Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ben Haber strikes again!

Gov't must study Willets Point plan traffic effects
Thursday, April 29, 2010 11:11 AM EDT
Times Ledger

One will recall Borough President Helen Marshall thought it was a grand idea to build a New York Jets football stadium in the middle of Flushing Meadows Corona Park — a no-brainer if there ever was one and one that would have destroyed Flushing Meadows as a viable urban park.

That Marshall has approved the city’s study of the Willets Point development’s traffic impact, as mentioned in TimesLedger Newspapers’ April 8-14 editorial “Delaying Tactics at Willets Point,” is another no-brainer and all the more reason to have the issue reviewed by a state and federal traffic study.

Marshall’s constituency as well as that of the Bloomberg administration and its appointees are the fat cat real estate moguls, not the hundreds of small Willets Point businesses and their thousands of employees and families that will be thrown to the wind.

While TimesLedger seems unhappy Willets Point businesses have engaged Richard Lipsky to lobby on their behalf, it should be noted TimesLedger seems to have no problem with former Borough President Claire Shulman, who has been lobbying on behalf of the proposed development amid claims she has been doing so with city money.

Traffic on the Grand Central Parkway and Van Wyck Expressway is often backed up and worse when the New York Mets are in play and the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center is open. To add to that congestion, what would flow from the proposed development would make it even more impossible. Traffic on these highways is not an issue limited to the city and Willets Point businesses, but all city residents.

Having an independent study by the state and federal governments, both of which have not been engaged by either the proponents or opposition, makes sense and TimesLedger should as a matter of public interest support it.

Benjamin M. Haber