The DOT created a temporary walkway along Union Street, between 37th and 39th avenues, to make it safer for pedestrian travel. Photo by Daniel Offner.
BY DANIEL OFFNER
Traffic issues around the Flushing Commons construction site have yet to cease, despite an amended stipulation with the Dept. of Transportation, made last December, requiring the placement of traffic control agents around the site during the duration of the construction.
However, according to State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), developers with TDC Development, the Rockefeller Group Development Corporation and AECOM Capital hired a couple of flagmen to direct traffic, instead of complying with the agreement.
“The developers think that hiring additional flagmen is sufficient,” Avella said. “But it’s not.”
One of the main reasons for the congestion was a closed sidewalk along Union Street, between 37th and 39th avenues. But after repeated complaints, the DOT agreed to provide a temporary pedestrian walkway on Union Street, to create a safe walking area.
While the DOT held up its end of the agreement, Avella said the developers failed to act responsibly by not fulfilling their commitment. On Feb. 19, Avella held a press conference to call on the developers to provide on-duty traffic control agents around the site.
“[The developers’] lack of action is putting people and motorists in jeopardy,” Avella said in a statement. “These developers must ensure that they provide traffic control agents to ensure driver and pedestrian safety.”
Another reason for the congestion is a blocked lane along 39th Ave., between 138th Street and Union Street. Apart from increasing traffic jams, the closed lane limits room for the Q13, Q16 and Q28 busses to pickup and drop off passengers.
According to Avella, police in the 109th Precinct – located only a few blocks away from the construction site – and the local Fire Department complain that emergency responders are also having a tough time trying to get down the narrowed street.
“The congestion caused by the construction is their responsibility and they must be held accountable,” Avella said. “They have to move traffic along… if we don’t, somebody could get killed.”
The development, which broke ground last summer, will convert a 5.5-acre parcel of land into mixed-use residential, commercial, retail and community space that includes a 1,600-space public parking garage.
For the latest updates on the development of Flushing Commons, visit flushingcommonsupdates.com.
Reach Daniel Offner at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @DanielOffner.