The first public hearing on Flushing Commons will be held tonight by CB #7, and it promises to be a raucous affair since the community is in a state of high dudgeon over the high handed-and secretive-tactics of EDC.
As we commented last week-citing a NY Daily News story on the project: "Apparently EDC did all of this in secret-and waited for the keen eyed John Liu, a project critic, to leave his council office before certifying the project for ULURP: "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."
But the project is going to pose a nightmare traffic problem for the already car inundated Flushing-something that the developer's EIS only barely acknowledges, even while it projects gridlock conditions! And the nightmarish conditions will be exacerbated-aided and abetted is a better term-by the Willets Point development that will be Flushing's intrusive neighbor.
WPU's Brian Ketcham provides this futuristic glimpse in his testimony for tonight-and underscores by doing so how these developments are promoted without really acknowledging all of the companion development that is occurring in the surrounding neighborhoods: "You have already approved the Willets Point project, 9 million square feet of residential and commercial development that will produce 80,000 car and truck trips daily, 365 days a year. The Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement (FGEIS) reports that Willets Point traffic will gridlock your community morning, noon and night. And that is without accounting for projects like the nearby Sky View Parc nearing completion, a project that will add a thousand more trips in the PM peak hour, or what happens during Mets games and/or tennis matches."
It isn't, however, just one or two projects causing the problems here: "What I have found in my review for Willets Point United is that the FGEIS for Willets Point failed to fully account for Sky View Parc and ignored the effects of Flushing Commons. In fact, there is little evidence that the FGEIS accounted for many of the 90 new developments surrounding the Willets Point Iron Triangle. You folks approved a project--Willets Point--that vastly understated its traffic impacts and still reported gridlocked traffic conditions. Clearly, adding another 800 to 1,000 car and truck trips from Flushing Commons in the PM peak hour to an already gridlocked Main Street will simply make life for you folks that much worse."
So, it appears to us that the greening of NYC that is hyped to a fare thee well by PlanNYC 2030 is simply a self promoting scam of the mayor's-echoing Machiavelli's maxim that it is better to appear good than to be good. Memo to Bloomberg (and to his useful environmental idiots): You can't talk about sustainability and the lowering of carbon emissions while promoting scores of hugely auto-dependent projects all over the city.
The mayor's eight year record on development has been distinctly anti-neighborhood, and anti-small business; an impact that has done little to provide real collateral economic benefits to the city as a whole while, at the same time, seriously eroding the quality of local neighborhood life. Willets Point, and now Flushing Commons, are representative of this community killing development mindset and deserve a common fate-demise.