Tag Archives: Congressmember Carolyn Maloney

Pols call for redesign of Queensboro Bridge exit ramp after deadly accident


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Senator Michael Gianaris' Office

After an off-duty NYPD officer was killed when her car smashed into an exit ramp off the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, local elected officials are calling for the Department of Transportation (DOT) to put an end to deadly accidents.

Elisa Toro, 36, a 10-year NYPD veteran who was assigned to Manhattan’s 17th Precinct, was heading off the bridge’s exit ramp around 1:50 a.m. on Tuesday when she struck a guardrail, then a cement barrier, said police. The car then flipped onto its passenger side, hitting a vacant storefront on Queens Plaza South at Crescent Street.

Toro, a Bronx resident, was pronounced dead at the scene. No one else was injured in the accident, said police. The investigation is ongoing.

Following a series of accidents at the same site in 2011, State Senator Michael Gianaris, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, Congressmember Carolyn Maloney and Assemblymember Catherine Nolan sent a letter to the DOT demanding the agency redesign the ramp and continue to improve temporary safety measures. These procedures would include higher barriers and other measures that could help lessen the danger for pedestrians and storefront, until the exit ramp is redesigned.

“No one else should have to die before the city realizes that this exit ramp is fundamentally unsafe,” said Gianaris. “We stood here two years ago asking for a complete redesign of the off ramp, and instead we got new signs and a couple barriers. The time for half measures is gone. We need a safer exit ramp before another tragedy occurs.”

Gianaris asked the DOT to improve traffic safety in the area and redesign the bridge’s exit ramp, after a series of accidents in 2011. But a redesign of the exit ramp was “ignored” and only “additional signage and minimal barriers” were added, according to Gianaris. The barrier, which was destroyed in a 2011 crash, was never replaced, he said, and could have protected the storefront in Tuesday’s accident.

“The east bound off ramp of the Queensboro Bridge is clearly a death trap,” said Van Bramer. “Cars are still flying off this bridge, into store fronts, and putting the lives of pedestrians and motorists in jeopardy. It is clear that the Department of Transportation has not done enough.”

 

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Queensbridge Park Seawall restoration breaks ground


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the NYC Parks Department

Local officials, community groups and residents gathered to break ground on the restoration and improvement of the Queensbridge Park Seawall last week.

Along with reconstructing the seawall, the $6.65 million project will include a six-foot wide waterfront promenade with benches and plants as well as a small pier at the north end.

“The much-anticipated repair of the Queensbridge Park Seawall will provide additional storm protection for the Long Island City community, while also improving their access to the waterfront,” Parks Commissioner Veronica M. White said during the Friday, May 10 event.

The seawall protected Queensbridge Park in Long Island City from high tides and covered some of the mechanisms and underwater cables that keep a number of subway lines in order. It is currently blocked off by a chain-linked fence due to deterioration.

“For too long, the only view of this waterfront has been through a chain-linked fence,” said Congressmember Carolyn Maloney. “Queensbridge Park will now be a gateway to the waterfront instead of a dead end.”

Restoring the seawall will serve recreational purposes for residents. It is also designed to guard against natural disasters such as Sandy.

The project, managed by the NYC Economic Development Corporation, will reconstruct the seawall using large rocks. They will protect the shoreline by absorbing and deflecting waves while lessening the effect of erosion, the Parks Department said.

The restoration and improvement is funded through allocations from Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Borough President Helen Marshall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the MTA.

“The project will make this area safer, greener and more attractive while providing more protection from storm damage in the event of another hard-hitting superstorm like Sandy,” Marshall said during the event.

“Today we celebrate the beginning of the project as we look forward to its completion.”

 

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Local immigration office opens in Long Island City


| smosco@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Congressmember Carolyn Maloney

In an effort to increase accessibility and convenience for its customers, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officially opened to the public with help from elected officials, as well as immigration service representatives.

The new USCIS Queens center, located at 27-35 Jackson Avenue in Long Island City, will serve up to 500 customers from Queens and Brooklyn every day. The center will incorporate both a full service field office and an application support center – this will mean customers will not have to go to separate locations for fingerprinting and biometrics.

Congressmember Carolyn Maloney hailed the opening of this new location and said residents will now get the services they need in the comfort of their own neighborhood.

“With multiple lines of subway and bus access, this center is significantly more convenient for the residents of Queens and Brooklyn than the previous service center in Garden City, Long Island,” said Maloney. “By using innovative, high-tech tools, this new immigration office will be able to serve up to five hundred customers per day. I commend Director Alejandro Mayorkas and District Director Andrea Quarantillo for their leadership, and I salute all the employees of USCIS for their hard work and dedication to the ideals of this nation. Queens has long been the melting pot not only of New York, but of America – and in opening this new office, USCIS is paying tribute to this great tradition and making life a little easier for thousands of Queens residents and their loved ones.”

Joining Maloney at the grand opening were Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, Assemblymembers Cathy Nolan and Grace Meng, Councilmembers Jimmy Van Bramer, Daniel Dromm and Julissa Ferreras, as well as Commissioner Fatima Shama of the mayor’s office of Immigrant Affairs.

The new high-tech service center in Queens is part of a national USCIS effort to increase accessibility and convenience for its customers. The new center will be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., except on federal holidays.

Roosevelt Island may go high-tech


| rcasiano@queenscourier.com

Queens elected officials voiced their support for the city’s plans to bring a new hi-tech science campus to nearby Roosevelt Island.

Congressmember Carolyn Maloney spoke in Long Island City with community leaders in support of the city site as the best place to house the new campuses for Cornell or Stanford University – two schools the city is considering giving $100 million in aid to, as well as free land, in an effort to lure them.

“An applied sciences and engineering facility on Roosevelt Island offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spur western Queens’ transformation into a world-class hub of technology and entrepreneurship and to generate significant long-term job growth for the borough,” said Maloney at the press conference on October 17.

The school’s expansion to New York City is a part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s initiative to attract a major applied science and engineering university to the area to boost the local economy and bring much needed jobs and more hard sciences to the city. The subsidies will include $100 million for infrastructure and a free city-owned site for the proposed new facility of the university.

Roosevelt Island is the latest location being considered against Governor’s Island and the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Community leaders argued Queens would also be a boon to the new university campus, citing its location and diversity as essential assets.

“Queens has the transportation, land and community to support the growth of the university,” said Jukay Hsu, founder of the non-profit Coalition for Queens.

Final bids from the schools are due October 28.