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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/26/10

Due to the economy: Mass transportation on LI first: 'Walkable places' second

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Message Mary MacElveen
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Have you ever read a newspaper article that left you tearing your hair out, banging your head as you read it and screaming into the atmosphere? Well, last week, one article left me doing just that. It did not deal with larger national and international issues, but a local issue that I have been screaming about for such a long time and that issue is mass transportation. Seriously, I do not know how many key-strokes I have hit in support of better mass transportation here in Suffolk County, NY. My fingers ache at this time.

After reading: Architect urges Long Island build 'walkable places' which was published in last week's Newsday, all I wanted to do was scream into the atmosphere.

At this point due to the recession and yes foreclosures: Who is fiscally safe to purchase a newly built home, even with the amenities of mass transportation? Given our high tax bracket, high utility rates, high property taxes and such: Who can afford to purchase one of these newly proposed homes? The answer is NO ONE! Within my own community, I have seen home-after-home fall to foreclosure and this architect proposes building more? I am still scratching my head at that notion and idea.

As reported by Newsday in this article: "Nancy Douzinas, president of the Rauch Foundation, which publishes the index. To stimulate ideas, she announced a design contest, "Build a Better Burb," that will offer prizes to professionals, the public and children. The grand prize will be $10,000. Details are to come in March." Huh? Seriously, I do not understand this prize giveaway. Oh wait! Get children involved who do not understand the complexities of our current real estate market. Give them some crayons and paper and wish them the best. This is the best they can do?

Back in the fifties, many suburbs were created, but what was left out was how to connect each with the other. Yes, we built roadways so that people could drive from one to another. Feel free to Google Robert Moses. But we were short sighted and did not foresee the future where mass transportation would be key within the suburbs. Even now, mass transportation is on the cutting block due to the deficit being felt by each New Yorker. To build new communities and to enhance them with mass transportation is backwards thinking. In my not so humble opinion, enhance mass transportation first.

Due to budget cuts coming from Albany, the LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) will suspend transportation between Ronkonkoma and Greenport during the winter months and bring it back online during the summer season. Last Friday: Newsday's front cover screamed out: "LI's unemployment rate up again, to 7%" and these bozos want to build new communities? With what money? If 7% are not working, just how can they afford to purchase these new high-density communties?

There are many "walkable communities' already in existence, but without a way of getting people from point A to point B who do not own a car here in Suffolk County and I have been screaming about that for years-upon-years. You see, due a medical condition, I do not drive and must rely on a pathetic mass transportation system here in Suffolk County. Our existing mass transportation system does not operate at night or on Sundays where people do work and shop. We who are at the mercy of this pathetic mass transportation system must take cabs which cost an arm and a leg. If you wish to take a cab from Sound Beach, NY where I live to Miller Place, NY where I work it will cost you $8 bucks as opposed to a bus that costs you a buck fifty each way.

In reading: "Tahchieva said "retrofitting or repairing" suburban sprawl involved "enhancing and revitalizing downtowns." It means making areas that once catered to cars pedestrian friendly: adding sidewalks, landscaping and transforming dangerous intersections, for example, into a town square." Many communities have sidewalks on busy thoroughfares such as Miller Place and Rocky Point, NY. No, they do not need landscaping. What they need are buses in order to get to those communities in order to shop and work. The dangerous intersections are mainly attributed to automobile accidents and not buses. In fact, I work near the intersection of Miller Place road and Route 25A in Miller Place, NY and I can tell you MOST accidents are due to automobile collisions and not buses.

When Tachieva stated: "So much depends on design. You can achieve very high densities with buildings that don't look scary." I feel this is putting the cart before the horse. We first need mass transportation instead of entire communities being built which at this time do not have the fiscal dollars to support them.

Those who are proponents of these high density communities must ask themselves: If we build them, will they come?

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I am a writer who currently writes pieces for my own blog I have been published by, and I was a guest on the Jay Diamond Radio Show on WRKO in Boston and have (more...)
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