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Expanding Route 347 on Long Island, NY does not make for a green project

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Headlined to None 2/16/09
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The morning after writing my piece on the sustainability of consumerism and suburbia as well as two days after writing my piece on infrastructure, I was left banging my head against the kitchen table upon reading this Newsday op-ed piece.

 

While I am a huge fan of infrastructure the expansion of Route 347 on Long Island is like throwing good money after whatever.  First off all, they do not cite in this op-ed piece exactly how much it will cost the tax payer to expand this second parking lot here on Long Island.  The first being the Long Island Expressway.

 

In their op-ed piece, Newsday writes, “The DOT's commissioner, Astrid Glynn, deserves praise for pushing GreenLITES, a new system that the department created to rate road design on the basis of its environmental sustainability.” First of all any expansion of a road especially Route 347 only allows more automobiles to travel on it and exactly how friendly to the environment is that?

 

Even Newsday wrote, “it looks as if the state is on the verge of real change: more lanes, but with a greener look.” Note the operative word, ‘look’. This project is anything but green if it involves more vehicles traveling on it.

As I read this part, "It adds lanes, exactly as the 2007 plan did, and it will have a path for bikers and walkers, a planted median, two rows of trees on either side, and more pedestrian-friendly crossings at the intersections. But it does not take extra property, because the travel lanes will be a tad narrower." I just sat and read that passage with utter contempt.  What a sheer waste of tax payer dollars. For those who use this road way such as personal SUVs, trucks, and buses narrower lanes can be problematic.  I see more accidents in our future involving large vehicles as the ones mentioned above.

 

They think by adding paths for bikes and walkers as well as medians to grow trees is truly what is needed in order to call it a green project?  Long Island is still the land of the automobile and we are rewarding this bad habit given the fact our bus system here in Suffolk County has not been funded adequately.

 

This is where we have to be bold enough as a society to end our automobile addiction and increase mass transportation.  Presently, buses that do operate in Suffolk County are few and far between and they do not operate on Sundays which is a day where people do shop and work.  I have cried out for more buses, only for it to be met with silence.  I would love to travel by bus since it is more cost-effective than taking cabs.  The thing is trying to find one.

 

During the fifties when the expansion of the highway system took place, what was torn up on so many of them were tracks for mono-rails which transported the masses.  To correct this mistake, we need to be building more rail systems and perhaps refitting our auto industry as mentioned in my previous article is just the medicine for putting those auto workers back to work.  Also, tracks are made of steel and it is the very medicine which is presently ailing our U.S. steel industry.

 

Last night on CBS’s Sixty Minutes they aired a story of this ailing industry where workers had to take a fifty-percent pay cut in one plant that uses recyclable steel in order to make new beams which can be used in future projects.  How about tracks for more mono-rail systems throughout the country and here on Long Island?  It is a win-win situation.  Why aren’t our elected officials thinking of this instead a lone freelance writer?

 

These ideas are called a new way of thinking as we all go forward and this way of thinking is anything but new.  It is old and sickens our environment.  Adding a few potted plants by allowing for more autos is an oxymoron if I have ever heard one.  I would love to meet whom ever thought of this idea.

 

Route 347 is known to be one of the deadliest roads on Long Island and to plan for more bike paths and pedestrian-friendly crossings are many accidents waiting to happen.  This ‘green’ plan will turn into a sea of red as people lose their lives on it.  Pedestrians and bikers meet many more large vehicles.  You get the picture.

 

As I have cited in past pieces, I do not drive for medical reasons and I have crossed Route 347 in both Rocky Point and Miller Place and one cannot reach the other side without the light turning back to red halting the crossing of it.  As a boomer and still able to walk fast, I have often thought of senior citizens who are no longer able to drive who must cross this road way at a slower pace. Crossing this road is taking your life into your own hands.  Literally!

 

Presently there are many roadways in such disrepair here on Long Island and instead of using our tax dollars to expand one road, we use these funds to fill in pot holes which wreak havoc on those personal modes of transportation on many roads.  How many axils have been broken due to them where the cost of fixing them is passed onto the drivers?  Filling in pot holes is stimulus, falls under infrastructure projects and does put many back to work.  In fact, I would not mind my road being repaved since it surely needs it.

 

To those elected officials here in New York State and in Suffolk County, New York, your mission should you choose to accept it, is to start thinking out of the box instead doing the same thing over and over.  That is the very definition of insanity.

 

Author’s email address is, xmjmac@optonline.net

 

I am a writer who currently writes pieces for my own blog http://www.mary-macelveen.blogspot.com I have been published by Buzzflash.com, TheLiberalPatriot.org and MikeHersh.com. I was a guest on the Jay Diamond Radio Show on WRKO in Boston and have (more...)
 
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