Neighborhood Chatter: Hudson Sq. Rezoning, Garodnick Calls for Lower Rent, Bike Safety

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Garodnick Calls for Lower Rents in Stuy Town/PCV In reaction to stalled progress efforts for post-Sandy recovery, Council Member Daniel Garodnick is demanding further rent reductions for the inhabitants of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. In a statement issued last week, Garodnick said that he finds the lack of maintenance, combined with the lack of communication, needs to end. Garodnick addressed these issues, among several others, in a letter he wrote to CWCapital, the "special servicer" responsible for maintaining the property. He explains the patience he once had "has now reached its end, as thousands of residents have been without basic services for almost three months-with no explanation from CWCapital about the timeframe for their restoration, or any commitment to give further abatements for a diminution of necessary services." Such necessary services currently not working include intercoms, laundry machines and a complete elevator service. "Residents living in buildings with diminished service should be entitled to pay less rent," Garodnick said in the letter. No word on a response yet from CWCapital. South Village Reacts to Hudson Square Rezoning Last week, the City Planning Commission sent the application for the proposed Hudson Square rezoning to the City Council in hopes of getting a majority vote of approval for enactment. While some City Council members see the proposed rezoning as an opportunity to expand on residential development in Hudson Square, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation is hoping to use this opportunity to push for the historic designation of the South Village. In a letter written to Speaker Christine Quinn, the GVSHP, along with various community groups, asked her to reject the proposed rezoning unless the adjacent proposed South Village Historic District is designated a landmark by the city. "We hope that you will use your considerable leverage to get the City to act," the letter reads. "But if the City refuses to landmark the South Village, we urge you not to approve the Hudson Square rezoning, given the profound impact it would have in accelerating the destruction of this fragile, historic area." This would not be the first time landmark designation concessions have been implemented. This was the case with both the West Chelsea Historic District with the West Chelsea rezoning and the Prospect Heights Historic District with the Atlantic Yards rezoning. Deemed landmark-eligible four years ago by New York state, the South Village has been waiting ever since for designation. "The fate of the South Village is now in Speaker Quinn's hands," said executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation Andrew Berman. "She will determine if this beloved, endangered New York neighborhood receives the protections it needs, or if its ongoing destruction will be accelerated by an enormous rezoning on its doorstep." Bike Safety for All The Department of Transportation, SaferHood and have teamed up for a joint safety initiative designed to increase bicycle safety in the city. Most recently, DOT and joined forces to provide 1,500 commercial cyclists with free bike lights, bells, and retro-reflective vests. Delivery cyclists from all over the city can attend one of the multi-language commercial bicyclist forums to receive the safety equipment. These forums, which have been held from Brooklyn to the Upper East Side, are designed to educate, equip and answer questions about bicycle safety laws. Other bicycle safety efforts include NYPD enforcement and inspector visits to businesses that use delivery cyclists. These inspectors serve to both inform and oversee the legal regulations such businesses are required to follow. DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said of the new efforts, "Safety is everyone's business, so it's significant when the private sector steps up to the plate to make changes in the public interest." "In a city where food, groceries and wine can be at your doorstep in moments, we empower the neighborhood economy by equipping our merchant partners with the right tools for making safe and speedy deliveries," said Jed Kleckner, CEO of These efforts have already seen some positive results, fostering high hopes for the revised administrative procedures regarding bicycle safety that will be enforced this coming April. Compiled by Jessica Mastronardi

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