Kingston Times letters: Apology not accepted; roundabout should be reconsidered

A lot of money for 45 minutes a day

Does anyone see anything wrong with this picture? An original estimate of $5 million is now projected at $13 million-plus and we have yet to put a shovel in the ground. Ten lanes of vehicular traffic merging into a two-lane circle sharing space with a 10-foot-wide pedestrian/bicycle lane to eliminate “delay and confusion.” A $13 million-plus project to eliminate traffic congestion, a situation that occurs morning and evening for about 45 minutes.  By the way, “congestion” means having to possibly wait for the next traffic light sequence change. $13 million-plus to inconvenience residents for the next two years.

To compound this lunacy, you may recall the original justification for this project was to remove vehicular traffic congestion  The same DOT consultant who came up with the roundabout idea said the same end result could be achieved by new lane markings, new signage, and new traffic lights at a cost of less than $1 million. Since no shovel has yet been put in the ground it’s not to late to pull the plug on this roundabout idea and implement the $1 million suggestion. There are better uses for that $13 million. All it takes are the key game players to say no. Congressman Faso, Assemblyman Cahill, Mayor Noble, are you listening and do you have the courage to say “let’s rethink this project”?

Ron Dietl
Kingston

Some ideas on the roundabout

Is it a roundabout or a merry-go-round? Either way, in the end it is a done deal, the completion of an effort to create a complicated and dangerous, vehicular traffic maze with matching bookends at the two ends of Interstate-587. There have been comments made that the reason for this is the congestion on Clinton Avenue, which is compounded by the extension of Schwenk Drive.

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Well, the fact of the matter is the only reason the extension was built originally was because when they buried the uptown fire station on Urban Renewal land, Frog Alley in the ’70s, and they needed more access out of the Uptown Business District, because traffic was so congested there even then.

As I look at the design, I am most amazed that there appears to be elevated walkways over 587. I am not sure if there will be one or two, however. Does anyone realize how high these will have to be? Well, they will have to meet highway elevation rules to accommodate tractor-trailer clearance, at least 14 feet, maybe more, or some trucks will have to take the Clinton Avenue route adding more traffic and infrastructure stress on uptown streets. At 14-plus feet, how are pedestrians going to access them? That’s a lot of stairs, especially with someone pulling a grocery cart, or pushing a baby carriage. Will there be elevators as well? Will it be covered in winter to prevent ice and snow? Who will maintain it? What will be the cost? There will also continue to be the dangerous merging of two and three lanes of traffic at Albany Avenue going north, and Broadway going southeast.

The only real answer to reduce traffic congestion is an exit off of 587 to Kingston Plaza or Schwenk Drive that however would require federal highway approval which is truly doubtful, especially if it would cost less money and prevent two years of disruption at the present interchange. It would also truly lessen traffic congestion through Uptown. Maybe the owners of the plaza would trade some land adjacent to Dutch Village for the access road connection, in return for additional funding on their proposed Downtown Government Grant-dependent project elsewhere.

Bruce McLean
Kingston

Apology not accepted

No, Professor Benjamin your apology and explanation are not accepted. Your comments were hurtful and insulting to all who live in not only in New Paltz but the entire New York 19th Congressional District and beyond. Describing us as “People like us, people in rural New York, we are not the people who respond to this part of American culture” is disgusting! To paint all of us with your brush of intolerance and racism leaves me feeling unclean. That Donald P. Christian, president of SUNY New Paltz, describes your comments as “disappointing” is a sign that those responsible for running SUNY in New Paltz have no clue as to the gravity of your remarks. Words like outrageous, despicable, disgusting, cruel, and atrocious come to my mind but “disappointing” isn’t even in the arena.

We have come a long way since Rosa Parks decided to sit in the front of the bus. People like Professor Benjamin remind us that maybe it isn’t as far as we would like to believe. In the year 2018 we find ourselves facing the ugly face of racism right in our own backyards. It is not something any us expected and some would say ignore it and it will go away. Some people even think by shining a light on it we make it worse. Well, Professor Benjamin has assured us that like cancer ignoring it only leads to a malignancy of our values. As Churchill once said, let this be our finest hour and show the world community that we, the people of NY-19, are not remotely like Professor Benjamin and his friend Congressman Faso.

Donald P. Christian must amend his statement in response the remarks of Professor Benjamin in the strongest language he can muster. Further, Professor Benjamin must make a formal apology not only to SUNY but to the entire New York 19th Congressional District. He must make a personal apology to Antonio Delgado and his family. Finally, Professor Benjamin must resign his position at SUNY and SUNY must impose a penalty for his reprehensible remarks. We as a community can make sure this happens.

Chris Acosta
Town of Esopus

From the mud, a lotus

“No Mud, No Lotus.” So says beloved Buddhist teacher and writer Thich Nhat Hanh, now 91 years old. The lotus flower has to have mud in which to grow. No mud, no lotus.

In New York’s 19th Congressional District, we are deep in the mud with John Faso. He votes with and props up the current president, an open white supremacist. Now Faso has pulled out his own predictable dog whistle.

In fact, the more traction Antonio Delgado — a brilliant, earnest, visionary candidate — gets, the louder Faso’s whistle will be. Decent people cringe that our current congressman is so dirty. That’s what politicians do when their parties are regressive and have no good ideas. They play dirty.

The mud can grow a lotus, however. Each time Faso blows that whistle, donate what you can to Delgado’s campaign. Don’t waste your time arguing with bigots; instead, register voters. Give your time and treasure to a fantastic slate of regional candidates, including Antonio Delgado, Pat Strong and Jen Metzger for state Senate and Juan Figueroa for sheriff.

Together, we will transform mud into the most beautiful flower: legislatures that look like America and that truly represent people, not corporations. Legislatures that work in concert with citizens to fully realize cherished American ideals and promise—for equality, for opportunity, and for justice.

Michelle Sutton
Highland

First racist dog whistle

When I saw the New York Post, which does not publish in this district but is a flagship of the Rupert Murdoch disinformation fleet, blow the first racist dog whistle by publishing brief excerpts from a 2006 hip-hop recording by my Democratic Party opponent Antonio Delgado, I contemplated asking Congressman Faso, on his honor as a public servant to all residents of our district, to renounce the Post’s content and intent, and declare this contest to be one of substantive policy ideas.

Alas, he did not leave sufficient time to prepare my words before choosing to go in the opposite direction, and pick up the attack as his own. Let’s not mince words and cloud the issue: John Faso’s statement amplifying the Post article is racist, and the PAC-financed media ads are racist. Maybe their racism is strategically astute, as our district is overwhelmingly white and leans to the right, but that it can be exploited for gains in profit and power is what makes racism so insidious, and transforms it from individual bigotry to institutionalized oppression.

Steve Greenfield
Green Party congressional candidate
New Paltz

Thanks for stepping forward

Thank you, Jesse J. Smith and Kingston Times, for your investigative reporting in your article entitled “Bad Moon Rising” of July 19. That article considered at length and in depth the charges of sexual harassment and worse against Kingston-based writer Eric Francis Coppolino, who wrote a popular astrology column for Chronogram.

I never had any personal interactions with Mr. Coppolino, and like many in the area I found his astrology columns to be always interesting and sometimes profound. When I noticed that his February 2018 article was on the #MeToo movement, I turned to it eagerly. But I was taken aback by the tone of that article, which rather blamed the oppressed for their oppression, and strongly insinuated that the alleged oppression really isn’t all that bad, anyway.  His writing indicated lack of understanding about realities associated with being female and living as an identifiable female under structural male supremacism. 

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I was taken aback to the point that for the first time ever, I contacted Mr. Coppolino by emailing him at length. I made it clear that I had thought well of his writing, and I explained how and why in this case I found several of his points to be fallacious.  

In that February article in Chronogram, Mr. Coppolino basically blamed victims of sexual harassment for not using their voices, and he demonstrated his failure to understand that typically victims of rape, sexual abuse, and harassment face significant recriminations if they do report the malfeasance — including, if such abuse happens in a job setting, loss of vocation and loss of income, despite whatever the law says. And according to information in your article, ironically, but in keeping with the standard modus operandi of abusers, Mr. Coppolino continues to attempt to intimidate and harass his accusers, who have used their voices, back into silence.

I applaud their courage in stepping forward and speaking up. I look forward to Part II of this important story. 

Barbara Kidney
Shawangunk

Antonio Delgado — the people’s choice

In case you haven’t noticed, the nation is a wreck right now. As far as I can tell, the nation has not been this divided in a very long time. People are concerned about the foundation of the United States — and people are regularly taking to the streets to voice their outrage over what is going on in our country. I’ve taken part in more political rallies and marches in the last two years than in the rest of my life combined. We need change — and we need it now.

The November 2018 midterm election will be the first opportunity for us to take back Washington, D.C. and to help set our country onto a better path. With this in mind, I write to give my strongest possible endorsement to Democratic candidate in New York’s 19th Congressional District, Antonio Delgado.

As an active member of the Hudson Valley’s progressive movement, I’ve been fortunate to get to know Antonio well over the past year. I have heard Antonio speak to large crowds. I have interacted with him in small living-room conversations. One day, I spent an entire afternoon with Antonio knocking on doors of constituents — watching him in action. I was fully impressed with the degree of respect and grace Antonio brought to each interaction. Antonio is one of these rare people who genuinely wants to help make things better and who genuinely connects with people from all walks of life. Against this backdrop, let me say, in no uncertain terms, that Antonio is the real deal.

If you care about the future of our nation and are interested in making things better for generations to come, then the choice should be easy at the voting booth in November. If you want positive change, the choice can be summarized in two words: Antonio Delgado. Spread the word. This November, we fight back.

Glenn Geher
New Paltz

There is one comment

  1. Keep It Simple

    Regarding the Roundabout:

    YES: The current intersection is outdated; and frankly takes up way too much linear surface area
    …the dead zone it creates is one of the reasons for the “disconnect” between Uptown and Broadway Districts.

    NO: The best designed solution is not a new roundabout; it only increases the sense for residents,
    drivers and pedestrians that you are not in town, but you are on a highway – we should be designing the exact opposite solution.

    Yes: The sewer needs to be replaced, that added cost is no one’s fault; it is the result of the problem across the US, old infrastructure that we have no choice but to replace. So that is in my mind the actual point of entry into this entire project.

    YES: The project could be re-worked much smarter. How? Turn this into a literal 4-Way Sensor Driven Timed Stop Light. 587 from the North; Broadway from the South; and Albany Ave from the East and West. The existing side-street ‘merges’ on and off of Albany would be closed, the current roadway there would become landscaped pedestrian park, new sidewalks (and work with the commercial and apartment property owners on the intersection to rehabilitate their buildings, currently some of them are near a state of blight.)

    Surface level signage, not overhead, as is planned, also is an improvement to ‘localize’ the intersection.
    The existing center median on Albany would be removed as well and this would be built out to a 2-lanes in each direction scenario with a traditional landscaped median and longer turn lanes.

    A re-design similar to the described above would reduce paved land-use from the roundabout plan and the existing conditions by about 35%; repair the sewers; bring a more straight, aligned solution; create more ‘park’ space for the adjacent neighborhood. And save several million dollars.

    Any chance to scale this back a bit; insist on new landscaping and lighting and just a simpler, smarter, better aligned solution that uses far less land?

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