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Queens Chronicle

A win for Kew Gardens, small biz

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Posted: Thursday, July 12, 2018 10:30 am

State Sen. Leroy Comrie told the Chronicle this week that the businesses atop the Lefferts Boulevard bridge in Kew Gardens are not out of the woods just yet. But their collective futures sure look brighter today than they did 14 months ago.

On Wednesday morning, Long Island Rail Road President Phillip Eng met with a handful of Queens lawmakers and told them the MTA has come up with a plan to rehabilitate the bridge over the train tracks — the agency intially said in May 2017 that the deteriorating span, and the handful of small businesses on top of it, would have to be demolished.

We have yet to see any specific details as to exactly how the century-old bridge will be repaired, how much it will cost or how long it will take. And obviously, the devil is always in the details.

But the fact the MTA, of all agencies, has done a total about-face is, in itself, a surprising and refreshing development — one that Comrie, Assemblyman Daniel Rosenthal and Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz all heaped praise on Eng for.

Sure, the LIRR president deserves a ton of credit here. Multiple lawmakers have told the Chronicle that he took an immediate interest in saving the span upon his appointment to the position a few months ago, and it seems like he stayed true to his word.

But over the last 14 months, Kew Gardens as a whole has mobilized behind what civic leaders Sylvia Hack, Murray Berger and Joseph De May Jr. have called the neighborhood’s “commercial and social heart.”

Thousands signed petitions calling on the bridge to be saved, while business owners with shops on the span pressed state and city lawmakers to take up their cause.

And that they did. Koslowitz allocated $1 million to study saving the bridge. Comrie and Rosenthal introduced legislation requiring the MTA to conduct one — bills that passed the Assembly 110-4 and the state Senate 61-0 last month.

The MTA sure is easy to criticize — how many minutes did you wait for the subway or a bus today? But give credit where credit is due. Eng said in May the agency wanted to put together a plan to save the bridge and it looks like we have one. Now it’s up to Kew Gardens residents and elected officials to hold him to it.

Welcome to the discussion.

1 comment:

  • pvrjr posted at 11:07 am on Sat, Jul 14, 2018.

    pvrjr Posts: 315

    Another story of David vs. Goliath all over again. [rolleyes]