Guest op-ed: Southern Brooklyn and our quality of life matter

July 13, 2016 Editorial Staff
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I have always believed that one of government’s primary responsibilities is to ensure a high quality of life standard for the public. “Quality of life” is, more than anything, about common sense, and I have made it a priority during my time as a City Council Member to make sure that common sense issues which hinder my constituents’ quality of life are addressed.

It is this belief that led me to recently introduce legislation to protect drivers from being fined for failing to observe parking signs that are impossible to read or understand because the sign is worn, damaged, or improperly installed. Drivers should not be responsible for the City’s lack of maintenance.

Our city needs to take care of residents who rely on public transit, as well. I have relentlessly advocated for more options in Southern Brooklyn, and recently, the MTA announced the return of the F express train, extended late-night service on the R train, and a proposed return for weekend service on the X28 bus.

Common sense is also the motivating factor behind my push to make our neighborhoods cleaner and more environmentally friendly. Through the City Council’s Cleanup NYC initiative, I have allocated hundreds of thousands of dollars to organizations that work to try to keep our area’s main commercial corridors clean, while also painting over graffiti and providing an electronic waste pick-up and recycling service for our seniors and disabled people.

I sit on the City Council’s Parks Committee, and I let the City administration hear it when Southern Brooklyn parks were left out of the first round of the Parks’ Departments Community Parks Initiative, funding renovation and redesign at local parks around the city. Since then, Gravesend’s Lafayette Playground ($5.4 million) and Dyker Heights’ Lt. Joseph Petrosino Park ($4.5 million) have both been included in CPI’s second round of funding. I have also worked with other elected officials, like Senator Diane J. Savino and Assemblymember William Colton, to secure $3.5 million in funding for a redesign of Scarangella Park in Gravesend.

As a former history and government teacher at New Utrecht High School, I have also made it a priority to make sure that local schools get the help they sorely need. I successfully advocated on behalf of eight of my district’s public schools which were devastated by Hurricane Sandy to receive new permanent boilers. These schools had been using temporary boilers, located outside of the school buildings. Not only was this an eyesore for residents, but the boilers could not be adjusted, creating conditions in the school not conducive for learning. Our students need to be comfortable, and they need the right tools and resources. That’s why my budget includes schools funding for everything from technology upgrades to renovation of bathrooms, classrooms, or auditoriums.

But when it comes to common sense quality of life concerns, safety is paramount. My colleagues and I worked with the City to get more officers for the 60th, 61st, 62nd, and 68th Precincts this year, and this summer, there are more cops in Coney Island, as well as more Parks Enforcement Patrol officers on the beach and Boardwalk.

I have made common sense quality of life concerns like safety, schools, clean streets, vibrant parks, and Hurricane Sandy recovery and resiliency the foundation of my City Council tenure, and I am determined to get even more improvements in the years to come.

Councilmember Mark Treyger represents Bath Beach, Bensonhurst, Coney Island, Gravesend and Sea Gate.

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