Tuesday, August 21, 2007

THE CROWDED FUTURE OF NYC


Mayor Michael Bloomberg has outlined the future of New York City in a press conference on Dec. 12. He depicted a population growth from the present 8,000,000 to 9,000,000 in the very near future. We have recently witnessed floods, trees falling and even a tornado. Our sewers and infrastructure are obsolete to a point where millions of dollars of damage is inflicted on New York City properties, not to mention a danger to lives.We’ve outgrown our infrastructure, our schools and hospitals are overflowing and our quality of life is depreciating rapidly.

Yet developers are encouraged to build affordable housing and offered abatement incentives. The new 421-A Property Tax Abatement program would destroy a borough like Queens. Developers are replacing one- and two-family homes with 10-story and higher buildings. Our new aggressive developers would not respect the criteria for these incentives because enforcement does not exist. Developers would take full advantage of this lack of enforcement and abuse the program. They would reap the tax abatement rewards of the program and build massive apartments wherever a vacant lot exists. One- and two-family homes would be torn down and replaced with larger buildings. This already is happening in Queens, in neighborhoods like Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona and Sunnyside.

To further exacerbate the destruction of Queens our roads are in disrepair, our subways are inadequate, traffic is burdened with taxis, legal and gypsies, school buses, airport traffic and commuter automobiles carrying non-city dwellers to work and back home daily by the thousands.

We support three airports, thousands of trucks in our streets supplying 8,000,000 people with the necessities of daily life. We learned this summer that our power plants couldn’t furnish the necessary requirements for our present population. Before new building permits are issued, a thorough study should be completed to insure that the antiquated infrastructure could support the proposed development. Presently along Queens Boulevard dozens of high-rise buildings are in development without taking into account infrastructure or traffic problems. Instead of encouraging additional building in New York City, outlying cities and communities should absorb the population growth currently being attracted to New York City.

A 1-mile stretch along Queens Boulevard, from Broadway to 63rd Drive, is the most overdeveloped and congested in New York City. At present, this mile long area consists of Queens Center Mall including Rockaway Bedding and Target and approximately 15 other stores, Queens Center Mall with JC Penney, Macy’s, and many other smaller stores. On this street are six banks, a Sears Auto Center, St. John’s Hospital. Rego Park Mall consisting of Sears, Marshalls, Bed Bath and Beyond, Circuit City, Old Navy and other smaller stores. A large P.C. Richards and Levitz are also in this area. In addition to the many retail stores and 12 multistoried apartment buildings, there are five, 6-story garages at Macy’s, St. John’s Hospital, Queens Center Mall. These garages attract thousands of cars daily for customer parking and commuter parking.

Presently, there are proposed plans to build two 17-story apartment buildings at the intersection of Broadway and Queens Boulevard.Also planned are two 18-story apartment buildings including retail and commercial stores at a site on Queens Boulevard and 60th Avenue. This overdevelopment of a 1-mile stretch is short sighted and will have a negative impact on traffic, infrastructure, schools and public transportation. At present the Grand Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard subway stations are overburdened to capacity. The communities of Elmhurst and Rego Park will be impacted to limits with all this additional proposed construction.

Bloomberg, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, City Planning and the Buildings Department must thoroughly study this area and take the necessary steps to rezone and remedy this overly congested area before any additional construction takes place. Automobile traffic is deplorable. Our subway and bus transportation is overwhelmed and the problem is continually getting worse.

Bloomberg’s prediction of future 12-hour rush hours is not an acceptable option for an overpopulated New York City.

Nick Pennachio
member of Community Board 4

(With this letter, Nick may be positioning himself for removal from CB4)
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