It’s always gridlock alert day in Downtown Flushing.
Calling it “the perfect storm,” Flushing developer Michael Meyer said last Friday at a Community Board 7 district cabinet meeting that changing bus routes, construction and increased traffic have exacerbated the situation over recent months.
“I’ve never seen such a bottleneck in my life and I’ve been around the world,” said Meyer, president of F & T, which is developing the Flushing Commons mixed-use development with the Rockefeller Group at the site of the former Municipal Parking Lot 1.
He said some inconveniences were expected during the multi-year construction project, but that no one had anticipated so much gridlock.
Joe Kennedy, representing the MTA, said the Q17 and Q27 buses have been rerouted from stopping at St. George’s Episcopal Church on Main Street to 138th Street, between 38th and 39th avenues. “The buses have a big problem turning around on 37th Avenue and the only way to solve the problem is to eliminate vehicles in the area,” he said.
CB 7 District Manager Marilyn Bitterman explained that the historic church foundation was deteriorating due to vibrations from all the buses. In addition, drivers were urinating on the structure and the Main Street stop was making it difficult for church dropoffs.
Meyer also believes the casino buses parked in the area add to the problem, as does Bitterman, but Kennedy downplayed their importance.
Capt. Tom Conforti, commanding officer of the 109th Precinct, said that the 37th Avenue traffic flow is backed up from Main Street, past 138th Avenue to Union Street, where the precinct is located.