From the Times Ledger:
The developer of the $800 million mixed-use Flushing Commons project planned for downtown Flushing has released data it gathered with the city Department of Transportation estimating the “worst-case” impact that anticipated construction could have on downtown traffic.
The data has contributed to a growing body of arguments that opponents have used against the project’s construction as it is planned, but a rising chorus of local voices is supporting the current traffic and parking plan.
Merchants and residents have long been concerned about the traffic headaches that Flushing Commons and other upcoming construction projects could cause.
Community Board 7 last Thursday learned that even without Flushing Commons, afternoon traffic at 30 downtown Flushing intersections could increase by as much as 27 percent.
If Flushing Commons’ impact is included, traffic could instead increase by up to 36 percent, according to the study.
The Flushing Business Improvement District passed three resolutions Monday, requesting TDC Development — the developer of Flushing Commons — make a number of substantive changes, one of which would require the company to include hundreds more affordable parking spots, to its plans if it wants to gain the group’s support for the project.
From the Daily News:
"There's a lot of really bad feeling because this entire project was done in secret and it was held off until John Liu left office," said Paul Graziano, an urban planning consultant and president of the Historic Districts Council.
In 2007, Liu, the local councilman at the time, was a vocal opponent when developers replaced the original plan, which included 2,000 parking spaces, with a 1,600-spot garage. He also helped secure a parking rate cap that could only be changed with city approval and input from the BID.
In the plan unveiled in January, parking rates are limited for five years only and the parking space count remains 1,600.
"It was [Liu's] project," said Chuck Apelian, vice chairman of Community Board 7.
"Peter Koo hasn't been involved at all," Apelian said of Liu's successor, who took office in January.
But Koo said he is just taking time to familiarize himself with the project and the issues that come with it.
"I want to go out and listen to everyone's concerns before I make my final decision," he said.