Downtown Neighborhood Chatter

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The Tribeca intersection of Duane and Greenwich streets has finally received a traffic light, first approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT) in October 2011. The light, which was officially welcomed to the neighborhood when Council Member Margaret Chin, State Sen. Daniel Squadron, Borough President Scott Stringer and CB1 Chair Julie Menin unveiled it on Feb. 22, signals relief for many advocates and members of the community.

Chin said, "I want to thank [the] DOT for recognizing and responding to the needs of a growing community. It is important to constantly evaluate and revise our traffic environment to make sure the safety regulations that are in place are adequate to protect pedestrians."

Chin's sentiments were echoed throughout the community. Nelle Fortenberry, a mother of two children and a past president of Friends of Washington Monument Park, reacted earlier this month to the construction of the light, saying, "We are thrilled for every preschooler on their way to the park, every elementary student en route to school, every elderly resident crossing to and from Independence Plaza and the thousands of neighborhood residents who have traversed Greenwich daily at their own risk. Safer days are ahead."

The intersection has been the scene of numerous accidents involving pedestrians. A recent victim was a 3-year-old boy, who was struck by a taxi while crossing the intersection with his mother last fall. The DOT subsequently agreed to install the light and a new crosswalk.

Prior to this, their stance had been that the Duane and Greenwich intersection did "not meet traffic flow standards for a traffic light." Now, pedestrians will receive 25 seconds to cross the street, is a welcome grace for Tribeca residents both young and old.



Just in the knick of time, New Yorkers are celebrating the agreement reached between Time Warner Cable and MSG Network. The well-publicized resolution, which ended a blackout that had forced Time Warner subscribers to forego MSG content-including the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers and the surging New York Knicks-was at center court this week as leading city officials continued to campaign for fair play.

State Sens. Daniel Squadron and Tony Avella have promised to take another important step in ensuring New Yorkers' longterm enjoyment of their favorite television programming with the introduction of a new bill into the state Senate Feb. 29.

Avella has spoken at length about the unfair negotiating tactics of service providers and networks, saying, "The people who get the most affected are the customers," whom the senator believes "need to know that their cable franchise will provide the proper programming." The bill proposes mandatory arbitration hearings by the Public Service Commission in disputes between major cable networks and service providers.


Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, joined by a diverse coalition of elected officials, community and religious leaders representing all parts of Manhattan, held a rally Feb. 26 hailing the Manhattan Borough Board's recent unanimous vote approving a resolution demanding reform of the NYPD's controversial stop and frisk policy. The borough president called for a citywide campaign against the program, which he said unfairly targets black and Latino men.

"Stop and frisk as currently practiced is not just an outrage in communities of color, it is a stain on the conscience of our entire city," said Stringer. "Today I am standing with a broad coalition of Manhattanites-members of all 12 Community Boards, people from east side and west side, downtown and uptown, and we are all speaking with one voice, demanding an immediate reform of stop and frisk in New York City."

The borough president pointed to statistics showing that the NYPD recorded nearly 700,000 stop and frisk encounters in 2011, a record and a 600 percent increase since 2002. Police failed to find a gun in 99.9 percent of these encounters and failed to make an arrest in 94 percent of these cases. Nearly 86 percent of the stops targeted black and Latino men.

"In large parts of the city, today's stop and frisk policies have made entire communities feel like suspects targeted by law enforcement instead of citizens protected by it, even if they have done nothing wrong," said State Sen. Daniel Squadron. "As it's practiced, stop and frisk has created a climate in which young black and Latino men and their families have a fundamentally different relationship with the NYPD than other New Yorkers."

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