The Real Deal:
Even to passing observers, the strains on the neighborhood’s infrastructure have become obvious. While both the MTA and LIRR serve the area, the streets around Flushing’s Main Street are one of the most congested in terms of vehicle and foot traffic. For motorists and business owners, the availability and price of parking is a big concern. On any given weekend, traffic slows to a crawl as frustrated drivers circle crowded parking lots.
“It’s like putting a size 7 foot in a size 6 shoe,” said Dian Yu, president of Flushing’s Business Improvement District. He fretted that major traffic congestion will discourage the very consumers new developments are aiming to woo.
George Xu, CEO of Century Development Group, which is building a 14-story mixed-use project on Farrington Street and 35th Avenue, noted that his friends have begun parking north of Northern Boulevard, the thoroughfare that marks the northern edge of Downtown Flushing, just to avoid the congestion. Xu himself confessed, “I don’t like to drive there anymore.”
The city has also acknowledged the overcrowding. The de Blasio administration recently nixed a massive rezoning plan for Flushing West, an industrial zone between the 7 subway terminal and Flushing Creek that the mayor had targeted for affordable housing. The decision came after City Councilman Peter Koo, who represents the area, wrote a letter to City Hall, saying: “Concerns arose about the sustainability of nearly every major category in the urban planning spectrum — affordable housing, public transportation, traffic, school capacity, small business and residential displacement, and environmental remediation.”
Joseph Sweeney, a chairperson on Community Board 7, which includes Flushing, said he researched the rezoning plan and agreed that it wasn’t sustainable. “We were not ready for it,” he said.