Mayor Bill de Blasio’s State of the City address this week attempted to set out a far-reaching agenda to improve conditions throughout the City, but we worry that he may fall short on some of the lofty goals he proposed.
As we discuss elsewhere in this issue, in his speech, the Mayor announced a plan to build more than 11,000 affordable housing units at Sunnyside Yards. The announcement did not sit well with Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents the area, or with the Governor’s office, who both released statements opposing the plan.
We have frequently stressed the need for more affordable housing in the Borough, and we are pleased to see that de Blasio is continuing to push for more of it in the City, but adding more than 11,000 housing units in an already-too-dense area – and on property that is essential for transit in the City – is likely not a plan that will succeed. We hope the Mayor rethinks his Sunnyside Yards proposal and finds a more viable location for these housing units.
Equally problematic in our eyes was the idea to create a ferry service to launch two years from now to connect the Borough with other parts of the City. While a connection in Astoria is linked to the yet-to-start Astoria Cove project, forcing residents of the Rockaways to wait another two years for a service that they had and lost last year gives a bad impression to those who are badly in need of transportation options.
The Mayor should be directing elected officials to find ways to get ferry service restored to the Rockaways this year, not two years from now.
We applaud the Mayor’s vision for improvements in Queens, but we believe he must adjust his plans to better suit the needs of Queens residents.