Tapped In

Written by Our Town on . Posted in Notes from the Neighborhood, Our Town.


Compiled by Megan Bungeroth, Alissa Fleck, Rebecca Harris and Sam Levine

Cool Wheels: Lillian Vernon hands over the keys to Citymeals-on-Wheels' first ever refrigerated truck to Citymeals Executive Director Beth Shapiro on July 11. The new $54,000 truck has been funded by the Lillian Vernon Foundation in commemoration of Vernon's birthday, a Citymeals-on-Wheels board member.

Mayor Koch Endorses Mark Thompson
Mark Thompson is doin’ great after receiving the endorsement of former Mayor Ed Koch in his bid for City Council. Thompson, currently the chair of Community Board 6, will by vying for a seat on the council in the East Side’s 4th District when Council Member Dan Garodnick runs for comptroller, as he is expected to do.

In a letter announcing his support, Koch said that Thompson’s experience will be especially beneficial to a Council and city government with many newbies in 2014. “We need to elect people who understand how the city runs and how to get things done. I know that by electing Mark, we will be putting the city in good hands, no matter what challenges we face,” said Koch. He also noted that Thompson “has worked successfully for new school seats, reclaiming of parkland and many other issues.”

Thompson was happy to receive the support, saying it would make his run for City Council an “incredibly strong race.”

“The mayor is a true New Yorker who knows what it takes to govern successfully. His support will give my campaign the powerful push it needs to get started in these early days of the race,” he said.

Thompson works as a consultant for government relations firm Capalino+Company, where he helps not-for profits, cultural institutions and private companies “navigate through red tape.” He worked in the former mayor’s administration in what was then the Department of General Services.

Parking Garage Accident
Two people were hospitalized Tuesday morning after a car plummeted down the elevator shaft of an Upper East Side parking garage.
A parking attendant at the East 76th Street and 1st Avenue garage reportedly drove the vehicle into the car elevator on the building’s fifth floor, but the elevator was not there, CBS reported. He and the car plunged five stories before hitting the ground.

At around 9:45 a.m., the fire department arrived on the scene at 355 E. 76th St., which houses a Hertz Rent-a-Car location, according to NY1. Firefighters rescued the driver, who was trapped inside the vehicle, as well as an individual who was in the elevator on the ground floor at the time of the accident.

Neighbors reported that there were at least 10 emergency vehicles on the scene, in addition to a helicopter hovering over the building. Fire and police officials closed off the sidewalk to passersby on both sides of the street.

The rescued driver and victim were transported to New York Presbyterian-Cornell Hospital to be treated for what were believed to be non-life-threatening injuries.

Department of Buildings records show that the garage faced a code violation in May 2009 for noncompliance related to maintaining elevator service equipment. The complaint was later resolved.

Lappin Gets Cash for New RI Library
City Council Member Jessica Lappin announced last Friday that she has secured over $4 million for Roosevelt Island-based projects and organizations in the 2013 fiscal year city budget. Two million dollars are allocated to move the existing Roosevelt Island Library, which has been plagued by book-damaging water leaks, to a new location at 504 Main St. Another $1.85 million is slated to fund the completion of the FDR Four Freedoms Memorial, and $150,000 is for the FDR Hope Memorial.

“Roosevelt Island is going through a spectacular transformation, and I’m proud to support the groups that have been there in the past and will continue to shape the island in the future,” Lappin said. “It’s especially exciting that this funding will help build a new home for the island’s public library.”

Anthony Marx, president of the New York Public Library, praised Lappin, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Borough President Scott Stringer for their support of the new library, which he said will double in size and offer more access to programming, computers, classes and other library services.

Delivery Bike Crackdown
Cyclists flouting the law found themselves the targets of several attacks from the city last week. On Thursday, City & State reported that Upper East Side Council Member Dan Garodnick and Queens Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer called for legislation to double traffic violation fines for those riding electronic-assisted bicycles, which are illegal in the city. Even though the City Council overrode a mayoral veto to ban electronic bikes in 2004, both Garodnick and Van Bramer said at a press conference in Queens that motorists are still dangerously riding electronic bikes on the sidewalk, against traffic and through red lights. Noting that he had seen an electronic-assisted bike just minutes before the press conference, Van Bramer said there was an “epidemic of reckless driving” in his district and across the city. By doubling the fines, Garodnick said the city could step up enforcement.

“Navigating our city streets is dangerous and difficult enough without the reckless actions of many cyclists who are riding illegal electric bikes today,” Garodnick said. “We need to empower our law enforcement officials to help crack down on this illegal activity.”
The legislation, introduced by Garodnick and co-sponsored by Van Bramer and seven other council members in June of last year, is awaiting a hearing by the Council’s transportation committee this fall. In February, Council Member Jessica Lappin introduced a separate bill to double the $500 fine for selling or operating an electronic-assisted bicycle.

The next day, Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan held a press conference to announce the DOT’s new education and enforcement program for delivery cyclists. The commissioner was joined by Council Members Gale Brewer, Lappin, Garodnick and Council Transportation Committee Chairman James Vacca, as well as some restaurant owners, to introduce the efforts and explain the program that will target first the Upper West and then the Upper East Side.

A special six-person unit of the DOT will go door to door to businesses and explain to employers the legal requirements and safety information for their delivery cyclists. After a six-month period, businesses who violate the laws will receive fines ranging from $100 to $300.

The program comes after the Upper East Side community has called repeatedly for holding businesses accountable for delivery cyclists’ reckless behavior.

“New Yorkers believe they have a constitutional right to great food delivered to their door while it’s still hot—and they’re right,” said Garodnick. “That cannot mean that we will compromise the safety of our streets in the process.”

The education portion of the program will give businesses brochures on safety and the law as well as ID cards their cyclists can fill out and keep on them. Employers will be required to provide upper body apparel with the name of their business clearly identified as well as safety equipment like lights, reflective gear and helmets.

“We need to put the brakes on dangerous delivery bicycles,” said Lappin. “Education and enforcement will make us all safer on our streets.”

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