Jan. 8, 2015 By Christian Murray
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer has “serious concerns” about the Department of City Planning’s proposal to extend the Vernon Mall beyond 51st Avenue to make way for public space.
The proposal, put forward by City Planning at a community board meeting in November, would extend the mall toward Borden Avenue and replace the strip where more the 30 cars are parked. The additional public space, the department argued, would complement the existing mall that has trees and benches.
However, the proposal has received some push back from local residents and business owners. They claim the loss of the parking spaces would hurt small business.
“I have serious concerns about the Department of City Planning’s proposal…because of some of the adverse impacts it would have to the community and local business.”
“The proposal to re-envision the Vernon Boulevard Mall is still at a conceptual stage, and my office will continue to hear the concerns of local residents and business owners to ensure their feedback is incorporated into a plan that benefits the entire community.”
At the community board meeting when the proposal was put forward, several board members were hesitant about the plan. While they appreciated the concept of additional public space, they were concerned that the lost parking spaces would cause problems.
“Parking is a big issue,” said Sheila Lewandowski, a Long Island City resident and board member, at the November meeting. “It is very important … for the local businesses.”
Meanwhile, Al Volpe, another board member, was very opposed to the plan. “You are going to kill the businesses down there,” he said.