City Council Member Robert Jackson has pledged to fund the purchase and installation of street lights and security cameras along the northern end of Cabrini Boulevard, which is bordered by parkland and the back side of Mother Cabrini Shrine and High School, creating a lonely stretch that is usually more densely populated by parked cars than pedestrians.
Jackson’s announcement came during a Jan. 22 town hall meeting staged by Assembly Member Herman “Denny” Farrell and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer at Hebrew Tabernacle on Ft. Washington Avenue and W. 185th Street. (See sidebar for a round up of other topics covered.)
Jackson had hoped to include the capital expense item in the City Council’s previous funding cycle as a way of stemming the number of car break ins and vandalism.
Deputy Inspector Andrew Capul, also speaking at the town hall meeting attended by about 150 area residents, said the precinct, working with a plainclothes detail and surveillance vehicles, had logged 11 arrests for break ins and theft over the last couple of months.
The conversation about increasing security on Cabrini Boulevard was a continuation of one begun last year when the Hudson Heights Owners Coalition and other area constituents asked Jackson to fund increased security measures. When the money didn’t make the city budget, HHOC urged him again in early January, after several car windows were smashed in the area.
During the town hall meeting, the Parks Department was also urged to prune the vegetation lining parts of Cabrini Boulevard to increase visibility.
While Jackson’s funding will cover the cost of purchasing and installing the lights and cameras, another funding source will need to be tapped for operation and maintenance.
A sampling of issues raised at a Jan. 22 Town Hall meeting held at Hebrew Tabernacle by Assembly Member Herman “Denny” Farrell and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer:
* MTA proposal to eliminate around-the-clock booth operator at 181st Street A-train station. Farrell: “The MTA made sure to pick the things [to cut] to get the most response from riders. . . We will be watching what happens, make sure they understand that this is a very hilly terrain.”
* Infrequency of M98 buses picking up passengers downtown in the afternoon. Stringer, remembering the same complaint from previous uptown meetings, vowed to “break the cycle of ‘town hall dependency’” and challenged the MTA to come up with a solution. MTA liaison Marcus Book agreed, somewhat reluctantly, to at least meet about the issue.
* In response to a complaint about spotty shuttle service during ongoing A-train track work, Book said there were only six more weekends of scheduled repairs: Jan. 31, Feb. 7, Feb. 14, Feb. 21, May 2 and May 9. “And then we’re gone,” he said, prompting applause.