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 October Community Bulletin
East Siders Trash Removal of Garbage Cans at Subway Stations

Thank you to everyone who filled out my online survey on the MTA’s pilot program removing trash cans at 8 subway stations across the city—including the 57th Street F station. Most of you said that you noticed more trash at the station, and think the plan is a bad idea.

In the survey, 66% of 218 respondents said they’ve noticed more trash at the 57th Street F station this past month. And 93% said that removing garbage cans from subway stations is a bad idea. You can read more about the survey in the New York Times City Room blog here.

The MTA made 8 subway stations trash can free on September 2nd, and will evaluate the program over the next six months. I will be sure to share the survey results with the MTA—it’s clear from your responses that they should toss the plan and put the garbage cans back.

A Victory for Safer Delivery Bikes

Back in February, I organized a survey around bike and pedestrian safety.  Not surprisingly, 72 % of over 1,300 respondents said they have been hit or almost hit by a delivery bike.  And 70% said the city does not enforce bicycle rules enough.

That’s why I am pleased to share that last week the New York City Council passed new measures to help make our streets safer.  I co-sponsored this package of legislation which requires businesses to enroll their employees in bicycle safety courses, sets civil penalties for businesses that disobey commercial cycling laws, requires delivery cyclists to wear reflexive vests, and gives the Department of Transportation (DOT) enforcement powers. You can read more about it in the Wall Street Journal article here.

New York is a city on the go, and we want to keep it that way – but we must do so safely. Once these bills are signed into law by Mayor Bloomberg, we’ll be better able to work with the DOT, NYPD, and local businesses to do targeted education and enforcement that should help keep pedestrians safe.

East Midtown Rezoning

As you may know, the Department of City Planning recently unveiled a plan to rezone the area near Grand Central Terminal to allow for the construction of new Class A office space. While I agree that Midtown Manhattan must remain an iconic business address, I have some serious concerns about the city’s proposal—especially the rushed timetable.

Despite requests from myself, and many others, to postpone the Draft Scope for 6 months, the City Planning Commission moved forward on a plan that lacks many specifics. At a September 27th public hearing, I testified about the need to 1) preserve the existing residential neighborhoods in East Midtown, 2) include more open space in the plan, 3) conduct a thorough transportation study and propose concrete prioritized mitigation plans, 4) protect existing and potential landmarks, and 5) allow hotel uses by special permit only.

To continue to compete on a global stage, and to prevent older buildings from converting to hotel or residential uses, the city must immediately and seriously engage the East Midtown community and other important stakeholders.   That’s why I am working closely with the Tri Board Task Force formed by Community Boards 4, 5 and 6.  Input from concerned citizens will only make this rezoning better.

Senior Cultural Discounts Fair
New York City is home to the world’s best cultural institutions. As Chair of the City Council’s Aging Committee, it’s important to me that the arts are accessible and affordable to seniors and all New Yorkers.I will be hosting the third annual Senior Cultural Discounts Fair on October 30th. I am thrilled to share that this year Councilwoman Inez Dickens and Speaker Christine Quinn are co-hosting with me. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn about free and low-cost offerings for seniors from our city’s finest theaters, museums, and cultural organizations. Over 500 seniors attended last year’s event, and this year promises to be even bigger and better. The details are below, and please RSVP by calling 212-980-1808.

What: Senior Cultural Discounts Fair
Where: Canaan Baptist Church of Christ-Founders Hall, 3rd Floor
132 West 116th Street, Manhattan
When: Tuesday, October 30th from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
Free Legal Clinic for Tenants
Is your landlord is harassing you, threatening you with eviction, or refusing to make necessary repairs?  Even if you can’t afford to hire a lawyer, there is help available.My office is sponsoring a free legal clinic for tenants with Assembly Member Micah Kellner, Assembly Member Dan Quart, and Eviction Intervention Services (EIS). This resource is available for tenants who have an income level above the limit for free legal assistance, but who cannot afford the standard hourly rates of private attorneys.

Clinics are held on the first Mondays of each month from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Eviction Intervention Services offices at 1233 Second Avenue. To schedule an appointment, please call Cullen Barrie at 212-980-1808.

Medicare Enrollment Awareness Event
Please join me and the Medicare Rights Center to learn about changes to Medicare taking place in 2013, savings programs and Extra Help for Part D Prescription Drug Benefit.
What: Medicare Enrollment Awareness Event
When: October 18th 11 a.m. – Noon
Where: Knickerbocker Plaza Community Room
1751 Second Avenue (Between 91st and 92nd Streets)
Reminder Tomorrow: Free Flu Shots
You can still sign up for free flu shoots at St. Stephen of Hungary Parish on October 15th from 11 a.m. – 12: 30 p.m. If you are in need of an appointment, please email Taina Prado at tprado@council.nyc.gov to sign up with your name and telephone number.
When:  Tuesday, October 16th, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: St. Stephen of Hungary Parish, 414 East 82nd Street between First and York Avenues.

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