Women’s Ride sets off from Queensbridge

Women gathered on bikes at Queensbridge today ahead of a seven-mile ride to Borough Hall to highlight the gender gap in the cycling community and to call for more bike lanes in Queens.

A few notes:

More notes after the jump

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Astoria N/W subway construction pause for Easter and Passover = delay timeline or good thing?

Business owners are anxious for construction on the elevated N/W line in Astoria to wrap up. So a pause in the work sounds like a potential delay of the June deadline but that might be a good thing?

Construction on the 30th and 36th avenue stops will pause for the Passover and Easter weekend next week, it was revealed at a Community Board 1 meeting tonight. Florence Koulouris, the district manager, said she was aware of a letter from the MTA to the NYPD stating the pause. Naturally someone at the meeting asked if that meant a delay on the timeline. Koulouris said that detail was not in the letter. 

Koulouris told me she really didn’t know if the pause would delay the timeline. But even if it does get delayed, she said, it might be better to have a construction pause during the spring holiday season and potentially delay the timeline than to have construction during the Easter/Passover weekend when people will be going to the businesses. She said June might be slower for business anyway. I asked if she could share the letter with Corner and she said with NYPD’s permission maybe later.

LIC High School football field site for protest action

I think we’ve all tried one time or another to walk through the crowds of teenagers on the sidewalk along Broadway at Long Island City High School. Even at the far west end, it’s a busy road down there, so maybe that’s why during the nationwide and citywide student walkout against gun violence yesterday, LIC High School students spent their 17 minutes of protest on the football field.

A few notes:

  • A federal crackdown on the MTA for failing to comply with disability standards for a subway renovation in the Bronx has created an alliance between Trump-appointee U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman and Democrats such as State Sen. Michael Gianaris. “The MTA’s continued emphasis on style over substance wastes scarce resources, hurts transit riders, and stunts our economy while its failed Enhanced Station Initiative continues to cosmetically renovate stations without improving service or accessibility,” Gianaris said, reports City and State. There has been outcry in Astoria as renovations on the N/W line don’t include elevators.
  • The MTA plans to prepare Long Island City’s transit for the 2019 L-train shutdown by removing the airport-type automated walkway and widening and adding stairways at the Court Square hub and creating a free transfer between the 23-Ely Ave G and Hunters Point Ave 7 stops as Vice explains. In its Queens angle of the shutdown, the piece delves into the concerns people in Queens are having.

    “The members appeared frustrated, not just with what the shutdown could wrought, but what this area of New York City will face in the coming years. According to severalreports, Long Island City has witnessed the most apartment construction in America since 2010, with thousands of additional units in the works. If there’s no infrastructure in place to handle the shutdown, what does that mean for the entire region’s future?”

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Simotas introduces bill to save businesses harmed by subway disruption

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One day, I can almost make it out in the distance, the clouds will part, and the N/W stations at 36th and 30th Avenues will reopen and we won’t have to simply stay in our homes all day. But until then, small businesses near these stops say they are suffering. State Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas hears them. She has introduced a bill that would offer the business owners tax credits if they see a 25% loss due to a state or city project.

Of course this made me wonder about the Second Avenue Subway. Efforts were made to protect those businesses from the decade-long construction (longer than our eight months) but all I see is grant proposals that were specific to the area. Simotas’ bill in contrast is wide-reaching, applying to the whole state, presumably forever and would apply to “infrastructure” projects in general, according to Queens Chronicle.
The stations are expected to reopen in June, the month when the 39th Ave and Broadway stations are set to close.

H/T Queens Chronicle.

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Quiet 44th Drive corner becomes rallying ground against EDC waterfront development plan

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The deep end of 44th Drive west of Vernon Boulevard in Hunters Point is usually a quiet stretch, all concrete and bricks with a great Midtown skyline view. But today several dozen people, including elected officials of the area, held a rally around some parked cars to say no to the city’s current rezoning and development plans for the strip. The current plan calls for rezoning two lots for housing, manufacturing, offices, park space and a school. The protesters say too much is being given away.

 

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The Economic Development Corporation put out Requests for Proposals early in 2016 to redevelop 5-40 and 4-99 44th Drive where the Department of Transportation and the defunct Water’s Edge restaurant are. Last summer the EDC revealed its plan with TF Cornerstone as developer. The plan involves 1,000 rental units and 100,000 square feet of industrial space. Some 250 or 25% of the units are supposed to be affordable.

Long Island City Coalition and allies want a shot at influencing a different plan. Part of the issue is population density given the state of transit and what’s said to be overcrowded schools. “We’re being walled in,” a musician said to the crowd. Instead, opponents have floated ideas such as more park space, a community center or a big school. “A permanent solution for overcrowding is this beautiful building,” someone said of the DOT behemoth behind the rally. “This is a public space. We own this,” Brent O’Leary of the Hunters Point Civic Association said.

I asked Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer if he has a plan to bring an alternative plan to the EDC. “EDC has to come to the table,” he said, as in have forums where the community weighs in. I asked how long it will take to get an alternative plan through. “Whatever amount of time that would take, it’s worth taking.”

Blissville just can’t with 100 single men shelter

Homeless shelter sitings seem to always be controversial. But the one set up last year at the City View Inn at 33-17 Greenpoint Ave in Blissville was recently converted from a family shelter to a shelter for… 100 single men. I think the discomfort level goes up a few notches in such cases, as I saw at the CB2 meeting Thursday night. You can see some highlights of the Blissville shelter discussion in this video.

A few notes:

  • There will be a rally about zoning and a TF Cornerstone development in LIC on Saturday at noon. I think I’ll be there to cover this.
  • Councilman Costas Constantinides says he wants to convert the Broadway Municipal Parking Field (lot) into senior citizen affordable housing.

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  • A new ferry route is opening this summer from LIC to LES.
  • There’s going to be a 4th annual open 1.2 mile run in Sunnyside on the route of the St. Pat’s Parade from 12:30 to 1 on Sunday before the parade begins.
  • A “Healthy Living Pharmacy” will open this month (or is opening) in Queens Plaza at the base of Luna, a building set to open at 42-15 Crescent Street.
  • If you happen to be in jail soon, you might catch some arts. The Public Theatre will present Henry V at the Queensborough Correctional Facility in LIC 4/4.

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