capital Plan. Th ere is no commitment
to use future Manhattan congestion
pricing toll revenues starting in
2021 to help fund this project.
It remains to be seen if this project
will be included within the pending
long range MTA 2020 - 2040
Capital Needs Assessment Plan document.
Th ere is no proposed funding to
advance this project in either the city
or state budgets.
No one knows if the next mayor will
support this project and make it a priority.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has yet to
request approval to enter the FTA New
Starts process for future funding.
Th e project is not included within
the February 2020 FTA New Starts
report for federal fi scal year 2021.
Don’t count on seeing it in the next
FTA New Starts report for federal
fi scal year 2022. Successful completion
of this process averages fi ve years
before there is an approved Federal
Full Funding Grant Agreement in
Mayor de Blasio’s plan to fi nance
this project by taking a percentage
of property taxes (value capture) on
new development was always robbing
Peter to pay Paul. Th is would reduce
the amount of money available for
police, fi re, sanitation and other essential
Both the NYC DOT and Economic
Development Corporation have no
experience in design, construction or
operations of street car systems. Mayor
de Blasio will have to ask the MTA to
serve as a project sponsor and system
Th e MTA, not wanting to use its own
funding, would have to enter the project
into the FTA New Starts program.
MTA, NYC DOT, Port Authority, NJ
Transit and Amtrak are all attempting
to qualify many other projects for the
same federal New Starts program.
Don’t count on riding the Brooklyn-
Queens Connector in your lifetime.
Instead, try running simple limited
stop bus service on the same route.
Th e ongoing MTA NYC Transit
Queens Bus Network Redesign Draft
Plan proposes creation of the new QT
1 bus route. It would cross the Pulaski
Bridge to connect Astoria, Long Island
City, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, the
Brooklyn Navy Yard and downtown
Th is might make for a low-cost easy
to implement improvement rather
than the $2.7 billion Brooklyn-
Queens Streetcar Connector.
Larry Penner, Great Neck
City must do more
to protect domestic
BY COREY JOHNSON
This pandemic has
been hard for all New
Yorkers, but for those facing
domestic violence, it
is even more dangerous.
Isolated with an abuser
and far from support networks,
to get help may be limited,
and even a simple phone
call can be perilous.
Th e stories of our fellow
New Yorkers are heartbreaking.
One woman struggled
to get an order of protection
online, only to be told by the police they
couldn’t enforce it without a hard copy. Another
woman and her children were thrown out of their
home, and it took two calls to 911 to receive help.
Advocates shared these and other tragedies with
the City Council during a May 1 oversight hearing
on the impact of COVID-19 on domestic violence.
What became clear is that we must have a
comprehensive plan in place to reach these vulnerable
Sadly, the city’s messaging on domestic violence
has fallen short. At our hearing, providers testifi ed
about the need for robust and culturally appropriate
messaging that identifi es resources available
for survivors. To begin to address this messaging
gap, last week, the City Council launched
the #BeingSafeCANTWait campaign to let survivors
and bystanders know how to recognize signs
of DV, and that help is available.
Th e city must build on this work and get the
word out about support services for DV survivors
during the pandemic. Th e Mayor’s Offi ce to
End Domestic and Gender Based Violence should
implement a public service campaign amplifying
DV messaging, resources, and text and chat platforms.
And they should create palm cards with
information about DV supports to be distributed
at sites across the city, such as food pantries, grocery
stores and pharmacies, where essential services
are already being provided. Getting the word
out means reaching people where they are during
Th e city should also work to increase DV survivors’
access to the internet and to personal communication
devices, particularly in shelters. And
the city should provide guidance regarding how to
protect their personal devices from abusers who
use technology to track and stalk survivors.
Finally, the city must develop a thoughtful plan
that anticipates the surge in DV reports — and
demand for services — that will likely follow the
lift ing of the state’s PAUSE restrictions. Some
countries saw a 30 percent spike in DV reports
aft er COVID-19 restrictions were relaxed. We
should prepare for the same trend.
Corey Johnson is Speaker of the New York
City Council, Helen Rosenthal is the Chair of
the Council Committee on Women and Gender
FLOWERS BLOOM IN FRONT OF FLUSHING HOSPITAL MEDICAL CENTER
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