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October 23, 2013- By Steven E. Greer, MD
At the October 22nd joint session of the Community Board 1 (CB1) meeting, two apartment owners from 200 Rector Place protested the City DOT plans to install a concrete media on West Thames, in front of their building, which would prevent dangerous illegal U-turns that have led to numerous vehicular accidents on West Thames (and that have killed pedestrians at a nearby intersection). They had attempted to muster a larger following by placing fliers on the doorman desk of their building, but only two people showed up, not counting their employee, the building manager. (Both people showing up were also the ones to place the ineffective fliers on the desks.)
The concrete median barriers have strong support from the community, particularly from parents of school age children who have to cross the wide West Thames street on their way to PS 276 and new Montessori pre-K schools. Other members of the 200 Rector Place apartment owner’s board were not concerned enough about the DOT plans to attend the CB1 meeting.
The two women protestors from 200 Rector Place, Justine Cuccia and Lucy Kuhn, are admittedly motivated by special interests. One agenda of theirs is to preserve the ability to make a left-hand illegal turns into the parking inside 200 Rector Place garage where luxury vehicles park. The other agenda is to maintain the expansively wide street which now affords for easy double parking of moving vans.
Milstein Properties constructed 200 Rector Place in the 1980’s and maintains ownership of most of the units in the building. Milstein’s Milford Management company, headed by Loraine Doyle and Steve Rossi, manages the building, along with several others in Battery Park City.
In the video, the special interests are seen hyping imaginary unfounded concerns that the barriers might bring. BatteryPark.TV spoke with one of the protestors at the meeting, Gus Ouranitsas, the day after his appearance before the CB1. Gus is the building manager for 200 Rector Place. When asked whether his employer, Milstein properties, requested him to attend the CB1 meeting, he replied. “This is a personal thing for me.”, and went on to explain his concerns were that the concrete medians will no longer allow moving vans to park in front of the service entrance to unload furniture.
However, Mr. Ouranitsas’ concerns are invalid, since plenty of space remains for the moving vans just 20 yards east on West Thames, albeit slightly less convenient. Asked whether he was well informed of the DOT plans at all, astonishingly, he admitted that he had not seen the actual DOT plans until the evening of the CB1 meeting when they were projected on the screen as he spoke (the DOT plans had been emailed to him numerous times over several months).
Mr. Ouranitsas, along with the other two protestors, Lucy Kuhn and Justine Cuccia (both on the apartment owners board), want the DOT to delay the construction of the DOT plans for West Thames and “walk the street, studying it further”. When asked whether he knew that the DOT has already walked the street with real-time feedback from numerous BPC resident, Mr. Ouranitsas was also unaware of that.
Ironically, it was Ms. Cuccia (wife of Broadsheet writer Matt Fenton) who became outraged over the construction of the West Thames playground in 2009, which is adjacent to 200 Rector Place. She focused her unsuccessful opposition to the development project back then by claiming that a tire swing installed was unsafe and might cause children to bump their heads. She seems to have no concerns now over 4-year-old toddlers crossing a chaotic West Thames Street and being killed by vehicles.
A model for working with the City DOT on city planning
Final DOT plans for West Thames and South End Ave approved
Speed bumps are another option. Especially on Battery place by 276
I think the concrete medians are a bad idea.
There is never any legal parking on South End Ave and vehicles must double park to make deliveries to the commercial stores.
The medians will require maintenance and it seems there are no funds for maintaining shrubs or grass.
A median on West Thames is also a bad idea. Cars going into the parking garage in 200 Rector sometimes overflow onto the street. How are cars traveling east on West Thames supposed to get into the garage if there is a median in front of the building?
Thank you for at least being honest about your self-centered total disregard for the public good and safety. You effectively make my point for me.
By the way, you do not know what you are talking about. Your comments about the medians not being maintained or that they reduce parking are factually incorrect. You clearly took no effort to study the problem or attend meetings, yet you knee-jerk oppose anything new. You probably opposed Citi Bikes too.
The youngest grades at PS 276 walk to the West Thames park occasionally for out door play. They walk along the east side of battery place and need to cross at West Thames. It is extremely dangerous for the students, teachers and parents that chaperoned the trip.
I am baffled as to why anyone would want such a dangerous intersection/situation in front of their building.
That crossing was the reason, I did not even look at apartments to buy in the building. Even as an adult I find it way too dangerous to cross there.
Totally agree with Paola about a solution akin to speed bumps near 276 on battery place. The problem is that drivers are coming off either the south west street traffic nightmare or they are victims of broadway/water street congestion and by the time they get past the light at pier A, what do they do? They gun the engines and reach top speed right in front of 276. Tragedy waiting to happen.
And the gang of NYPD vehicles that routinely queue up at Wagner park for their training exercises watch blithely as livery cabs swoop by at 50 mph. Battery place, to the NYPD, is a staging area, not a residential neighborhood street. That has to end. It happened again tonight at 5pm as i watched, and i was sickened to see more than a dozen NYPD cruisers sit by as livery cabs sped recklessly up battery place. This has to end before a 276 kid is killed.
Regarding the Liberty Court residents and the Liberty Court Super who oppose this plan:
There are many many words I could expend on this topic. Suffice it to say, you are right on target. I am astonished that Justine Cuccia has placed the Milstein’s financial interests above her own child’s safety.
With Gus Ouranitsas, no big surprise there. Be very wary of this gentleman.
It may be constructive to speak to State Senator Daniel Squadron who is focused on transportation and pollution issues in BPC including ferry horns and he has a record of fighting related battles and QOL issues. He just announced he was happy to support the successful proposal for a Neighborhood Slow Zone in Brooklyn Heights. The River Terrace speed bump should be replaced. You cannot have schools, playgrounds, and green areas with dangerous streets and pollution.
Why is this even a discussion? Children’s lives are at stake. If you are opposed to children having a safe place to cross then I hope you are mortally injured by a vehicle next time you leave the rock you obviously live under