New Security Cameras Installed at Grand Street Settlement

squadron/grand street settlement

On Friday, State Sen. Daniel Squadron went to Grand Street Settlement to help the 100-year-old social service agency celebrate the installation of a new security system.

He allocated $40,000 in state funding for 25 cameras, an upgraded monitoring system and new lighting. The installation was handled by the New York City Housing Authority, which oversees the settlement house’s building at 80 Pitt St.

Grand Street Settlement just kicked off a capital campaign, which will support a full renovation of its Lower East Side headquarters.

Sen. Squadron Asks For Full Review of 14a and 14d Bus Lines

14a bus on Grand Street. File photo.

14a bus on Grand Street. File photo.

State Sen. Daniel Squadron is taking another run at improving service on the 14a and 14d bus routes.

In response to persistent complaints from constituents, he has written a letter to the MTA asking for a “full line review” of the routes and ridership information.  In the past, Squadron has requested full reviews of subway lines as a way of focusing the transit authority on critical service issues.

In the letter to Veronique Hakim, president of New York City Transit, he explained, “M14A and M14D bus service is critical to the Lower East Side community. These lines provide much needed public transportation to a transit-starved area. My office receives complaints about long wait times for buses, bus bunching, and unexpected scheduling of the two lines.”

In 2014, the MTA rejected pleas from residents for more frequent 14A service. A transit official said that regular ridership surveys are conducted and schedules adjusted as needed.

After Many Delays, Security Door Finally Installed at “Baruch Addition” Building

72 Columbia St.

72 Columbia St.

The seniors at the Baruch Addition public housing complex bundled up this afternoon and joined State Sen. Daniel Squadron to celebrate a victory years in the making. A long-delayed security door has finally been installed at the NYCHA development.

Back in May of 2015, Squadron came to the building at 72 Columbia St. to announce he’d allocated $240,000 for the project. It included a new automatic front door, intercom system and keyless fob entry. The installation was supposed to be complete this past September. But this is NYCHA, meaning almost nothing happens when it’s promised. After a ribbon-cutting ceremony today, the residents went inside for a training session on using the new security system.

Squadron said security issues are the number one concern he hears across the community, so he was happy to fund the project. But he added, “The job isn’t done.” While NYCHA is getting better at handling maintenance issues, the senator said, public housing residents still must wait too long for critical repairs and upgrades. Squadron called on the state to devote more money for public housing in the budget.

security door

After Lower East Side Death, A New Push For Elevator Safety Legislation

elevator safety1

State elected officials are hoping some good can come from the death of 25-year-old Stephen Hewett-Brown, who was crushed New Year’s Eve in an elevator accident on the Lower East Side.

State Sen. Daniel Squadron and Assemblyman Keith Wright renewed a push earlier today for passage of elevator safety legislation. The bill, which would mandate proper training for elevator repairman and require licensing, has been passed by the Assembly four times. Even though it has 40 sponsors, the Senate Majority Leader has blocked a vote.

Last Thursday night’s accident happened at 131 Broome St., part of the Grand Street Guild apartment complex. Brown had just pushed a resident of the building to safety on the third floor when the cab slammed down and trapped the aspiring musician from the Bronx. Residents of the complex have been complaining for years about safety problems with the elevators.

elevator safety2

Squadron, who represents, the Lower East Side, and Wright were joined by members of the tenant association, community leaders, representatives of the International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 1 and other labor groups.

In the wake of the recent tragedy, said Squadron, there’s an urgent need for action on the legislation. “The death of Stephen Hewett-Brown is a reminder of the need for common-sense standards for elevator work,” he added. Wright (a Harlem Democrat) sponsored the Elevator safety Act with Republican Sen. John Bonacic. Squadron is a co-sponsor. “It is shocking and unthinkable that New York State doesn’t do everything possible to protect the safety of its residents,” said Wright. “To think that the tragic death of Mr. Hewitt-Brown could have been avoided with proper elevator upkeep by licensed professionals is more than enough reason to take action today and pass (the legislation).”

In November, the Post reported that the de Blasio administration opposes the state bill:

Administration officials said a state law is unnecessary because the city’s Buildings Department already has strong elevator- licensing regulations and oversight, and data show elevator use has become safer. There were 50 mostly minor elevator accidents last year, down from 105 accidents in 2007 — a 52 percent reduction, city officials said. Under city rules, building owners are required to hire a Buildings Department-licensed “elevator agency director” with 10 years of experience handling elevators. Elevator inspectors working under the director are also licensed. “Creating another layer of regulation through a state license issued by an agency [the state Labor Department] with no experience regulating the elevator industry is duplicative, serves only to confuse, and does not constitute sound public policy,” said the mayor’s Albany legislative director, Sherif Soliman.

Earlier this week, Grand Street Guild Management told The Lo-Down that a 2012 modernization of the elevators was “overseen by an independent elevator consultant and licensed architectural firm.” Jay Yablonsky of Wavecrest Management added that the work was “signed off by both HUD (which funded building renovations) and the New York City Department of Buildings.” Alexander Schnell, Buildings Department spokesperson, told us, “Accidents like this are extremely rare. The city’s elevators make billions of passenger trips every year without incident.”

An investigation into what caused the accident is ongoing.


MTA Bus Town Hall Meeting November 17

After Years of Advocacy, New Sidewalk Installed at Rutgers Houses

Squadron Report Shines Light on Worst Subway Stations

State Senate Human Services Hearing Held at Henry Street Settlement

Putting 311 to the Test: What Really Happens When You Try to Complain About an Illegal Bus?

$450,000 in New Security Cameras Coming to Smith Houses

Security Upgrade Coming to Baruch Addition Thanks to $240,000 in State Funding

Smith Houses Leader Aixa Torres Honored in Albany

Senator Squadron Wades Into Debate Surrounding Skelos

Squadron Holds Community Convention on the Lower East Side

Squadron Holds Community Convention on the Lower East Side Sunday