Bike Share Pushed Back to Spring
Hopeful cyclists looking forward to taking advantage of the city’s bike share will have to nix their dreams of riding through the crisp fall weather this year. The Department of Transportation announced that the city’s Bike Share program will be delayed—again—and will not be implemented until March 2013. The program, sponsored by Citi with a $41 million investment, will launch with its initial phase of 7,000 bikes at 420 stations spread throughout Midtown and Lower Manhattan, parts of Brooklyn and Queens.
“New York City demands a world-class bike share system, and we need to ensure that Citi Bike launches as flawlessly as New Yorkers expect on Day One,” DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said in a statement.
The delay has been blamed on software issues related to the payment and tracking system that Citi Bike will use, and the DOT said that that its engineers are working with specially designed solar panels and circuit boards and will continue to test and improve them.
Governor Signs Krueger’s Banking Bill
After passing both houses of the state Legislature earlier this year, Sen. Liz Krueger’s bill banning the banking practice of “yield spread premiums” was signed into law by Gov. Cuomo last week. The legislation axes a predatory lending practice that financial experts say contributed to the financial crisis.
Yield spread premiums are essentially kickbacks given to mortgage brokers or lenders when they lead borrowers to take out more expensive, riskier loans than they should qualify for or can afford. It’s a practice that has been decried as unethical and a major cause of the foreclosure crisis, but until now, had remained legal. According to the Center for Responsible Lending, over 85 percent of all brokered subprime mortgages have yield spread premiums attached to them.
“Yield spread premiums have created perverse incentives, driving irresponsible, dangerous activity in the mortgage market,” said Krueger, who is the ranking Democratic member of the Senate’s Finance Committee.
Provisions in the national banking reform law passed by Congress, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, will ban yield spread premiums, but won’t go into effect until 2014.
Tavern on the Green Operator Named
The Department of Parks and Recreation announced that they will be awarding a 20-year licensing agreement to the Emerald Green Group, a Philadelphia-based company, to operate and maintain a restaurant at the former Tavern on the Green location in Central Park.
The selected operator, the Emerald Green Group, swayed the city with its proposal focusing on locally sourced food and a 200-300 person outdoor seating area.
“We are pleased to select the Emerald Green Group as the new operator of Tavern on the Green,” Commissioner Adrian Benepe said. “They have done an outstanding job with Beau Monde in Philadelphia, and their vision for the iconic Tavern on the Green will create a casual restaurant and outdoor café that everyday parkgoers, neighbors and visitors can enjoy.”
The new restaurant is scheduled to open in fall of 2013.
Central Park Precinct Community Council
The Central Park Police Precinct holds down the massive fort of our favorite urban haven, and their Community Council brings residents into the inner workings of crime fighting in the park. Their next meeting is on Monday, Sept. 10, at 7 p.m. at the Central Park Precinct station house, on the 86th Street Transverse Road. Speakers will include the precinct’s commanding officer and community affairs officer, representatives from the Central Park Conservancy, Park Enforcement and the Central Park Medical Unit. There will also be a special guest speaker from the FBI, and all speakers will be available for a Q & A after they speak. To find out more about the Community Council, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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