Costa plans to back Vision Zero to cut traffic deaths

TimesLedger Newspapers
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

Photo gallery

Former Councilman James Gennaro (l.) raises his former staff member Costa Constantinides' hand at the conclusion of the ceremonial swearing in. Photo by Christina Santucci
Councilman Costa Constantinides (l.) is sworn into office by former city Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. Photo by Christina Santucci
Costa Constantinides' wife Lori and son Nikolas smile as they watch the beginning of the inauguration ceremony from the crowd. Photo by Christina Santucci
Members of the Pancyprian Association Youth Dance Division perform a Greek-Cypriot dance during Councilman Costa Constantinides' inauguration at Long Island City High School. Photo by Christina Santucci
The Long Island City High School Dance Class performs a modern jazz number. Photo by Christina Santucci
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer addresses the audience in Long Island City High School. Photo by Christina Santucci
Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, (l.-r., front row) Bishop Mitchell Taylor, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, state Sen. Michael Gianaris and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz attend Councilman Costa Constantinides' inauguration. Photo by Christina Santucci
Former Comptroller John Liu (l.) and Deputy Borough President Leroy Comrie applaud. Photo by Christina Santucci
Public Advocate Letitia James addresses the crowd at Long Island City High School. Photo by Christina Santucci

Astoria’s new city councilman hopes to make his district safer, cleaner and greener, he told supporters during a ceremonial inauguration Sunday.

“This is your victory. This is your community, and I promise to work as hard as I can,” Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) told the crowd gathered at Long Island City High School.

An Astoria native and Democratic district leader who served as the legislative director for former Councilman James Gennaro, Constantinides described his long history in the area, visiting Astoria Park with his father, attending William Cullen Bryant HS, playing basketball in Ditmars Park with state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) and being hired for his first job at a pharmacy in the neighborhood.

“I met my wife here on Steinway Street,” he said.

Constantinides is the first Greek Cypriot to serve on the Council after he beat out several other candidates in the general election in November.

The councilman announced his plans to increase traffic safety, remove trash, lessen pollution and fight against plans to close traditional high schools like Long Island City HS.

He praised his predecessor, former Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., for his involvement in the fight to keep Long Island City HS and the Gifted & Talented program at PS 122 open.

The Panel for Educational Policy approved the co-location of Long Island City High School in November.

“The question remains, why did Peter have to spend so much of his time beating back the plans to eviscerate these treasured local institutio­ns?” Constantinides said, adding that he hoped to involve parents more in their children’s education.

Constantinides pledged his support for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero, which aims to decrease the number of traffic fatalities, praised a study into the feasibility of ferry service in Astoria and recommended that busy corridors like Vernon Boulevard be used for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Select Bus Service.

“That would make our wonderful neighborhood institutions like Noguchi Museum and Socrates Sculpture Park more accessible,” he said, pointing out that transportation could be used to connect the community to the Cornell Technion, which is slated to be built on Roosevelt Island.

Constantinides proposed an addition to PlanNYC requiring that at least 20 percent of new constructions be carbon neutral by 2030 and a study of the Bowery Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant in Astoria to see if it could be into a park, similar to Riverbank State Park, which is built over a sewage treatment facility on the East River.

He concluded his speech by addressing litter in his district.

“I would hear on a daily basis, ‘Costa, I’ll vote for you but you had better do something about the garbage,’” he said. “I hear those concerns very loud and clear.”

Constantinides said he is working with other electeds to draft a bill that would ensure the neighborhood has pickup every day. He also plans to bring the DOE Fund to western Queens and reintroduce a bill previously put forward by Vallone Jr. in the Council to raise the fines for illegal dumping in corner cans.

Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr., who performed the ceremonial inauguration, said his son, Vallone Jr. was unable to attend the festivities because of a virus.

But a bevy of other elected officials were on hand for the event, emceed by Constantin­ides’ “mentor,” Gennaro.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Public Advocate Letitia James, city Comptroller Scott Stringer, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas and Gianaris all spoke.

Deputy Borough President Leroy Comrie, former city Comptroller John Liu, Assembly members Rory Lancman, Nily Rozic and David Weprin and Council members Jimmy Van Bramer, Mark Weprin, Elizabeth Crowley, Ruben Wills and Karen Koslowitz also attended the ceremony.

Reach managing editor Christina Santucci by e-mail at timesledgerphotos@gmail.com by phone at 718-260-4589.

Updated 10:01 am, February 2, 2014
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

Reader feedback

bill d from astoria says:
How about cleaning the pig sty on steinway,between
astoria blvd.and 28th ave.we're getting sick of the slobs
getting away it and the people who clean after themselves
having to live with it.
Jan. 31, 2014, 10:54 am

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

Community News Group

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with the stories people are talking about in your neighborhood:

Optional: Help us tailor our newsletters to you!