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Destroying Promenade could mean end of unique Brooklyn Heights

Chuck Otey's Pro Bono Barrister

October 9, 2018 By Charles F. Otey, Esq. Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Better Option: Divert Thousands of Trucks by Ending Verrazano Toll

Brooklyn Heights residents — and thousands of others, including lawyers, judges and clerks from the nearby court system — must have been shocked to learn that city planners are devising a plan to demolish the beautiful, iconic Promenade and replace it with a six-lane highway.

Speaking to a very upset audience last week, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg explained that due to deterioration under the Promenade there were only two options — an eight-year plan or a six-year plan, each in its own way devastating to Brooklyn Heights and the adjacent areas.

Trottenberg promised to “look at every option … we will look at the tearing down and we will look at the tunnels.”  

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

Yet she seemed to dissemble on the possibility of a tunnel.

“Tunneling through urban areas … is very hard. If you don’t do it well you can destroy your subway lines, you can destroy the buildings above,” she warned.

Trottenberg is aware that some very intricate tunneling was required in the final construction of Manhattan’s long-delayed Second Avenue subway. Tunnels are being bored in countries all over the world; in fact, there may come a day when the dilapidated Gowanus Expressway is razed to create a new neighborhood atop a tunnel that sends speeding motorists on their way to points north and east.

Could a Gowanus Tunnel extend through Brooklyn Heights, obviating the need to destroy the Promenade and run 150,000 vehicles through the heart of the neighborhood? This is a matter that could be best considered by Brooklynite Carlo Scissura, who heads the New York City Building Congress and has come out strongly in favor of the tunnel.

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One-Way Verrazano Toll Takes Heavy Toll on Brooklyn Heights

Meanwhile, Trottenberg must also be aware that several thousand trucks could easily be diverted simply by enacting the original two-way toll on the Verrazano Bridge.

For more than a decade, U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler has campaigned for the reinstitution of the two-way toll. As far back as 2010, he said, “Heavy trucks coming from the east and west save tens of millions of dollars annually by reaching the city through the toll-free Verrazano, doing their business and later exiting through a toll-free roadway. The two-way toll would eliminate the flow of trucks entering New York City via Staten Island in order to escape the charges on the Hudson River Bridge and tunnel crossings.”

Lawyers who have visited and/or tried cases in courthouses in all five boroughs know that here in Brooklyn we have the classiest courthouse neighborhood, thanks to the cherished Promenade and the scores of restaurants and shops that have thrived on Montague Street and beyond for decades.

Speaking for the opposition, Councilmember Stephen Levin said it well.

“The Brooklyn Heights Promenade is a jewel and a gem of our city,” he said.

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Brooklyn Bar Association Foundation Sets Free Public Forum on ‘Elder Law Basics’ Oct. 15

In a classic example of lawyers doing good, the Brooklyn Bar Association (BBA) Foundation often presents free public forums on relevant issues of the law in which experts review a portion of the law and answer questions.

The next such forum, titled “Elder Law Basics: Planning for the Future,” takes place Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. at BBA headquarters, 123 Remsen St., according to Fern Finkel and Robin Goeman, who head the initiative.

They report that the forum will feature “well-recognized elder law practitioners speaking about financial advance directives, health care advance directives, financing long-term care, benefits, trusts and asset protection.”

For further information, contact Jen Bryan at [email protected] or call 718-624-0675 ext. 209. Reservations are recommended, and Bryan reminds us that light refreshments will be served.

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Retired Justice John Paul Stevens Bucks Precedent, Opposes Kavanaugh

It’s rare that any Supreme Court justice, sitting or retired, speaks out on a political issue. That’s why many in the legal community took notice when retired Justice John Paul Stevens announced at a public meeting his opposition to Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation, saying, in part, “I thought he had the qualifications to sit on the Supreme Court … I’ve changed my views for reasons that have really no relationship to his intellectual ability or his record as a federal judge … but I think his performance during the hearings ultimately changed my mind.”

“He has demonstrated a potential bias involving enough potential litigants before the court that he would not be able to perform his full responsibilities,” Stevens told a Palm Beach, Florida gathering.

Kavanaugh was named to our highest court several days ago, but the words of Justice Stevens will sit like a warning knell beside every decision he makes. Justice Stevens is a lifelong Republican, it should be noted.



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