New rules to get things done

E-bikes confiscated by police. Photo: NYPD, via Twitter
By Bette Dewing

We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore!

Ha! Maybe if the East 79th Street Neighborhood Association meeting notice put it that way (Of course, with ”heck” instead of “hell.”) attendance would really spike at this week’s meeting. The city majority is indeed stressed by two major problems on the agenda. One is traffic law-breaking and the e-bike invasion, as well as regular cyclists’ habitual aversion to the rules of the road. The other is the city-wide crisis of losing our neighborhood stores and eateries that meet everyday needs.

Go to the Meeting

Now don’t sigh and say “There’s a lot of talk but so little gets done.” I agree, but first, much has been done over these 30-plus years. The problem is only a relative few of us show up to demand that our elected officials and police take the all-out remedial action their constituent majority needs, Yes, safe travel — above all, stop the most deadly failure-to-yield traffic crime. And now there’s the e-bike and scooter invasion, All traffic law-breaking biking has got to go. So does kamikaze walking. And our neighborhood stores and diners have to stay, be restored and find affordable space in any new high-rise building.

Incidentally, while the East 79th St. Neighborhood Association officially encompasses the area between East 72nd and East 79th streets, all concerned New Yorkers are urged to attend. The same problems are shared,and numbers matter. This month’s meeting is Thursday, March 28th starting at 6 p.m.. The location is Temple Shaaray Tefila, on the corner of 79th and Second Avenue. And most thankfully, its indefatigable co-founder and leader, Betty Cooper Wallerstein, believes in monthly meetings.

Speak Up

As for meeting format, more might get done if the public spoke both before and after the elected officials and 19th precinct police officers gave their reports. Everyone needs to speak and all must be brief, get to the point. And use the mic! Remember, the population is aging and especially in Manhattan. Ah, and long overdue is an escort service to enable disabled New Yorkers’ participation . Naturally, able-bodied civic group members would be in the vanguard of this so needed enabling. Incidentally, I know several once-key members of the association who now need help to be seen and heard at the meetings. This need is city-wide and beyond — way beyond.

Pick Up the Phone

And more will get done when we repeatedly phone our elected officials about our concerns and ideas. Officials’ numbers are conveniently located in this paper’s Helpful Contacts column. Although surveys find calls are more effective than emails, when possible, let us do both. Oh, and, so super-critical, you with the internet access, please get social media involved. And civic leader Wallerstein must finally get on the internet. Repeat that too.

Also meeting attendees could use some other homework, like on the way home, and in general, speak out when drivers fail to yield or speed, not to mention when cyclists break every law on the books. Kamikaze walkers sure need a reproof.

Local is Better

Shop and dine local — oh do repeat that please — over and over again And smile a whole lot. Smiles help make a city livable — neighborly and peaceable. And don’t we need that. It can be done if enough of us try. Hey, it will even make us look better. Smile.