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Citizen Gardening.

  • Subject: [cg] Citizen Gardening.
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Thu, 24 Mar 2005 07:27:13 EST

Friends,

This story was forwarded to the NYC "Cyberpark" listserve by Lenny Librizzi -
former ACGA board member, and Council of the Environment stalwart here in
NYC.

The lesson here is that all of the hard work of gardeners and volunteers can
be for naught, unless we remember we're citizen gardeners, and get formal
acknowledgement of our garden and green space through mapping and zoning
changes.

It ain't enough to be patted on the head by the powers that be - we have to
be part of the political process that makes our greening projects zoned land
uses.

Everbest,
Adam Honigman
Volunteer,
Clinton Community Garden


This was in Gotham Gazette:
http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/parks/20050315/14/1350

--and the politicians keep saying demapping isn't necessary!

Politics Kills A Greenway

by Anne Schwartz
March, 2005


The parks department has quietly shelved a fully funded and planned $1.2
million Staten Island greenway that local residents have worked for many
years to get built. Borough President James P. Molinaro, who wields
tremendous political power on the island and whose support Mayor Michael
Bloomberg needs for reelection, is blocking the project because of
concerns that it would limit future road-building options.

The route, which goes through residential neighborhoods, would provide a
recreational corridor between the waterfront and the islandbs wooded
interior Greenbelt, and would also link to a greenway system being pieced
together in the borough and throughout the city.

The planned path, called the Amundsen Trailway, mostly follows a wooded
strip of land that was set aside by Robert Moses for the construction of
the Willowbrook Parkway, which was never built. Three studies conducted
over the last two decades determined that building the Willowbrook and
another proposed highway, the Richmond Parkway, would not alleviate
traffic problems in the borough. The rights-of-way for the two unbuilt
parkways make a large "X" that intersects in the heart of the Greenbelt.

The land is still mapped for the roadways, however. Local civic and
environmental groups have been trying to get the state legislature to
"demap" the rights-of-way and turn them over to the parks department, but
these efforts have been opposed by Borough President Molinaro.

Although the Amundsen Trailway has been in the works for years and
received all the necessary funding and approvals, Molinaro has put a
moratorium on construction in the right-of-way until traffic concerns are
resolved. "Right now webre being asked to hold off until this is looked at
one more time," said Thomas A. Paulo, parks department Staten Island
borough commissioner. "In any part of the city, itbs very difficult to
create a new right-of-way. Before we move forward on having a new use,
itbs good to take a look at it." The borough president declined to be
interviewed for this story.

Trailway advocates say that the three studies are still valid. "The zoning
and land use is what it is. The street use is what it is. Development
patterns are what they are. Itbs the same as in 1994, 1988, and 1981 [when
the studies were conducted]," said John Rooney, chair of the Amundsen
Trailway committee of the Richmondtown &Clarke Avenue Civic Association.
He said that the huge burst of development the island has experienced is
coming from a totally different area. "The predominate direction of
traffic demand is opposite from the Willowbrook Parkway corridor."

A LONG ROAD

For decades, residents of the area have envisioned a loop where people
could run, stroll or bicycle between two of the islandbs well-loved open
spaces, the seashore at Great Kills and the hilly woods of the Greenbelt,
where it is hard to believe you are in New York City. Where there is now a
muddy, uneven footpath through seemingly abandoned land b the kind of
place people tend to dump garbage b there would be a properly surfaced and
drained bicycle and pedestrian pathway, marked by signs.

Trailway advocates also envision how the route might coordinate with the
city Department of Environmental Protectionbs Bluebelt storm water
drainage system. The area has many streams and wetlands and is prone to
flooding. The Bluebelt system preserves and enhances these wet areas to
channel, collect, and filter storm water flows, saving the city billions
of dollars while preserving open space and wildlife habitat. One recently
completed Bluebelt project was finalized to coordinate with the planned
pathway.

After decades of effort by residents and the creation of a detailed
conceptual plan by the Richmondtown &Clarke Avenue Civic Association, in
1991 the Staten Island Greenbelt Master Plan included the Amundsen route
as part of a bicycle and pedestrian trail system in the Greenbelt parks.
The trail is also included in the Department of City Planningbs citywide
greenway plan (In PDF Format) and former Borough President Molinaribs
Staten Island bikeway plan.

The state allocated federal transportation funding covering 80 percent of
the trailbs construction and the city approved its 20 percent
contribution. In 2001, the parks department released detailed drawings and
specifications; by 2003 all the required reviews were completed and
permits obtained. It was to be the first section of the Greenbelt trail
system built.

Instead, the parks department now plans to construct another portion of
the Greenbelt trail system first, a loop circling La Tourette Park. A new
section is being added to complete the loop, using funding originally
allocated to the Amundsen Trailway. "We are eager to get any portion of
this now, because right now it is very difficult to do any kind of biking
on the road in Staten Island anymore," said Borough Commissioner Paulo.

Questions have been raised, however, about the feasibility of the
additional section because it would go through steep terrain unsuitable
for bicycling, as well as wetlands. The new trail also does not provide
the long-desired recreational link between the Greenbelt and the
waterfront.

Neighborhood residents who have spent years cleaning up the right-of-way
and trying to make the trail a reality are discouraged, but have not given
up their dream. Chuck Perry is a retired teacher who lives across the
street from the right of way and has long been active in the effort. He
said, "Look at communities like in Long Island b they have these
amenities. This is recreation for the average family, for the average
citizen."

Anne Schwartz is a freelance writer specializing in environmental issues.
Previously, she was the editor of the Audubon Activist, a news journal for
environmental action published by the National Audubon Society, and an
editor at The New York Botanical Garden.
Return-path: <Adam36055@aol.com>
From: Adam36055@aol.com
Full-name: Adam36055
Message-ID: <65.41c818a6.2f740b8c@aol.com>
Date: Thu, 24 Mar 2005 07:24:44 EST
Subject: Citizen Gardening. 
To: community_garden@mallorn.com; cybergardens@treebranch.com
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
X-Mailer: 8.0 for Windows sub 6811
X-Converted-To-Plain-Text: from multipart/alternative by demime 1.01d
X-Converted-To-Plain-Text: Alternative section used was text/plain

Friends,

This story was forwarded to the NYC "Cyberpark" listserve by Lenny Librizzi -
former ACGA board member, and Council of the Environment stalwart here in
NYC.

The lesson here is that all of the hard work of gardeners and volunteers can
be for naught, unless we remember we're citizen gardeners, and get formal
acknowledgement of our garden and green space through mapping and zoning
changes.

It ain't enough to be patted on the head by the powers that be - we have to
be part of the political process that makes our greening projects zoned land
uses.

Everbest,
Adam Honigman
Volunteer,
Clinton Community Garden


This was in Gotham Gazette:
http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/parks/20050315/14/1350

--and the politicians keep saying demapping isn't necessary!

Politics Kills A Greenway

by Anne Schwartz
March, 2005
B  B 

The parks department has quietly shelved a fully funded and planned $1.2B 
million Staten Island greenway that local residents have worked for manyB 
years to get built. Borough President James P. Molinaro, who wieldsB 
tremendous political power on the island and whose support Mayor MichaelB 
Bloomberg needs for reelection, is blocking the project because ofB 
concerns that it would limit future road-building options.

The route, which goes through residential neighborhoods, would provide aB 
recreational corridor between the waterfront and the islandbs woodedB 
interior Greenbelt, and would also link to a greenway system being piecedB 
together in the borough and throughout the city.

The planned path, called the Amundsen Trailway, mostly follows a woodedB 
strip of land that was set aside by Robert Moses for the construction ofB 
the Willowbrook Parkway, which was never built. Three studies conductedB 
over the last two decades determined that building the Willowbrook andB 
another proposed highway, the Richmond Parkway, would not alleviateB 
traffic problems in the borough. The rights-of-way for the two unbuiltB 
parkways make a large "X" that intersects in the heart of the Greenbelt.

The land is still mapped for the roadways, however. Local civic andB 
environmental groups have been trying to get the state legislature toB 
"demap" the rights-of-way and turn them over to the parks department, butB 
these efforts have been opposed by Borough President Molinaro.

Although the Amundsen Trailway has been in the works for years andB 
received all the necessary funding and approvals, Molinaro has put aB 
moratorium on construction in the right-of-way until traffic concerns areB 
resolved. "Right now webre being asked to hold off until this is looked atB 
one more time," said Thomas A. Paulo, parks department Staten IslandB 
borough commissioner. "In any part of the city, itbs very difficult toB 
create a new right-of-way. Before we move forward on having a new use,B 
itbs good to take a look at it." The borough president declined to beB 
interviewed for this story.

Trailway advocates say that the three studies are still valid. "The zoningB 
and land use is what it is. The street use is what it is. DevelopmentB 
patterns are what they are. Itbs the same as in 1994, 1988, and 1981 [whenB 
the studies were conducted]," said John Rooney, chair of the AmundsenB 
Trailway committee of the Richmondtown & Clarke Avenue Civic Association.B 
He said that the huge burst of development the island has experienced isB 
coming from a totally different area. "The predominate direction ofB 
traffic demand is opposite from the Willowbrook Parkway corridor."

A LONG ROAD

For decades, residents of the area have envisioned a loop where peopleB 
could run, stroll or bicycle between two of the islandbs well-loved openB 
spaces, the seashore at Great Kills and the hilly woods of the Greenbelt,B 
where it is hard to believe you are in New York City. Where there is now aB 
muddy, uneven footpath through seemingly abandoned land b the kind ofB 
place people tend to dump garbage b there would be a properly surfaced andB 
drained bicycle and pedestrian pathway, marked by signs.

Trailway advocates also envision how the route might coordinate with theB 
city Department of Environmental Protectionbs Bluebelt storm waterB 
drainage system. The area has many streams and wetlands and is prone toB 
flooding. The Bluebelt system preserves and enhances these wet areas toB 
channel, collect, and filter storm water flows, saving the city billionsB 
of dollars while preserving open space and wildlife habitat. One recentlyB 
completed Bluebelt project was finalized to coordinate with the plannedB 
pathway.

After decades of effort by residents and the creation of a detailedB 
conceptual plan by the Richmondtown & Clarke Avenue Civic Association, inB 
1991 the Staten Island Greenbelt Master Plan included the Amundsen routeB 
as part of a bicycle and pedestrian trail system in the Greenbelt parks.B 
The trail is also included in the Department of City Planningbs citywideB 
greenway plan (In PDF Format) and former Borough President MolinaribsB 
Staten Island bikeway plan.

The state allocated federal transportation funding covering 80 percent ofB 
the trailbs construction and the city approved its 20 percentB 
contribution. In 2001, the parks department released detailed drawings andB 
specifications; by 2003 all the required reviews were completed andB 
permits obtained. It was to be the first section of the Greenbelt trailB 
system built.

Instead, the parks department now plans to construct another portion ofB 
the Greenbelt trail system first, a loop circling La Tourette Park. A newB 
section is being added to complete the loop, using funding originallyB 
allocated to the Amundsen Trailway. "We are eager to get any portion ofB 
this now, because right now it is very difficult to do any kind of bikingB 
on the road in Staten Island anymore," said Borough Commissioner Paulo.

Questions have been raised, however, about the feasibility of theB 
additional section because it would go through steep terrain unsuitableB 
for bicycling, as well as wetlands. The new trail also does not provideB 
the long-desired recreational link between the Greenbelt and theB 
waterfront.

Neighborhood residents who have spent years cleaning up the right-of-wayB 
and trying to make the trail a reality are discouraged, but have not givenB 
up their dream. Chuck Perry is a retired teacher who lives across theB 
street from the right of way and has long been active in the effort. HeB 
said, "Look at communities like in Long Island b they have theseB 
amenities. This is recreation for the average family, for the averageB 
citizen."

Anne Schwartz is a freelance writer specializing in environmental issues.B 
Previously, she was the editor of the Audubon Activist, a news journal forB 
environmental action published by the National Audubon Society, and anB 
editor at The New York Botanical Garden.


______________________________________________________
The American Community Gardening Association listserve is only one of ACGA's services to community gardeners. To learn more about the ACGA and to find out how to join, please go to http://www.communitygarden.org


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