Since the launch of the Arverne Urban Renewal project - slated to bring 3,950 housing units to the area - hospital resources have been spread thinner in an already underserved area, officials said.
A wave of 23,307 new residents have moved to the peninsula since the project first began in 2002, according to a Long Island Power Authority census. With only half the construction completed, officials worry that already long ER waits will become not only tedious but hazardous.
"The population is growing in leaps and bounds and they need help," said Queens Borough President Helen Marshall.
At Peninsula Hospital - surrounded by new developments - ER visits rose 4.7% from 20,483 in 2005 to 21,449 in 2006, according to the latest figures from the state Health Department.
Emergency rooms filled as population rises in Rockaways
Local resident Cherie Fleet, who was at the St. John's ER recently after injuring her hand in a boating accident, said going to a hospital on the peninsula is a frustrating experience.
"You can't get any worse than out here," the dance teacher said of the long waits. "It's ridiculous, it makes you get up and leave."
"Those people moving out here in these new buildings and apartments - they better hope they don't get sick," Fleet said.