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A Queens senior struck by an alleged drunk driver last week was at least the fourth person to die in traffic in Eric Ulrich’s City Council district in the last six months.
John Eberling, 76, was crossing Jamaica Avenue at 80th Street at approximately 4:30 on the afternoon of February 27 when he was struck by an SUV driven by Viveshdyal Thakoordyal, according to reports.
Thakoordyal, 45, was charged with first degree vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated, according to online court records. Though Eberling’s alleged killer was arrested and charged, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown has a history of granting favorable deals in DWI death cases. Last December, Demitrios Matsoukatidis received probation for killing Ditmars senior Lizardo Aldama. One year ago, Kent Lowrie pleaded guilty to manslaughter and received five years probation, a $1,000 fine, and a six-month license revocation for the death of 6-year-old Zhaneya Butcher in Jamaica. Streetsblog consistently provides helpful information about contacting relevant officials regrading the constant stream of otherwise unnoticed fatalities on our streets. Word On The Street “In all honestly, the workload frequently placed on volunteer CB members is often so large that only the retired or financially independent can put in the time without burning out.
Copyright NoticeThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. We continue our series on City Council candidates with a Q&A with government transparency advocate Ben Kallos, who’s running to represent District 5 in Yorkville, Roosevelt Island, and the Upper East Side. Streetsblog: The East River Greenway could serve as a primary route for walking and bicycling in the district, but it is disconnected and in need of upgrades. Ben Kallos: The Upper East Side has one of the lowest amounts of green space in New York, so we have to not only protect but expand our open green spaces.
BK: Improving protected bike lanes is vital to creating a safer city for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. SB: Select Bus Service upgrades have sped buses and increased ridership on the same avenues. BK: As a city council member, I will continue to champion the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. BK: I am a founding member of the Citi Bike program and have already advocated for the program’s expansion to include Roosevelt Island, with the support of Community Board 8 Manhattan and the Roosevelt Island Residents Association.
SB: How can the Council best use its powers to reduce vehicular deaths and ensure traffic justice citywide?
SB: The MTA is a state agency, but what actions would you like to see the City Council take to fund and expand transit service? BK: When residents in our district complained about the removal of station booths or agents resulting in increased crime and vandalism, my campaign launched a petitioning campaign to make commuting a little more pleasant.
Hi Kevin Love, thank you for you comment and my responses to StreetsBlog as well as those of others. Sian Green and thousands of other people who have been hit and crushed and killed or seriously injured by car drivers can testify to the negative impact of allowing cars onto the streets of New York.
The widows, orphans and loved ones of the people who have been poisoned and killed by car drivers’ lethal pollutants can also testify to the negative impact of allowing car drivers into New York.
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Proposed new City Council district maps - outlined over current maps - could alter Bronx politics.
New City Council maps drafted by the New York City Districting Commission could scramble the South Bronx and some observers believe Harlem politics are behind the proposed changes. The preliminary maps, lambasted by dozens of Bronx residents at a public hearing last week, push a historic East Harlem district far into the South Bronx and shuffle voting blocs in Highbridge, Mott Haven and Morrisania. The Commission, a 15-member panel controlled by Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, will revise the maps this month. But as they stand, the lines appear to lend the Bronx Democratic County Committee more political muscle and threaten Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito.

The Council district maps are redrawn every ten years to account for demographic changes and Bronx Dems want to add a ninth seat in their borough. The population of the Bronx grew 3.9 percent from 2000 to 2010, adding about 52,000 people, and several current Bronx districts are larger than average. East Harlem, Manhattan Valley, Randalls Island and part of Mott Haven currently make up District 8, represented by Mark-Viverito.
Carmen Vasquez, an East Harlem activist, said she believes Bronx and Harlem Dems are trying to freeze out Mark-Viverito, who could vie for Council Speaker next year against Harlem Councilwoman Inez Dickens. South Bronx residents blasted the Commission for removing the Concourse Village co-op complex from District 16. District 16 is one of two Bronx districts traditionally represented by an African-American politician and Concourse Village is an important African-American voting bloc, said Carlos Sierra, a former District 16 candidate.
Sierra also said Highbridge should remain in the 16th District because it has more in common with Morrisania than it does with East Harlem and Mott Haven.
The proposed maps could hurt Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo because the District 17 pol stands to lose her political familya€™s power base, Mott Haven.
Streetsblog continues our series on City Council candidates with a look at the race for District 11 in the Bronx, which covers Kingsbridge, Riverdale, Woodlawn, and Norwood. Four Democratic Party candidates are vying for the seat: Andrew Cohen, an attorney who also serves as a CB 8 member and legal advisor to Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz, deputy city comptroller Ari Hoffnung, track coach and businesswoman Cheryl Keeling, and activist and food wholesaler Clifford Stanton.
Streetsblog sent questionnaires to the campaigns to get a better understanding of where the candidates stand on transit, traffic safety, and transportation policy. Streetsblog: Riverdale was one of the first neighborhoods in New York to receive Slow Zone treatments from DOT, and an application is underway for Norwood.
Andrew Cohen: The Slow Zone in Riverdale is still being implemented as I write (new street painting was just installed indicating the 20 mph speed limit in the slow zone). SB: The Parks Department is planning to pave the Putnam Line rail-trail in Van Cortlandt Park, to connect with the paved trail in Westchester County.
AC: The Putnam Trail is currently in very poor condition with deep potholes and terrible drainage issues.
AC: The City Council has oversight authority for the Department of Transportation and can use this power to work with DOT to make our streets safer. I didn’t realize how this guy was a weasel until I saw this answer about the Putnam Trail and heard about his debate performance in Riverdale this evening.
There are 8,000 toxic creosoted rail ties on the rail trail in Van Cortlandt Park that need to be removed.
Brown’s office reported that Matsoukatidis had a blood alcohol content of .16, twice the legal limit for driving.
According to reports, Brown’s office feared Lowrie was not drunk enough to get a manslaughter conviction. To voice your concerns about neighborhood traffic safety directly to Captain Henry Sautner, the commanding officer, go to the next precinct community council meeting. Alex Batista is another Queens motorist whose manslaughter case was resolved with a plea deal. Plans to complete the greenway proceed on a project-by-project basis without a comprehensive vision for a continuous path from 125th Street to the Battery. I will support the proposed East River Blueway plan for a vision of a continuous waterfront greenway from 38th Street to 60th Street.
Prior to protected bike lanes, we were all crowded into the same streets, creating an unsafe environment for everyone. As chief of staff to Assembly Member Jonathan Bing, I had the privilege of working to pass the bus lane camera legislation into law that made the BRT system possible. I look forward to working with communities to reposition existing stations from low-need undesirable locations to high-need locations where the community is requesting them and will ensure that any expansion receives the same meaningful opportunity for community direction as was part of the initial launch. We can also make non-sensitive traffic and accident data available online in real time to hold government agencies accountable and ensure more collisions are investigated immediately.

He has been covering the movement for safer streets, effective transit, and livable cities since 2012. I think that bikers, small business and residents all share a similar goal: safe and accessible streets. Rather than hand the Bronx a new seat outright, the Commission has proposed nudging District 8 north.
Under the new maps, it would become majority Bronx, adding Mott Haven and Highbridge while losing Manhattan Valley, Randalls Island and La Marqueta, an El Barrio landmark. We begin in alphabetical order with responses from Andrew Cohen and will run answers from Cheryl Keeling and Clifford Stanton in separate posts.
It has been successful in slowing down traffic and has made travel in the zone unquestionably safer.
Do you want dedicated bus lanes and other service improvements for bus riders elsewhere in the district, and if so, where?
The trail should be upgraded to make it more accessible for runners, cyclists, pedestrians, and the disabled.
Through the legislative process policies can be developed which can make transportation safer.
Fighting for more money for mass transit is good transportation policy and good economic policy. Do they not understand that the VCP segment is just a small piece of a much longer corridor?
Instead, bike lanes should be part of complete streets, so everyone has room to safely navigate. In our district, the M15 on First and Second Avenues Select Bus Service (SBS) has been a resounding success.
The proposed Slow Zone in Norwood is well conceived and if approved, will go a long way to calming traffic in an area with desperate need for such measures.
Dedicated bus lanes are scheduled to be installed on Webster Avenue and I believe it will significantly improve service and reduce congestion and travel times for bus passengers.
Was the Councilmember familiar with the victim or his family, and would the Councilmember provide a statement about this 4th fatality in the last 6 months in the district? I am committed to working with the community to minimize the negative impact of bike lanes on small business and residents as well as increasing enforcement of traffic infractions by cars and bikes to keep both bikers and pedestrians safe.
In cities like Chicago, which have citywide BRT lines, traffic has been cut by as much as 80 percent. Please visit my website’s transportation platform where you can read, vote, improve and suggest your own solutions for a better city. I’ve already started to demand sustainable development so that new construction supports the local infrastructure in the areas in which they build — like funding local schools, parks and transit services.
As you know, Slow Zones need to conform to DOT specifications and I have not studied whether other areas in the 11th Council District would  be eligible for a Slow Zone but there are numerous areas in the District that are in need of traffic calming measures including Webster Avenue and the surrounding area. There are many seniors in the 11th Council District and the one talking traffic light that has been in stalled has been well received.
An added benefit will be that bikers currently forced to rely on streets to commute will be able to use the Greenway, keeping both bikers and pedestrians safer. The Putnam alignment, however should be for everyone’s use and that means the best quality surface possible.

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