Tag Archives: Hail

Thunderstorms, hail to hit Queens; flood warning issued


| brennison@queenscourier.com


Rain has already begun falling in Queens and strong winds and quarter-sized hail may follow.

The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the borough warning of heavy rain, hail, lightning strikes and gusts of winds up to 60 mph.

Up to two inches of rain per hour is expected.

The NWS issued a flash flood warning lasting until 3:15 p.m.  Highways, underpasses, streets and low-lying areas are at risk of flooding.

 

 

 

Thunderstorm watch issued for Queens; large hail, damaging winds possible


| brennison@queenscourier.com


A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued by the National Weather Service (NWS).

Queens has experienced high temperatures and humidity throughout the past few days. An approaching cold front will trigger the storms, the NWS said.

Residents should be aware if they will be outdoors tonight — heavy rains and lightning are expected. Damaging winds and large hail is also possible for the borough.

 

 

Bill would expand taxis to outer boroughs


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com


The New York City Assembly recently “hailed” legislation that may prove “golden” for livery cabs.

The bill — passed on January 23 and carried by Assemblymember Carl Heastie from the Bronx — will allow the city to issue 18,000 hail accessible inter-borough licenses (HAIL), which permit livery cab drivers to pick up pedestrians. Twenty percent of the licenses will go to accessible vehicles, in order to offer more transportation options to citizens with disabilities. The legislation has already been agreed upon with Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state.

“For too long, persistent transportation problems within New York City have gone unanswered, leading to a nearly nonexistent taxi presence outside of Manhattan’s Central Business District and a troubling lack of vehicles for people with disabilities,” said Assemblymember Francisco Moya, who co-sponsored the bill. “This new plan will afford New Yorkers in underserved areas greater access to taxicab service in and around the city. This will also lead to more revenue for the city of New York, helping protect vital programs for seniors and hardworking families.”

Under the legislation, the city will issue the new licenses over the next three years. New York will also be authorized to issue as many as 450 new base permits, increasing the number of taxi dispatching services and generating $1.3 million in revenue.

In addition, the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) will issue 2,000 new taxicab licenses for vehicles that are accessible to people with disabilities. As part of the agreement, TLC will also be required to provide grants of up to $15,000 to retrofit HAIL vehicles to accommodate people with disabilities and establish a program to support the introduction of handicapped-accessible vehicles into the HAIL vehicle fleet.

Despite the vast support the bill reportedly received in the Assembly, Fernando Mateo, the founder and spokesperson for the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, is unsure if the increase in HAIL’s will have a positive effect.

“This is a bill that the governor has signed, and we expected some amendments to be made by the Assembly and Senate,” Mateo said. “We are no longer going to oppose what has been done. Instead we will assist those drivers who want to participate in the program. We believe the program has a lot of pluses and minuses. In the last 80 years, there have been only 13,400 yellow medallions issued, so it is questionable in my mind whether they can sell even near the 18,000 licenses they will issue. The math doesn’t add up, and it doesn’t make much sense. But let’s see what will happen.”

Hail, yea! Pols reach deal to bring street hails to outer boroughs


| brennison@queenscourier.com


After months of negotiations and gridlock, the street hail bill finally received the green light.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday, December 20 an agreement had been reached to bring street hails to all five boroughs. The deal came just one day before the Wednesday, December 21 deadline.

The plan allows livery cabs to pick up street hails in upper Manhattan and the outer boroughs, while also authorizing the city to sell 2,000 new medallions. The medallions will raise close to $1 billion in revenue for the city, the mayor said. The Taxi & Limousine Commission will issue up to 18,000 new street hail licenses.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the driving force behind liveries receiving street hail rights, announced his intention to bring taxi service to residents outside Manhattan last January.

“It is a huge victory for all New Yorkers who have ever sought to hail a cab outside of Manhattan and in northern Manhattan,” the mayor said.

The bill, which passed the legislature in June, stalled over Cuomo’s concerns on the number of wheelchair accessible cabs in the plan.

“The bill as originally passed failed to address the needs of individuals with disabilities and did not provide any incentive for the livery industry to ensure disabled New Yorkers had full access to the taxicab system,” the governor said.

Negotiations held Tuesday assured Cuomo the number of wheelchair accessible vehicles would significantly increase.  Medallions will only be issued to accessible cars and at least 20 percent of liveries that receive street hail licenses must be fitted for wheelchairs.

“I think it’s fair to say the long quest for five borough taxi service will soon be a reality, and it will positively impact our city’s quality of life for decades to come,” the mayor said.

Severe storm warning issued for Queens; Quarter-sized hail expected


| jlane@queenscourier.com

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The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Queens this afternoon. The NWS reported that the storm may produce quarter sized hail and winds in excess of 60 mph.

Heavy lightning is also expected with the storm. The potentially dangerous conditions have led the NWS to advise residents to stay indoors until the storm passes.

Heavy rain – one and a half inches per hour – may accompany the storm causing possible coastal flooding.

It’s cabbie VS cabbie on hail bill


| brennison@queenscourier.com

yellow cab

Opposing factions of cab drivers are trying to make their case before the new street hail legislation reaches Governor Andrew Cuomo’s desk.

The city plans on issuing 30,000 new street hail permits that will allow liveries to pick up passengers in upper Manhattan and the outer boroughs if the measure passes.

Members of the Livery Base Owners recently gathered on the steps of City Hall to announce the collection of 10,000 signatures urging the governor to sign the bill. Both the State Assembly and Senate have passed the legislation.

“Today’s announcement of the first 10,000 signatures collected by livery drivers and base owners stressed the importance of this historic legislation to their livelihoods and to our communities,” stated Pedro Heredia, president of Livery Base Owners, Inc.

Heredia said he hoped to reach 100,000 signatures.

“Every day we speak with our passengers about this new law that will allow us to legally do what we have been doing for over 40 years,” said Fernando Garcia, New York Association of Independent Taxi Drivers president. He called on passengers to show their support by calling the governor to encourage him to sign the bill.

While one side requests the governor to sign the bill, representatives from five taxi and livery organizations are trying to prevent the bill’s passage.

The groups, which encompass 70 percent of livery drivers and 95 percent of yellow taxis, said the bill would put many drivers out of business.

Medallions can cost upwards of $600,000 on the open market. Under the new plan the city would sell an additional 1,500 medallions.

“The permits Mayor Bloomberg is proposing would deprive working-class, mostly immigrant, drivers of the opportunity to own an asset with re-sale value,” said David Pollack, president of the Committee for Taxi Safety. “And without that valuable asset at stake, combined with a glutted market driving down drivers’ earnings, it’s easy to see how quality service standards would spiral.”

Pollack said the medallions could lose up to 25 percent of their value if the plan passes.

“We’re counting on Governor Cuomo to step in and make sure justice is done,” said taxi driver Virginia Cedeno.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said that medallion owners’ investment would be protected, since yellow cabs will still have the exclusive rights in central Manhattan and the airports, which account for 97.5 percent of hails.