With primary season behind us, I wanted to give our community a sincere than you for being so involved in the democratic process and in our community. One of the many things that make me proud to represent the Upper West Side, Morningside Heights and Manhattan Valley is the unprecedented level of community engagement throughout the district. I am humbled to work with you in making our neighborhood the best it can be.
These past few months, I had the opportunity to spend many hours on the street speaking with you, which made me aware of a number of issues that are concerning to our constituency. As such, I wanted you to be aware of the status of the following issues:
Citi Bike Expansion
As you may know, Citi Bike recently expanded to West 110th Street. Generally, I appreciate how such expansion projects connect our diverse communities and was thus pleased to welcome Citi Bike to the neighborhood. However, a few weeks post-implementation, I began to have many concerns surrounding the program.
Last week I wrote to the NYC Department of Transportation asking Commissioner Forgione to address two primary issues regarding Citi Bike’s Upper West Side expansion. First, the placement of Citi Bike’s docking stations and the resulting loss of parking spaces. Secondly, the lack of community input during a rather quick implementation process.
It is my hope that we can explore alternate solutions to restore critical parking spaces, and that increased dialogue with the community will be a part of that exploratory process.
Citibank on West 111th Street
I’m happy to share that the Citibank site is finally in the beginning stages of reconstruction. I know that many of you are frustrated with the blight this site has caused. Indeed, I live on 111th Street and understand Citibank’s impact on the block.
Since the fire, I’ve been in regular communications with Citibank representatives. Over the last year the site underwent asbestos abatement and a structural assessment. Citibank has confirmed with my office that they plan on rebuilding a bank to the same dimensions as the existing structure. We recently received the construction schedule, which I am including below. Please note this is subject to changes:
Phase I: Shell restoration - October 2016 through December 2016
• Building scaffolding
• Restoration of façade
Phase II: Core construction - December 2016 thought July 2017
• Restoration of roof top
• Infrastructure construction, i.e. stairs, elevator and MEP installation:
Phase III: Branch construction - July 2017 through December 2017
Build out of new branch
West 108th Street Parking Garages
New York City, owner of the parking garages on West 108th Street, has proposed selling the site to the West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing (WSFSSH) for conversion into senior housing. This means that hundreds of parking spaces that our constituents depend on may no longer be available.
To clarify, New York City’s sale of the West 108th Street garages is not complete. In order for the sale to go through, the city must follow the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). At this time, the city has not submitted an application to begin the ULURP process.
Should the city submit an application, the application would undergo a review by the Department of City Planning (DCP) and the City Planning Commission (CPC), the local Community Board, the Borough President, the Borough Board, the City Council and the Mayor.
Unfortunately, as a state legislator I am not involved in the review process of the sale of this property. However, I will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed.
I encourage you all to participate in the ULURP process at the Community Board level. This proposed application, if submitted, would undergo a public review through Community Board 7.
Multiple primaries in one year
With the last of the primaries behind us, I want to thank you for coming out to vote so many times this year. This was an unusual election year, with a congressional primary, presidential primary and state primary all within a few months of each other.
As many of you have expressed, I am also concerned that the numerous primaries impacted the ability of constituents to vote. If we were able to consolidate all the primaries to one day, not only would it be easier for folks to vote and possibly increase voter turnout, but it would also save the state $25 million. That is why I co-sponsored Assembly Member Michael Cusick’s bill A09108 which would designate a single day for primary elections in New York.
Once again, thank you for being an active member of our community. If you have any concerns regarding the issues that I addressed above, or any other issues, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 212-866-3970, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit my office at 245 West 104th Street.
Very truly yours,