In June of this year, an 18-wheeler making a turn at Church Avenue and Ocean Parkway struck Patricia Ngozi Agbim, 73, killing her. It happened at the Kensington intersection where Ocean Parkway’s six lanes cross Church Avenue and become the stoplight-free Prospect Expressway. Last month, the intersection became the first of 10 along the busy road to be redesigned by the New York State Department of Transportation. “It feels like it should be a highway,” said driver Anna Monskaya, 25. Monskaya said she drives with the flow of traffic at about 10 MPH over the 30 MPH speed limit on her route from Midwood into Manhattan three or four days a week.
“There are fairly narrow lanes,” Monskaya said, “but you have red lights on every block and a speed limit. You have the urge to speed when you can.”
A State DOT spokesperson knew of no plans for a speed-reduction component in the redesign of the nine other Ocean Parkway intersections that have been identified through a study being conducted by the department. The study is scheduled to be complete by next spring.
A new pedestrian island between the north and southbound lanes of the parkway on the north side of Church Avenue—the same side of the street where Agbim was killed—is intended to give those crossing the wide street a place to wait if they can’t make it across in one traffic light cycle.
Last spring, constituents of Councilmember Brad Lander, whose district includes the intersection, voted to earmark $200,000 for improvements that include re-striped crosswalks and a flashing light to help slow drivers making the right turn from Church Avenue onto the Prospect Expressway. As a state highway, the state DOT is responsible for the layout and construction of the parkway’s intersections, while features like crosswalks and signal boxes are funded through the city’s budget.
The traffic calming strategy at Church and Ocean Parkway is being tested as a model, the state DOT spokesperson said, and will inform the redesign of nine other intersections slated for improvement.
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A suggestion by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia that a key 1960s-era voting rights law aimed at ending Jim Crow-era voter discrimination against blacks perpetuates “racial entitlement” has drawn outrage from civil rights leaders and others.
Justice Antonin Scalia suggested Congress voted to reauthorize the law because they had nothing to gain politically by opposing it. He then suggested that preclearance represented a “perpetuation of racial entitlement” and that the Supreme Court has a duty to stop an ineffective or harmful law that Congress is unwilling to kill.
“Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes,” he said.
“This opportunity – to make it to the middle class or beyond no matter where you start out in life – it isn’t bestowed on us from Washington. It comes from a vibrant free economy where people can risk their own money to open a business. And when they succeed, they hire more people, who in turn invest or spend the money they make, helping others start a business and create jobs. Presidents in both parties – from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan – have known that our free enterprise economy is the source of our middle class prosperity. But President Obama? He believes it’s the cause of our problems.”
“Mr. President, I still live in the same working class neighborhood I grew up in. My neighbors aren’t millionaires. They’re retirees who depend on Social Security and Medicare. They’re workers who have to get up early tomorrow morning and go to work to pay the bills. They’re immigrants, who came here because they were stuck in poverty in countries where the government dominated the economy. The tax increases and the deficit spending you propose will hurt middle class families. It will cost them their raises. It will cost them their benefits. It may even cost some of them their jobs. And it will hurt seniors because it does nothing to save Medicare and Social Security. So Mr. President, I don’t oppose your plans because I want to protect the rich. I oppose your plans because I want to protect my neighbors.”
“Economic growth is the best way to help the middle class. Unfortunately, our economy actually shrank during the last three months of 2012. But if we can get the economy to grow at just 4 percent a year, it would create millions of middle class jobs. And it could reduce our deficits by almost $4 trillion dollars over the next decade. Tax increases can’t do this. Raising taxes won’t create private sector jobs. And there’s no realistic tax increase that could lower our deficits by almost $4 trillion. That’s why I hope the President will abandon his obsession with raising taxes and instead work with us to achieve real growth in our economy.”
“The real cause of our debt is that our government has been spending 1 trillion dollars more than it takes in every year. That’s why we need a balanced budget amendment. The biggest obstacles to balancing the budget are programs where spending is already locked in. One of these programs, Medicare, is especially important to me. It provided my father the care he needed to battle cancer and ultimately die with dignity. And it pays for the care my mother receives now. I would never support any changes to Medicare that would hurt seniors like my mother. But anyone who is in favor of leaving Medicare exactly the way it is right now, is in favor of bankrupting it.”
“Despite our differences, I know that both Republicans and Democrats love America. I pray we can come together to solve our problems, because the choices before us could not be more important. If we can get our economy healthy again, our children will be the most prosperous Americans ever. And if we do not, we will forever be known as the generation responsible for America’s decline.”
Please take the time and watch this video…. you will be glad you did! Until Death do us part!!!! This is quite a story about ‘’another generation’’ which will be missed for all time, and the term ‘’till death do us part’’ is not always applicable. What a gentle soul.