BIKE RACKS AND RESTAURANTS
As of the issues of March 31 - April 6, you have now covered two disturbing aspects of Open Dining: The sheds blocking a path to the street while increasing the detritus and, of course, the bicycles zipping up and down to endanger servers, diners, and yes, those sheds. What you’ve not yet covered, however, is the arbitrary placement of bike docks which blocked many restaurants from taking advantage of outdoor seating, an issue addressed by the Sutton Area Community (SAC), Turtle Bay Association and Murray Hill Neighborhood Association.
Those of us living in Midtown East are acutely aware of the need to reduce traffic on our streets. Therefore, we applaud the acceptance of bicycles as a healthful and economical alternative mode of transportation.
However, these benefits should not come at the expense of losing jobs and tax revenue. During the pandemic year, when the City created outdoor dining, several restaurants in our neighborhood were forced to close for a time, some permanently, because their access to the sidewalk was limited, and their access to the street where others had set up dining sheds, was blocked by poorly sited bicycle docks.
Moreover, according to the Office of the New York State Comptroller, on average, only 44 percent of New York restaurants have used outdoor seating, suggesting significant reduced operations and closures which, without a reasonable change in siting policy, may be expected to continue.
Therefore, as the City goes forward with plans to make a form of outdoor dining permanent, we urge the Department of Transportation to approach bicycle dock siting more cautiously.
For example, all outdoor seating should be set flush against the curb so that neither wait staff nor diners have to cross an active bicycle lane to reach the tables as is currently the case on Second Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets. On our crosstown streets, no restaurant should be blocked from street seating as remains the case for one restaurant on East 48th Street.
As open dining becomes a standard feature in our City, DOT, restaurants, and diners should join forces to achieve solutions which are fair to bicycle riders, restaurants, and patrons.
Carol Ann Rinzler
PASS THE PETS BELONG WITH FAMILIES ACT
Like tens of millions of dog-owning Americans, I firmly believe that a house is not a home without a dog. That is why it is so important that Congress pass the Pets Belong with Families Act, which would ensure that residents of public housing can keep their dogs, regardless of breed. Although pets are allowed in all public housing in the U.S., public housing authorities currently have the power to impose unfair breed and size restrictions. These arbitrary rules are intended to exclude “dangerous” dogs from communities, despite nearly 20 years of data showing it is virtually impossible to calculate bite rates for specific breeds.
In fact, diverse organizations including the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention oppose breed-specific regulations. Breed restrictions disproportionally impact those most in need of stable and secure housing. At their worst, breed-specific restrictions force families to either surrender their pets to animal shelters or choose potentially unsafe or unstable housing options. I urge Representative Carolyn Maloney to co-sponsor H.R. 5828, the Pets Belong with Families Act, because no family should have to choose between stable housing and keeping their beloved dog.
Upper East Side
At 424 East 90th Street, three excessive loud excavators with hydraulic jackhammers start at 7:15 am. The construction site is surrounded by residential buildings. It is impossible to work from home. The noise often reaches 90 db. The foreman and workmen are rude to the locals who are suffering. There is no noise mitigation plan and the hours rubber stamped/allowed by the New York Department of Buildings is ridiculous.
We know that some construction noise is accepted but at the moment, all we ask for is a later start time (8:00 a.m.). We have sound recordings of the noise which we are going to send to the local news stations. A petition is being circulated. The construction end date given is not accurate as they have permits thru 2023.
Upper East Side
THE IDEALS OF JACK KEROUAC
March 12 marked the 100th anniversary of novelist, poet and Beat Generation member Jack Kerouac. It made me reread one of his best writings, “On The Road.” His works reminds me of the more adventurous spirit of youth. Sadly, as we get older, with more responsibilities and less free time, there are fewer journeys to take, but the ideals of Jack Kerouac continue to live in all of us.
Great Neck, NY