member photo
Assemblymember
Richard N. Gottfried
October 2011
Assembly District 75
NYS Assembly Seal
Community Update

Senior Needs Survey in CD4 Area

A "Senior Needs Survey" will launched on Oct. 15th by the Actors Fund in partnership with the Visiting Nurse Association of NY and your local elected officials to gauge how the needs of the community have changed to support long-term residents.

The survey will be available Oct. 15 through Dec. 31. It is anonymous and is intended for residents over 60 years old in zip codes 10001, 10011, 10018, 10019, and 10036.

The more people who take the survey, the more accurate it will be. Information culled from this survey will be used to help to better prepare our neighborhood.

The survey can be taken online or in person given by a member of the survey team. Visit http://www.SeniorsCommunitySurvey.org or call 212-221-7301, ext. 277. If you have further questions, please contact Jeffrey LeFrancois in my community office at 212-807-7900 or LeFrancoisJ@assembly.state.ny.us.

"Fracking" Update

Natural gas drilling companies are eager to begin horizontal hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") operations in many upstate New York areas, including areas that provide the drinking water for New York City. Fracking consists of injecting huge amounts of high-pressured water with highly toxic chemicals far underground in order to break up rock and release natural gas. These toxic fluids may migrate for miles underground and can pollute the environment, especially our water supply.

I believe that if this type of drilling cannot be conducted safely, it should not be done at all. If the state is now going to consider permit applications, they should be rejected.

The State Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the agency that regulates fracking in NY, has extended the public comment period for the draft environmental impact statement until Dec. 12, 2011. Written comments can be submitted online at http://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/76838.html; or by mail: dSGEIS Comments, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-6510.

DEC will also be hosting four public hearings, one of which is in Manhattan on Wed., Nov. 30 at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 199 Chambers Street. There will be an afternoon and evening hearing. The doors will open 30 minutes early for each hearing, and people can sign-up to speak.

34th Street "Select Bus" Service

Thirty-Fourth Street is a crucial cross-town artery that is important to residents, commuters, and tourists; it is also Midtown's most congested through street. The street's two bus routes, the M16 and M34, crawl at an average speed of 4.5 miles per hour. And, while NYC Dept. of Transportation has implemented dedicated bus lanes, this has only increased the speed by an average 11%. With all the new development on the West Side, something must be done to relieve this clogged thoroughfare that supports - not conflicts - with the needs of people who live and work along 34th Street

Last year, DOT put out several proposals and engaged the community through surveys, town halls, and a Community Advisory Committee. As a result, the plan for 34th Street has been significantly altered. Some of the features include: off-set bus lanes, allowing for loading and unloading zones at the curbside; off-board fare payment; and transit signal priority, giving buses an extended green light at certain intersections to reduce travel time. The new plan has 18,000 square feet of additional sidewalk space that will be created through "bulb outs," where the sidewalk and curb will be extended to "meet" the bus and will also house the bus shelter, off-board fare collection machines, and signage.

The M16 will be renamed the M34A, but the service will remain the same. Construction of the off-board fare machines will begin in mid-October and continue through November.

"Select Bus Service" has been very successful on First and Second Avenues. While the plan for this service on 34th Street has improved, the community still has concerns: the entrance to Dyer Avenue has long created a serious traffic problem for residents of the West Side along 34th Street. Community Board 4 and the Port Authority have expressed the need to remove the north turn lane off 34th onto Dyer Avenue to mitigate this problem. DOT should consider this option and explore it in its Environmental Assessment.

Go to: http://www.nyc.gov/html/brt/html/next/34th_transit.shtml#design to view the proposal. The DOT is holding two town halls for those who wish to view the project in person and make comments: Thurs., Oct. 6, at Norman Thomas High School, 111 East 33rd St, from 6pm to 8pm; and Tues., Oct. 11, at the New Yorker Hotel, 481 Eighth Ave (at 34th St.), 6pm. If you have questions about this proposal or would like to let me know what you think about it, please contact Jeffrey LeFrancois in my community office at 212-807-7900 or GottfriedR@assembly.state.ny.us.

North Shore-LIJ Comprehensive Care Center

On Sept., 22, I joined with other local elected officials to present testimony before the New York State Department of Health Public Health and Health Planning Council regarding North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System's ("NS-LIJ") Certificate of Need Application ("CON") for its proposed Lenox Hill Hospital Center for Comprehensive Care (The Center) to be located at the former hospital's O'Toole Pavilion at 30 Seventh Avenue in Manhattan.

The Center is neither a replacement nor a substitute for St. Vincent's and we will continue to advocate for a full-service hospital. The conversion of the O'Toole Pavilion into a comprehensive community health center with a free-standing emergency department will provide significant health care services to the Lower West Side and could serve as a front door to health care, something the community has lacked since St. Vincent's Hospital closed. Yet we also have a number of concerns, detailed in the attached testimony, including Fire Dept. Emergency Medical Service protocols for delivering patients to the proposed health center and for transferring them to full-service hospitals.

Office Addresses:

District Address:
242 West 27th Street
New York, NY 10001
212-807-7900
Fax: 212-243-2035
Albany Address:
LOB 822
Albany, NY 12248
518-455-4941
Fax: 518-455-5939