March 8, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan
A prominent development company is looking to install a small seating area on Jackson Avenue but Community Board 2 has several concerns regarding the safety of the location.
Rockrose, which owns several luxury buildings in the neighborhood, proposed installing a public seating area on Jackson Avenue between 43rd Avenue and 44th Drive at the Community Board 2 Transportation Committee meeting this week, DNAinfo first reported.
The seating area would be installed as part of the Department of Transportation’s Street Seats program, which adds seasonal seating areas sponsored by local companies along parking lanes during the warmer months of the year.
The proposed space in LIC would be about 60 feet long and seat about 30 people, said a DOT spokesperson, and would be placed in the parking lane in front of several Rockrose owned buildings, with tenants including coffee chain Toby’s Estate at 26-25 Jackson Avenue.
The Community Board 2 committee reviewed the plan on Monday night and had concerns regarding the safety of the location, said Transportation Chair Denise Keehan-Smith.
Under the proposal, the Street Seats would be installed in the parking lane near the intersection of 43rd Avenue and Purves Street with Jackson Avenue, which is often congested with traffic, she explained.
Keehan-Smith said that DOT would need to adjustment the traffic flow to prohibit left-hand turns from Purvis Street and U-turns before the seating area would be safe and approved by the Community Board.
“The seats cannot occur unless those changes are made for safety, and we will not consider the application until the changes are made,” Keehan-Smith said.
A DOT spokesperson said that the department is “reviewing community concerns” and will return to the Transportation committee for further discussion next month.
The proposed seating area would result in the loss of about 3.5 parking spaces during the “street seat” season, which typically runs from March to December. If CB 2 approves the plan, it would likely be installed by this summer and would be approved for multiple seasons moving forward, said the DOT spokesperson.
Per Street Seat regulations, the seating area would only be open during sidewalk café hours, and furniture would be taken inside after midnight on weekdays and after 1 a.m. on weekends.
If approved, Rockrose would be responsible for the cost of installation and upkeep of the Street Seats, though the DOT offers reimbursement for some of the cost.
Rockrose did not respond for comment by the time of publication.