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Mayor Bill de Blasio Comes to LIC, Discusses Traffic Issues, Zoning, Sunnyside Yards and More

Mayor Bill De Blasio speaking at the town hall co-hosted by Van Bramer (Photo: Mayor’s office)

May 3, 2017 By Christian Murray

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at a town hall meeting in Long Island City Thursday and addressed several local issues from traffic safety, the lack of green space to the sanitation garage by Ravenswood Housing.

The meeting took place at Queens Vocation & Technical High School in a forum where local residents asked the mayor, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and city agency commissioners a range of questions.

The mayor began the meeting by discussing several citywide issues. He told the 500-plus crowd that every officer in the NYPD would be wearing body cameras by 2019 and how he planned to introduce universal pre-K for 3-year olds.

The question-and-answer session dealt heavily with transportation and land-use issues.

The first question was posed by the external affairs director at LaGuardia Community College who asked what could be done to reduce the traffic dangers outside the college, which has approximately 50,000 students. She elaborated on the death of a 16-year-old student who was killed by a minivan while walking along the Thomson Avenue sidewalk in 2013.

“What we need are safe streets,” said Helen Ho, the executive director at the college. She said that the intersection where Van Dam Street, Thomson Avenue and Queens Boulevard meet is extremely dangerous and a street redesign was needed.

Mayor de Blasio acknowledged the issue, referring to it as a “real problem,” and agreed that work needs to be done.

De Blasio then said the city will commit $17 million in capital funds to increase safety at that intersection and the greater Thomson Avenue area.

One resident came to the meeting asking for stop signs at the intersection of 50th Ave. and Center Boulevard, as well as at 51st Ave and 5th Street.

The DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg was at the meeting and said that the agency has been conducting engineering tests to determine whether the level of traffic volume warranted traffic signals or signage was needed. At this point it had not reached that level.

“We will keep coming back,” she told attendees, adding that she is aware of how quickly the area is changing and how the population growth is affecting traffic patterns.

The mayor was also asked about how the city would address the lack of green space in the Court Square section of Long Island City.

De Blasio said he was hopeful that it might be addressed in the likely rezoning of the Court Square/ Queens Plaza district.

“In any rezoning it’s a chance to take stock of the needs of a community,” De Blasio said. “If people say open space…there a lot of ways we can achieve it in the rezoning process.”

The mayor noted that a lot of money comes into a neighborhood during a rezoning and if “open space” is concern “there’s a real opportunity to attach real dollars to it.”

One resident had concerns about the proposed Sunnyside Yards project, claiming that the approximately 20,000-unit proposal did not include enough affordable housing. The resident wanted all the units in the proposal to be affordable as opposed to 60 percent.

De Blasio, however, was quick to remind the resident that the development is years away.

“This is a sort of project your talking 10 or 20 years to ever come near achieving,” de Blasio said, adding that he was aware of the “tremendous concern at a community level” about it.

De Blasio said that some of the units in the proposal had to be market rate. He said if it were 100 percent affordable it would be too costly for the city to finance resulting in fewer units. He said a partnership with developers was therefore needed.

The mayor was also asked about whether the Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX), a light rail system that would go from Astoria to Sunset Park, would come to fruition. The Mayor said it was needed, given how stretched the subway system is, and is working to make sure it happens.

The Department of Sanitation Garage at 34-28 21st Street was also discussed and how the facility and the sanitation trucks idling on the streets caused noise and pollution.

Van Bramer at the town hall said the facility has “plagued the Ravenswood community for decades and decades.”

De Blasio acknowledged that the facility was a concern and said that money had been put aside in the executive budget to address it.

He said that $130 million is being allocated for a new sanitation garage to replace the existing facility putting an end to the problem.

For a full viewing of the meeting, see below.

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15 Comments

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Anonymous

…what IS DOT head waiting for…an accident, tragedy at corner of 50th and Center Blvd at HPS?? Not even two years into the opening of this residential bldg and as a frequent visitor at all different days, times…the corner crossing IS dangerous and warrants attention NOW!! Both signage and at least, a blicking or flashing light IS NECESSARY!! and worse…imagine LIC board having approved the soon opening of a restaurant with liguor license at the building’s ground floor at that very corner and entrance to building?? It’s not only absurd but so wrong!! If something does happen at that corner now as the busy season opens…DOT and Mayor di Blasio will have a mess in their hands! Must it come to that?? Common sense and an ounce of prevention here MAKES SENSE and will make it…right!!!

Reply
Yasss

He wants to propose Sunnyside Rail Yards project with nowhere to go!

They keep throwing money at an antiquated transit system that is being pushed to its limits

They let them build and worry about it later

Reply
MRLIC

The FAKE MRLIC wrote the May 5, 2017 9;01 a.m. Post about unmarked cars outside his window.

Reply
MRLIC

The FAKE MRLIC wrote the May 5, 2017 9:01 A.M. Post on unmarked cars outside his window.

Reply
i heart pizza

PAY ATTENTION BECAUSE ALL CAPS. Why are you posting at like 4am and 5am in the morning? Maybe you should take up tweeting if you want to join the early bird tweeters. Deblasio causes toe jams. He will date your mom just to spite you. He prefers dogs over cats. He loves beer over wine. the HORROR. What next? Reading comic books instead of shakespeare? What will these socialists make us do next!? Eat a pizza with a knife and fork?

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MRLIC

Why does it matter o yo when something is posted? At least I get my point across, does not matter when. I don’t tweet too many idiots on there. There is another FAKE MRLIC out there. Just be sure it is me. This time it is me. I discountb all the FAKE MRLIC posts when I come across them.

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MRLIC

Where are 20,000+ new residents going to park, take the train, walk the streets, drive,shop go to school etc.etc…? Dumblasio and Van Bramer want to push this agenda to line their pockets with DEVELOPER MONEY $$$$$$. Build at any cost the public be DAMNED!!!!!!!!! BQX Trolley another expensive pipe dream!!!! ^)5 affordable housing is a joke because we know it won’ really be affordable, and they know it too. The city can build 1005 affordable housing if they want to. It would help the housing process. DumBlasio however is talking 10-20 years down the road. What about the current shortage of affordable housing?

Reply
what you say?

O M G CAPSLOCK I AM SAYING THINGS HERE THAT ARE IMPORTANT. DOGS. CATS. ICE CREAM!

Reply
MRLIC

DumBlasio is a two faced read between the lines what I am saying Politician. Where would you put 20,-000 residents on the streets and sidewalks and buses and trains in LIC, it is over crowded now never mind 10-20 years from now. The city can’t afford to build without market rate housing. It is more about developers making money and filling Jimmy Van Bramer’s and DumBlasio’s pockets with CASH!!!!!!!!!!!!! Remember it is always about the MONEY$$$$$$. The BQX TROLLEY is a JOKE to further gentrify Astoria and other parts and increasing property values for tax purposes that only the well off rich people will be able to afford.

Reply
Anonymous

HOW CAN YOU HAVE 5,000 DISLIKES THERE IS NO WAY — OR LIC POST IS COOKING THE RATINGS –

Reply
MRLIC

Bill DumBlasio and Jimmy Van Lamer are obviously hiring paid shills to “dislike” my posts. I saw many unmarked cars outside my window while I was typing that, I KNEW it was suspicious. You can’t intimidate me, I will continue posting the TRUTH.

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