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Queens Chronicle

CB 9 OK’s City Line pedestrian plazas

Malls on Drew Street and 101st Avenue to be installed this month

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Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:52 am, Thu Oct 17, 2013.

Community Board 9 approved a proposed pedestrian plaza in City Line on Tuesday night.

The malls are planned for the south side of 101st Avenue between Drew and 78th streets and the small section of Drew Street between 101st and Liberty avenues.

The city Department of Transportation presented its plans for the pedestrian malls at last month’s meeting, but the board tabled a vote on the project until October and asked the DOT to provide evidence of support from 101st Avenue merchants and Drew Street residents.

The plazas were proposed by the Bangladeshi-American Community Development and Youth Service, an organization representing the Bangladeshi community in City Line. Proponents of the plazas say it would be a gathering place for neighborhood residents and would beautify the community that had in the past been plagued by high crime and urban blight.

The DOT came to Tuesday’s meeting with letters of support from a handful of businesses near the proposed plazas and from residents on Drew Street.

The plazas also have the support of Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park).

“I support this,” Ulrich told CB 9 at its meeting in Richmond Hill Tuesday night. “I think this is going to have a very positive impact on the community.”

He praised BACDYS for taking the initiative to approach the city about the plazas.

“It shows they are seeking to be positive and productive members of the community,” he said, “and that’s a good thing.”

Bill Brzozowski, a resident of Ozone Park, said he was opposed to the plazas and felt there was not enough notice that the malls were being planned.

“Myself and many of my neighbors only found out about this recently through newspaper articles,” he explained to the board.

Brzozowski suggested that the city and BACDYS should focus on fixing up a park at Elderts Lane on the Brooklyn side of the border just two blocks from the site of the proposed plazas, including refurbishing a World War II memorial there.

Darma Diaz, president of BACDYS, said later in the meeting that her group is dedicated to fixing up the Elderts Lane space and restoring the memorial and would hold an “It’s My Park Day” event on Oct. 19 there where volunteers will rake leaves and clear the lawn area.

The leadership of CB 9, meanwhile, appeared to be convinced the plazas were a plus for the community.

“I’m totally for it,” said Jim Cococillo. “I think the board can see the positives it would have for the area. It would make the board area a better place.”

Andrea Crawford, CB 9’s transportation committee chairwoman, said the plazas would bring a positive presence to City Line.

“We’re very excited they’ve crossed over to Queens to propose this,” she said.

DOT representative Emily Weidenhof, said the plazas are built to be temporary and could be removed if it proves to be a problem.

Cocovillo added that the board’s primary concern, safety, was eased when earlier in the meeting, Deputy Inspector Hank Sautner, commanding officer of the 102nd Precinct, said his command wouldn’t be affected by the plazas.

“I don’t see anything there that would drain our resources,” Sautner said earlier.

Weidenhof said the plazas would be built starting next week and could be completed by the end of the month.

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