Tag Archives: Cross Bay Bridge

Ferry runs aground in Jamaica Bay


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Updated 5:20 p.m.

A Seastreak ferry ran aground near the eastern end of Jamaica Bay Wednesday afternoon.

The 65-foot long boat was on a private excursion with 29 people aboard, including 25 local Rockaway residents and business owners, and a few crew members, when it became stranded around 12:30 p.m., according to officials and the ferry company.

There were no injuries and the passengers were unloaded from the vessel and taken to a wharf just west of the Cross Bay Bridge, near where the incident happened, the FDNY said.

The ferry was moving at about 2 knots (1 mile) per hour when it ran aground in the eastern area of the bay after the captain noticed shallow water and slowed down the boat, Seastreak said.

The vessel did not appear to suffer any damage, and remains stuck in the water until it can float freely during the next incoming tide.

“I am told the boat encountered an uncharted shoal.  We are sorry this happened and that our guests were inconvenienced.  Thankfully, no one was injured,” Seastreak Spokesman Tom Wynne said.

Seastreak said the accident’s cause is still being investigated.

 

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Queens legislators balk at plans to toll East River bridges


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A plan to reduce five Queens bridge fares by nearly half is not worth tolling free city crossings, some borough lawmakers say.

Under a proposal by transportation coalition, Move NY, drivers in the cash lane would have to pay $7.50 one way and $15 round trip to travel across the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg and Ed Koch Queensboro bridges. 

It would also cost the same amount to cross 60th Street in Manhattan, north and southbound.

As a trade-off, E-ZPass tolls on the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, Bronx-Whitestone, Throgs Neck, Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial and Cross Bay Veterans Memorial bridges would be lowered by 47 percent. Cash fares on those bridges would go down by 33 percent.

“We toll nearly every single crossing between every borough in the five boroughs of New York City already, yet we’re giving over half a million folks a free ride,” said Move NY Director Alex Matthiessen. “It’s not fair to transit riders and certainly not fair to other drivers, who are paying through the nose in tolls.”

The electronic tolling plan, which would require no booths, would raise $1.5 billion in net revenue toward improving the state’s mass transit infrastructure, create 35,000 new jobs and restore bus service cut in 2010, Matthiessen said.

Motorists paying cash would be billed by mail, easing gridlock by dispersing traffic throughout the city, according to Matthiessen and Kendra Hems, president of the New York State Motor Truck Association.

But some Queens legislators balked at the idea.

“I am skeptical about tolling the free bridges because once the free bridges are tolled and the infrastructure is in place, we all know from experience that it would be very hard to reverse that,” said Assemblymember David Weprin.

The plan also failed to get support from Councilmember Eric Ulrich and State Senator Joseph Addabbo, who have been fighting to eliminate the $3.75 cash toll residents have to pay on the Cross Bay Bridge to enter the Rockaways.

“Imposing tolls on motorists on bridges that are currently free is not the right way to go,” Ulrich said. “The two are not mutually exclusive. It’s not ‘take this or that.’”

While the Cross Bay Bridge toll has been a “major thorn” in the community’s side, Addabbo said the swap is not enough.

“At this point, cutting it in half would ease the pain by half,” he said. “It would still be half the pain.”

It also costs residents on the peninsula the same amount to get into Brooklyn on the Gil Hodges.

State Senator Tony Avella said the rates, while discounted in the first year, would only increase annually. He plans to introduce a bill that would prohibit tolls on East River bridges.

“The two things for sure in this world are death and taxes,” he said.

Move NY is led by Sam Schwartz, a former city traffic commissioner. The ambitious tolling plan is in its drafting stage, officials said, and still requires public input.

“In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have tolls at all,” Hems said. “But, unfortunately, we do and we have this inequity right now.”

THE COURIER/File photo by Walter Karling

 

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Cross Bay Bridge rebate reinstated, but not right away


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Cross Bay Bridgew

Rockaway residents relishing in the relief of a reinstated, ratified rebate program are now holding their breath.

The Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge Residency Rebate Program recently passed the state budget, said Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder, meaning Rockaway and Broad Channel residents will now be reimbursed for their travels across the bridge.

With an E-Z Pass, they currently pay $1.19 each time they drive along the Cross Bay Bridge for up to two trips a day. While additional crossings are free afterward, local elected officials and residents have long deemed the toll a problem.

Goldfeder said the toll forced Broad Channel and Rockaway residents to reach into their pockets just to go to and from work, patronize local businesses, bring their children to and from school and take care of daily errands.

The toll — the only intra-borough one in the city — was free for residents of Broad Channel and the Rockaways for 12 years, but was reinstated by the MTA in 2010.

The rebate, local leaders said, would stimulate more activity and revenue between Rockaway and Broad Channel businesses, while saving residents between $800 and $1,500 a year.

“I made a pledge before taking office that I would work to eliminate the Cross Bay Bridge Toll,” Goldfeder said. “Today, I have made good on that pledge and have secured a huge victory for the hardworking families and businesses of the Rockaways and Broad Channel. The return of this important rebate program is a step in the right direction towards the complete elimination of this inherently unfair tax. This toll has been a burden for the residents and businesses of our community for far too long.”

Under the provisions of the bill, the discount program was expected to go into immediate effect once the budget was signed at the end of March. However, according to the MTA, residents may not see benefits until July 1 at the latest.

“It’s fully funded. The MTA, as of April 1, has the money necessary to give local residents a rebate for the toll,” Goldfeder said. “I’m urging them, and I have been urging them, to implement it as soon as possible at no cost to them. It’s in the state budget.”

An MTA spokesperson said the money first has to be transferred from the state to the MTA before it goes from the MTA to Bridges and Tunnels. In the meantime, the representative said, all E-Z Pass tags have to be reprogrammed, which may take a couple of months in total.

“As far as we’re concerned, all they have to do is electronically press a button. They’re playing games. The money is there. Do what you’re supposed to do. Don’t make us wait any longer,” said Democratic Assembly District Leader Lew Simon.

Simon said residents of the peninsula are prepared to “march across the Cross Bay Bridge in thousands” in order to send a “clear message” to the MTA.

“We’re not going to take it,” he said. “The money is in the budget, the budget should start right away — not by July 1.”

Gov’s budget may slash Cross Bay Bridge toll


| mchan@queenscourier.com


The burden of paying the Cross Bay Bridge toll may soon be relieved for residents of Rockaway and Broad Channel.

A proposed toll discount program — under Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget proposal — calls on the state and MTA to reimburse residents for E-Z Pass fees, $1.19 each way, paid for while traveling over the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge.

Local elected officials and residents who pay the toll several times a day have long deemed the fare a problem, according to Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder.

Goldfeder — who has been a staunch advocate for a complete toll elimination — said the toll negatively affects an already sluggish local economy and places an inherently excessive financial burden on the residents and small businesses of southern Queens and Rockaway.

“We have been advocating relentlessly to end the toll on the Cross Bay Bridge,” said Goldfeder. “From the many civic and community leaders who rallied, to the thousands of community members who signed our petition, we are one step closer to successfully eliminating this toll completely and lifting a significant financial burden off the shoulders of many hardworking families and businesses in Rockaway and Broad Channel.”

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 11/15/2011: Tibetans in Queens mourn recent spate of self-immolations


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Mayor Bloomberg Announces City Will Have Record Number of Hotel Rooms

Overlooking Manhattan, on the Queens side of the East River, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the city will reach a record 90,000 hotel rooms by year’s end – a clear message that people still love New York. The mayor made the announcement on the rooftop of the newly opened Z NYC Hotel in Long Island City, where he was joined by State Senator Michael Gianaris, NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta and Z NYC owner Henry Zilberman. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Assemblyman Goldfeder Launches Petition To Make Cross Bay Bridge Free

A Queens official is renewing efforts to make the Cross Bay Bridge free of charge. State Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder has launched an online petition for residents of the Rockaways and Broad Channel to sign. He’s urging the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Governor Andrew Cuomo to put an end to the toll on the only intraborough bridge in the city. Read More: NY1

 

Tibetans in Queens mourn recent spate of self-immolations in their homeland 

About 50 Tibetans packed a small basement on 73rd St. in Jackson Heights on a recent Monday and set up a makeshift altar. A portrait of the Dalai Lama and Snow Lion flag of Tibet flanked an image of Buddha. Then the mantra of the Sangcho Monlam, a prayer for the dead, filled the room, normally a Burmese center. They were mourning two Tibetans — a nun and a monk — who set themselves ablaze to protest China’s rule. Read More: Daily News

 

Workers put finishing touches on first Fairway Market ready to debut in Queens

Hundreds of workers are putting the finishing touches on the borough’s first Fairway Market set to open on Wednesday. The Daily News got a sneak peek at the new Douglaston store — the largest in New York City — with owner Howie Glickberg as he personally inspected all the aisles on Monday. Read More: Daily News

 

PS 69 and IS 145 in congested Jackson Heights set to open playgrounds for public use 

A congested community in western Queens that fought long and hard for more parks is about to get a little more open space. The city is transforming two Jackson Heights schoolyards into student-designed playgrounds that will be open to the public after school and on weekends. Community leaders were also optimistic that the city will soon hammer out a deal to buy land from a nearby private school to expand Travers Park. Read More: Daily News