Friday, June 25, 2010

Chronicaling Flushing Coalition

The Queens Chronicle reports on the neighborhood press conference that our Flushing Coalition had on the sidewalk in front of Muni Lot1 the other week: "On the congested corner of Union Street and 39th Avenue, just outside Municipal Parking Lot 1, the Flushing Coalition for Responsible Development held a preliminary demonstration last Thursday for its future City Hall rally against the Flushing Commons development project."

And the focus was on former Flushing BID Chair Jim Gerson: "The coalition — established by former Flushing BID Chairman Jim Gerson about a month ago — aims to preserve the jobs and investments of local merchants and residents and prevent gridlock in downtown Flushing as developers build Flushing Commons, a 5.5-acre complex of more than 600 condominiums, retail space, a YMCA, a public green and 1,600 underground parking spaces...His coalition has, in its infancy, secured broad support from the Chinese, Korean and cross-cultural business communities, according to its founder."

And the importance of the parking issue is emphasized by someone named Robert Lipsky-one of our many alter egos: "That logic surmises that the Rockefeller Group and TDC Development and Construction Corp. joint venture “will be the death knell for the 900 small businesses in the community because... it will eliminate all of the parking that you see behind you.” So said coalition lobbyist Robert Lipsky, accounting for the proposed 1,600 spaces that both “big box retail” employees and condo residents would monopolize once the complex was built."

The challenge now is for the Coalition to make the case that the huge complex will crush the vibrancy of Flushing-gridlocking the area, and making it impossible for the neighborhood's 900+ retailers to survive without access and sufficient parking. Mike Bloomberg, that development expert and mega builder disagrees: "Mayor Mike Bloomberg thinks otherwise: the “transformation of an underutilized five-acre parking lot into a mixed-use urban center will establish a new center of activity for this vibrant community” and create 2,000 permanent jobs and 2,600 construction jobs, he said in a press release on Wednesday."

But then again he, like the developer TDC, believes that most of the 2,000 workers will all be travelling by virtual mass transit-certainly not the already overcrowded 7 Train. If not, where will all of these new employees park? Perhaps in the 1600 parking spaces that the new development will be recreating. You do the math.