Life In The Big City

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Greenfield’s Muni-Meter Law is in Effect

Councilman David G. Greenfield’s historic muni-meter legislation went into effect citywide on July 1st. The law has three parts: it allows drivers to pre-pay New York City’s
muni-meters up to one hour before the meter regulations go into effect, it forces meters to shut off and not accept payment when the driver is not required to pay for parking (like in the evening), and it shuts down muni-meters when they run out of paper receipts.

“Today marks an important day for driving New Yorkers,” said Councilman Greenfield on the new law. “This will save drivers time, money and immense frustration. After all, no New Yorker likes to get ripped off by a muni-meter – even if it’s only a quarter or two.”

Councilman Greenfield’s law, Local Law 49 of 2013, passed the City Council on June 13, 2013. Because of the complexities involved, Greenfield’s law gave the Department of Transportation two years from July 1, 2013 to update the muni-meter software to make these changes. As of July 1, 2015, all of the city’s muni-meters are now programmed for these changes, which will improve the quality of life for New York City drivers.

NYC Polystyrene Foam Ban Has Begun

As of July 1st, New York City food service establishments (including food carts) and stores are no longer able to sell, distribute or use certain expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam products. These items include polystyrene foam single-service cups, bowls, plates, takeout containers, trays and polystyrene loose fill packaging, known as packing peanuts.

Earlier this year, after consultation with corporations,
non-profits, vendors and other stakeholders, the Department of Sanitation (DSNY), determined that EPS foam cannot be recycled, which led to the ban. The provision includes a grace period from July 1, 2015 until January 1, 2016. Following the grace period, Notices of Violation will be issued.

EPS is a major source of neighborhood litter and is hazardous to marine life. EPS foam is lightweight material that can clog storm drains and end up on our beaches and in waterways. EPS containers can break down into smaller pieces, which marine animals may mistake for food.

The ban affects any business, agency, or institution that sells or uses EPS, and is located or operates within any of the five boroughs. Those using foam packaging should consider alternatives such as paper, plastic, aluminum, and biodegradable products.

Nonprofits and small businesses (not part of a chain) with less than $500,000 in yearly revenue may apply for a hardship exemption from the Department of Small Business Services if they can prove that the purchase of alternative products not composed of EPS would create undue financial hardship. Visit http://www.nyc.gov/foampackagingwaiver for more information.

EPS is already banned in Washington, DC, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Oakland, Portland, Albany, and Seattle. In total, more than 70 cities have banned foam, and businesses large and small have shifted to alternative products that are biodegradable or otherwise recyclable.

Summer Repaving Schedule

Councilmember Mark Treyger is pleased to announce that a number of streets throughout Bensonhurst, Gravesend and Coney Island will be resurfaced this summer.

Councilmember Treyger worked closely with Brooklyn Department of Transportation Commissioner Keith Bray to identify the streets across the 47th District that are most in need of repairs, based on road conditions and traffic volume. In addition, Councilmember Treyger secured $400,000 in this year’s city budget to include additional streets in this year’s repaving schedule. Residents should be on the lookout in the coming weeks for notices of parking restrictions as this work continues over the rest of the summer.

The following streets have been included in the DOT’s spring and summer resurfacing schedule:

• 28th Avenue from Bath Avenue to Cropsey Avenue

• Cropsey Avenue from Shore Parkway to Bay Parkway

• 25th Avenue from Bath Avenue to Stillwell Avenue

• Avenue U from McDonald Avenue to Coney Island Avenue

• 19th Avenue from 86th Street to 65th Street

• 80th Street from Bay Parkway to Stillwell Avenue

• West Street from Avenue Y to Shore Parkway

• West 28th Street from Neptune Avenue to Boardwalk

• West 29th Street from Neptune Avenue to Mermaid Avenue

• East 9th Street from Avenue P to Coney Island Avenue

• Murdock Court from West Street to Ocean Parkway

• Nixon Court from West Street to Ocean Parkway

Signs will be posted notifying residents of parking restrictions and street closures prior to the start of each individual project. Residents are urged to contact Councilmember Treyger’s office at (718) 307-7151 with any questions or concerns, or to report any unsafe street conditions in the district.

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Senator Felder Demands Pothole Repairs

In a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio, State Senator Simcha Felder demanded that the City move swiftly to repair its streets to ensure the safety of New Yorkers. To date, more than 300,000 potholes have been reported to the Department
of Transportation.

“The safety of our citizens is at stake,” Senator Felder stressed. “We are headed into the summer when more people will be out for their daily run, bike ride, or family outing. The City must hire outside contractors to get the work done immediately. Mayor de Blasio specifically allocated money for pothole repairs in his budget. It is time to actually use that money for its intended purpose.”

The Senator noted that potholes present a danger not only to motorists, but to pedestrians, as well. “An elderly gentleman in my district tripped in a pothole, breaking bones and severely injuring himself. This man was simply out for his daily stroll. Such a tragedy would never have happened if the City was on top of the situation.

“Our City’s streets are in crisis. Winter has long gone and yet dangerous potholes are rampant throughout New York City roads. This is inexcusable.”

Bloomberg Donates $100M
to New York City’s Cornell Tech Island Campus

Billionaire and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has for years wanted to create tech jobs in the Big Apple, organized a competition for universities to build a futuristic tech campus in the city. Last month, Bloomberg announced a $100 milliondonation towards the winning bid –
a joint endeavor between Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, which he described as “a gift to support a brighter future for our city.”

The campus itself is being built on Roosevelt Island, a thin strip of land on the East River, and offers courses such as “startup postdocs” that help individuals “identify a market opportunity, implement a technological solution, demonstrate its commercial viability, and found a new venture.” Although the Roosevelt Island site won’t be fully built until 2043, it’s slated to open in 2017, with teaching already underway at a temporary Manhattan site on loan from Google.

When fully built, the Cornell Tech site will cover 12 acres of ground and house some 2,500 students and teachers. Buildings on the site will include the first ever high-rise passive house
(an international design standard that is extremely energy efficient), a “corporate co-location building” for the offices of both established tech companies and startups, and The Bloomberg Center – an academic building named after Bloomberg’s daughters, Emma and Georgina.

New Ad Campaign Highlights the Risks
of Sugary Drinks

The Health Department todayannounced a new ad campaign educating New Yorkers on the health risks of children consuming sugary drinks. The ads explain that even though a child may not be overweight or obese, sugary drinks can lead to increased visceral fat, a fat that builds up in and around their organs. Visceral fat can lead to the child developing diabetes, heart disease, or a fatty liver.

“Sugary drinks contain empty calories that can cause damage to your child’s body, even if your child is at a healthy weight,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “Too much sugar can increase the amount of visceral fat, an organ-hugging fat that can lead to a variety of health problems. Choose water or fruit as a healthy alternative to sugary drinks.”

According to the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, nearly 30 percent
of New York City public high school students are overweight or obese. Sugary drinks are the leading source of added sugar in our diet and remain a leading contributor to the obesity and diabetes epidemics.

Young people continue to drink sugary drinks – including soda, sports drinks and sweetened teas – at alarmingly high rates. Health Department data shows that 40 percent of high school students reported consuming an average of one or more sugary drinks per day, and that sugary drink consumption varies by neighborhood.

The NYC Health Department has been educating New Yorkers about the dangers of sugary drinks since 2009 through educational campaigns like “Pouring on the Pounds,” “Sounds Healthy” and “Drinking Yourself Sick.” For more information, search “sugary drinks” at nyc.gov.

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