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Queens Chronicle

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Posted: Thursday, September 8, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 3:43 pm, Thu Sep 8, 2011.

Frazzled Hills

Dear Editor:

The Long Island Rail Road is at it again. After more than a year of needless, quality-of-life-disrupting horn blasting at the Forest Hills railroad station, caused by the LIRR misinterpreting a federal rule on horn sounding, the railroad has now come up with a new way to hassle Forest Hills residents. Specifically, the ear-piercing door chimes and train announcements that are made when LIRR trains stop at the Forest Hills station. This industrial noise pollution can be heard more than three blocks from its source.

At an MTA conference that I attended last year, a representative from the railroad said the door chimes and train announcements were needed to assist deaf people. Deaf?Do you mean those who would hear nothing, no matter how loud the bells? Really! When I responded to him that deaf people cannot perceive sound he answered back that the chimes and announcements were made to help blind people. You have to yell at blind people to get them to hear you? He also said that the railroad was concerned about “the drunks” riding the trains — that the new blaster bells would “help keep the drunks safer.”

In the 20-plus years that I have been traveling on the LIRR, I have never witnessed even commuters with hearing aids having difficulty in figuring out that the train doors open and close when a train comes into a station.In addition, the conductor is still required to stick his or her head out the window to make sure all is well before closing the doors and moving the train onward. And, hard as I try, I can’t imagine that the strident door chimes are keeping inebriated travelers safer.

The Forest Hills LIRR train station is surrounded by apartment buildings that house thousands of families who are being pointlessly stressed and harassed by the raucous door chimes and announcements put into place by the LIRR. These people don’t want to hear the dinging and binging from chimes and announcements that go on at all hours of the night and day. Would anyone want to hear that? Why can’t the LIRR just be a good neighbor, like it was before starting the wrongheaded policy of horn blasting in 2007, turn off the door chimes and train announcements, and allow the residents of Forest Hills quiet enjoyment of their domiciles?

Martin H. Levinson

Forest Hills

Treed off I

Dear Editor:

Hurricane Irene has proven that New York City has underestimated the destruction caused by unmaintained trees in our city. A large part of the damage to our homes, streets and power lines was due to city trees that have not been pruned, removed or maintained for many, many years due to lack of funds allocated for this purpose.

Yet the mayor’s goal has been to plant 1 million new trees in the city, without considering the state of old, diseased existing trees which should be removed.The priority should be maintenance, not planting new trees.

In front of my home in Elmhurst are two 100-year-old diseased trees 150 feet high.Because of roots, my basement has been flooded 16 times in four years. My water main from home to street had to be replaced, costing $4,000, and my heating unit also had to be replaced due to water damage. Two branches fell on my car last year, doing $1,500 damage, and one branch banged on my roof, making a hole and causing the attic ceiling to fall.

I have reported these trees to the parks commissioner more than 40 times over a period of 15 years with zero satisfaction. I also reported this condition to Comptroller John Liu, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and the mayor, without any response or solution.

After the hurricane, on Monday Aug. 26, I called 311 regarding tree damage. The operator advised me that Department of Parks was not taking any 311 reports. The primary agency for this storm with all the damage and power outages was not taking 311 calls. I instead called Mayor Bloomberg’s office to describe the tree damage.The Department of Parks again played ostrich to the damage caused by old and defective trees, and opted not to take 311 calls.

The mayor has to recognize that the tree problem is at a dangerous level in Queens. There are hundreds of trees that need pruning or removal. During storms they fall, destroying homes and cars — and are deadly when they fall on people.

Our priority should be to save lives, homes and prevent power failures. A concerted effort must be made to care for existing trees instead of concentrating on planting 1 million new ones. The Department of Parks budget must be realistic for it to do the job and prevent future damage similar to that caused by Irene.

Nick Pennachio

Member of Community Board 4


Treed off II

Dear Editor:

Re “Irene fells trees across borough” by Paula Neudorf (Sept. 1, multiple editions):

∆ayor Bloomberg had the MillionTreesNYCinitiative to plant trees throughout the city.Unless there are underground power lines, this is just sowing the seeds of destruction for future generations.

Wendy Penner

Great Neck, LI

‘About being brave’

Dear Editor:

They just ran in, oh so brave

So many lives they tried to save

Didn’t stop to think twice

Weren’t concerned with the price

Hoping for all to survive

Wishing for all to come out alive

Had no idea rushing in

That they’d be victims of Osama bin

September 11th, a vicious day

Now we look to see who’ll pay

We say our prayers, yet we fight

To fix the wrong, make it right

So many innocents lost their lives

Leaving behind children, husbands and wives

We pray for peace the whole world wide

And know we’re on the winning side

James Paolino


Maspeth, divided

Dear Editor:

I was shocked today to find out that Grover Cleveland Park is represented by state Sen. Mike Gianaris from Astoria.How did this happen?Most of the people who use this park are from Sen. Addabbo’s district.

If you live in Astoria you are going to make sure its parks are taken care of first before a park in Ridgewood which none of your constituents use. Now I know why this park does not have the same events that other parks in the city do.The representative in the state Senate couldn’t care less about it.

We really need to redistrict this whole area.Get rid of representatives who don’t even live in this area or have constituents in this area.The districts do not make sense.

I live in Maspeth, which is represented by three different congressional districts. Why is that? No wonder nothing gets done here — because you have so many hands in the pot.

We need to have each neighborhood represented by the same elected officials as their neighbors.The way we have it now my elementary school, just one block away, is in a different congressional district. My neighborhood park five blocks away has a different state senator than the people who mostly use it.

Until something is done about redistricting nothing is going to change around here.

Charlene L. Stubbs


Cross-county commute

Dear Editor:

I’ve been reading a lot about the newNassau County bus plan,and I find it quite troublesome. It’s going to affect not only those in Nassau but also those of us who commute into Nassau for employment. Many traveling into the county from Queens and beyond are medical personnel going to area hospitals.

On Jan. 1 Nassau is set to turn over Long Island Bus to a company called Veolia Transdev in Lombard, Ill. LI Bus, which serves 100,000 daily riders, is owned bythe county but has been operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for the last 40 years. Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano pulled out of the deal with the MTA and has decided to turn it over to a private concern.

An agreement was reached not to cut service or raise fares for one year. Well, isn’t that nice. I travel on the Q46 from Glen Oaks Villageand transfer to the Nassau N25 to Great Neck. I pay $29 a week on a weeklyunlimited MetroCard. But in January I will not be able to transfer because the Nassau bus will be a private concern and will not accept MetroCards. I will be forced to purchase a weekly card at about another$29 from this bus company. This brings the cost to $58 a week — a 100 percent increase in fares to allus commuters from Queens. Now the real kicker is that will change and the LI bus fare will be raised in one year most likelyand who knows how much. Queens commuters will be hit very hard.

Now also look at it another way: those of us that commute from Queens contribute to the local economy in Nassau as we buy food, clothing and other things. I think this privatization is just a bad deal. I hope Mangano and Lombard come up with a card that accepts transfers from the city system. If they don’t, I’m calling for a boycott from Queens commuters — to not buy any goodsor sevices in Nassau until a fare deal is agreed upon. We the bus-riding commuters from Queensare very tired of been ripped off and we won’t stand it anymore.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.

Glen Oaks

Welcome to the discussion.