By Beth Hanning
Over the years of teaching, I have noticed children respond to connotation, not denotation. They understand stories about the words that give them an association. For example, if one looks up the word infrastructure in the dictionary, this is what they will read: the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (e.g., buildings, roads, power supplies) needed for the operation of a society or enterprise. If I just gave children that definition, many of them would dismiss it. But when you then ask them: Do you think we have adequate infrastructure in Queens? After this question, many hands are raised and we discuss the various items associated with infrastructure: roads, traffic due to excessive new stop lights and bus lanes and various other issues relating to quality of life. I feel this is a way that they will actually remember the vocabulary word.
I also do this with the vocabulary word conundrum. We discuss various problems in New York City that seem to be impossible to solve: homelessness, crime and mental illness issues to name a few.
Now to put the two vocabulary words together, we have a huge conundrum in this city, and it is poor infrastructure. Why can’t we get it together? Why does the Department of Transportation (DOT) have an operating budget of over one billion dollars and 33-billion-dollar ten-year capital program budget? You would think that with this much money being spent we should have better roads?
As soon as I announced my return on social media and asked for topics, the roads were the number one topic people wanted discussed.
How does the DOT rip up roads and then keep them unpaved for weeks? I got a few emails and messages about people getting flat tires due to these issues. My favorite was a road I noticed was actually paved after not being paved for weeks was then unpaved the next day! What was the issue? I would love to know how much that blunder cost! And that same road has not been lined yet separating the two directions of traffic. I wonder how much time that will take. Good thing I know where to drive.
For a while Beach Channel Drive from Beach 116th and westbound was one of my favorite DOT projects. Now it is the strip of roadway on both sides from Beach 108th Street (by the ferry) until the Mobil Gas Station. This has been an issue for many years as the median looks to be buckling. Now some city organization has fenced in the beautiful walkway from the ferry walking uptown. That strip of sidewalk is only a few years old! What project could need to be completed so quickly after being originally done?
Beautiful weather is upon us and the area around the ferry terminal will be quite crowded due to this issue!
And to add to the operating costs question: How much did all of the signs on Beach Channel Drive from Scholars’ Academy until the two gas stations at the corner of the Rockaway Freeway cost? If you did not notice, all of this alternate side parking signs have been changed. They now on both sides read “NO Parking Saturday 7:30-8:00 a.m.” I thought alternate meant to switch. Most blocks alternate days and/or times. Nope, now every Saturday, you cannot park along the long that stretch for 30 minutes. Thanks New York City! Take away more parking.