By Carol Tannenhauser
The Upper West Side’s Community Board 7 talked parking, street safety, and medical marijuana at the board’s first meeting of 2017 on Tuesday.
No Parking on 73rd Street
The only controversy at the full Community Board 7 meeting on Tuesday night involved a resolution by the Transportation Committee to restore a 3-car-length “No Parking Anytime” zone in front of the entrance to the Park Royal at 23 West 73rd Street, between Central Park West and Columbus.
The no-parking signs were removed last June by the Department of Transportation (DOT), which has since “reviewed the situation and concurs with the resolution on the basis of safety,” said Joe Dodd, a resident of the building. The problem stems from the alleged “uniqueness” of the location of the Park Royal. “The Olcott, Mayfair Towers, and the Dakota on 72nd Street have service entrances and parking garages that access 73rd Street,” Dodd said. As a board member put it, “These large buildings unload all of their business on 73rd Street, so the traffic is great, there’s double parking, congestion, and it’s become a traffic safety issue. DOT has approved the resolution.”
So what’s the problem?
“Public curbs and roadways should not be privatized,” said one board member. “What building wouldn’t like a loading and unloading zone in front of it?” asked another. “This would set a precedent”…“open the floodgates…” said several others. Ultimately, safety won out and the resolution passed, 29-6-4.
New Crosswalk and Signal on 106th
Safety was also at issue in the Transportation Committee’s resolution to “immediately take steps to install a mid-block traffic signal and crosswalk to allow pedestrians a safe crossing of West 106th Street, between Columbus and Amsterdam.” The “pedestrians” in mind are mostly elderly people, crossing between Red Oak Senior Housing and Jewish Home Lifecare, to socialize and engage in other activities, and receive physical therapy. This stretch of 106th Street is particularly long and hilly, and many seniors can’t make it to the corner or across the street before the light changes. (It was suggested and agreed that the light be user activated and appropriately timed.) There was no controversy here. The resolution passed 38-0-0.
Broadway Mall Renovation
Few probably consider the Broadway malls parkland, but, according to the Broadway Mall Association, “The Broadway malls extend nearly 5 miles along Broadway from 60th Street to 168th Street and comprise 10.6 acres of green parkland.” The malls are above the subway and under the jurisdiction of the Parks Department. Four will be renovated, including two within District 7, between 102rd and 104th streets. Why those two? “Because they really need it!” said Kari Neuwelt, Parks and Environment Committee chairperson. The redone malls will feature new “hard and softscapes,” including trees, plantings, benches, and an art plaza. The cost of the entire project, which also includes two malls north of district 7, will be $1.3 million. The resolution passed 40-0-0-0.
Finally, Emily Markowitz, representing State Assemblymember Richard Gottfried, announced that New York State has expanded its medical marijuana program, adding “chronic pain” to the list of qualifying conditions, among other changes. Wrote Assembly Member Gottfried in his newsletter, “As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Health and as the Assembly sponsor of the Compassionate Care Act of 2014 that first made the medical use of marijuana legal in New York, I have been urging the State to expand access to medical marijuana and applaud the recent changes to the State’s regulations.”
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