Downtown Flushing Bike Workshop

If you have ideas about how bicycles should be treated in Flushing, please come and give your opinion tomorrow May 24, 2017 at 6:30 P.M. at the Free Synagogue in Downtown Flushing:

41-60 Kissena Blvd
Flushing, NY 11355

We’ll look at some maps, talk about cycling infrastructure, and work together to increase safety for all road users. In honor of Bike Month, DoT will be giving out free bike maps and safety materials, including free bike lights and bike bells.

Our Eastern Queens Greenway group strongly supports building The Kissena Walk and hopes to eventually add extensions to help our neighbors get to our local businesses. The conversation at the Bike Workshop will help the community decide what improvements we make to our city.

Thank you Council Member Peter Koo, DoT Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia, Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce Executive Director John Choe for organizing this conversation for the public.

image

Kissena Corridor Park Updates

Our friends at the Kissena Corridor Park Conservancy have been making some great strides in improving our local parkland.

They were recently mentioned in the New York Daily News:

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/queens/parks-dept-build-queens-healing-garden-support-cancer-care-article-1.3118463?cid=bitly

The article mentions that the Meditation Garden will open in 2019 with $600,000 generously funded by Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Councilman Peter Koo. Credit was given to the Kissena Corridor Park Conservancy for the idea.

The New York Daily News quotes Dorothy Lewandowski (Queens Borough Parks Commissioner) as saying, “The goal all along was to create an outdoor space that benefits patients and family where they can go to enjoy nature and get some respite from the hospital”.

The progress on the Meditation Garden is very exciting. There is also a new project to build better paths within Kissena Corridor Park and linking the park to Kissena Park and Flushing Meadows Park.  You can help by signing this petition:

https://campaigns.transalt.org/petition/make-kissena-corridor-park-accessible-everyone-our-community

This new pathway would be similar to the Kissena Walk previously proposed:

image

If you’d like to become more involved, please join the Kissena Corridor Park Conservancy at their next meeting on Wednesday, May 31st from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM.

Flushing Hospital Boardroom, 5th Floor
146-01 45th Avenue
Flushing, NY 11355

The Kissena Corridor Park Conservancy will discuss updates on the Parks Department’s plan to build the Meditation Garden and also plans for the 2017 work programs.

Northern Boulevard Improvement Plan Revealed

The New York City Department of Transportation just released its proposal for increased access around Alley Pond Park, along Northern Boulevard and to the Douglaston LIRR Station. This is an excellent plan, and we couldn’t be more excited. If you agree that Queens deserves these infrastructure improvements, please sign our petition here:

https://campaigns.transalt.org/petition/northern-boulevard-and-joe-michaels-greenway-access

image

DoT’s plan will increase the quality of life of our neighbors. It connects Little Neck, Douglaston, Whitestone and Bay Terrace to a network of Queens parks. Most importantly, the infrastructure is built for families so everyone has safe access to enjoy our community.

image

We wanted to verify the urgency for these improvements, so we analyzed the data ourselves. We all know about the death of Michael Schenkman, who was killed as he tried to enter Joe Michaels Mile, but we wanted to know if this was an isolated incident. We looked at a larger area than DoT, since improvements on one part of a road often help the surrounding areas. Looking at the NYPD Crash Stats for just the CB11 section of Northern Boulevard from 2014 to today we found crashes that injured 23 cyclists, 82 pedestrians, and 300 motorists. No matter how you cut it, it’s clear that the current design of Northern Boulevard is not safe for anyone.

image

As an added benefit to DoT’s proposed design, automobile efficiency along Northern Boulevard will be increased. Currently, the traffic bottlenecks are at the intersections, especially Douglaston Parkway. By changing the traffic pattern and signal timing, drivers will see an improvement in service, in some cases decreasing delays by half.

The modern engineering work DoT has put together will help everyone who uses Northern Boulevard and especially our neighbors looking to get to the great parks in Queens. If you’d like to learn more, you can download the full proposal (pdf) from the DoT.

The most powerful thing you can do to make sure this is built is to register to speak in person at the CB11 Public Hearing about this plan. You don’t need to live within CB11 but you will need to to call (718) 225-1054 or email cb11q@nyc.rr.com today to let them know you’d like to share your opinion. Whether you speak or not, stand with us as we try to get this infrastructure passed on June 5th at 7:30 pm.

Middle School 158 (Auditorium)
46-35 Oceania St.
Bayside, NY 11361

Please tell your friends to join us at the meeting and to sign this petition for a better Queens. If you have any questions or want to volunteer to get the word out, we’d love for you to contact us.

Free Walking Tour in Downtown Flushing

Come out this Saturday, May 20th, for a free walking tour of Downtown Flushing. The route begins at the Flushing Quaker Meeting House at noon and explorers the local area until around 4:00 pm. The tour is run by the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce and the Trans. Alt. Eastern Queens Committee so you’ll be sure to learn about how downtown functions from the experts. Bring some money to taste the delicacies of our neighborhood.

image

The New Face of Northern Boulevard

On February 14, 2017 Community Board 11 requested pedestrian/bike access study of Northern Boulevard from the Cross Island Parkway and Douglaston Parkway.  The DoT has completed its study and on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 7:00 p.m will present its plan at the the CB11 District Office.

If you agree that we need safer access along this stretch, please sign our petition right now.

Over the past year the Eastern Queens Greenway has been campaigning for a family safe greenway along this stretch.  We made this a priority route after the death of Michael Schenkman last August.  On the corner of Northern Boulevard and 223rd Street he was killed while trying to get to the park.  We feel immediate action needs to be taken between this location and the corner of Northern Boulevard and Douglaston Parkway (outside Giardino’s restaurant) where a 14-year-old girl and a 16-year-old girl were run over by a driver.

We are confident that the DoT and Community Board 11 will work together to protect our community and increase the park access in our neighborhood.  Safe paths to parks is something every Queens resident should have.  If you agree, please add your voice today before this important vote:

https://campaigns.transalt.org/petition/northern-boulevard-and-joe-michaels-greenway-access

Free Hike this Weekend on the Motor Parkway

The Urban Park Rangers are leading a free hike this weekend along the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway.

Sunday, April 9, 2017
11:00 a.m.–12:30 a.m.

73rd Avenue and Hollis Hills Terrace in Cunningham Park, Queens

image

Our Urban Park Rangers do a great job at explaining the beauty in our own backyard.  Small hike like this are great if you want to know more about our environment, want to burn off a few calories, or just need a little time to relax in nature away from the stresses of our everyday lives.

This hike is consider Moderate, which means there will be some rugged terrain (so wear comfortable shoes and bring water/snacks if you think you need them).

See the official announcement for more information. Hope to see you there.

Participatory Budgeting Starts Today

The Participatory Budgeting is coming to District 23 today and it needs your support. If you are represented by Council Member Barry S. Grodenchik (here’s a map of his district) you get to decide how city funds gets distributed in our community.

We spoke to Joby Jacob, the originator of the only parks program on the ballot for this year and one of the founders of the Eastern Queens Greenway.

Continue reading

Queens Night Market Explained by Founder John Wang

The Queens International Night Market is a family-friendly event at the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The open-air night market features independent vendors selling merchandise, art, and food at affordable prices in addition to cultural performances and entertainment. Being a night market, it’s only opened on Saturdays from 6PM to Midnight, from April 22nd to August 19th and then September 30th to October 28th (tickets are required for preview nights April 22nd and April 29th). We had the pleasure to interview John Wang, the founder of the Queens International Night Market, to find out more about this magical experience.

image

The Queens Night Market is known for its affordability. We asked John why there was a decision to limit the prices at this market.

I wanted to approximate the experience I get as a traveler, poking around foreign markets that cater mostly to the locals, which often seem so affordable to a tourist. I can’t remember the last time I went somewhere in NYC and thought, “Holy cow, this is so affordable. I can’t wait to try everything and not blow my weekly budget.” And it occurred to me that there is no equalizer like affordability. If I wanted to create something that really prioritized diversity, it had to be uniquely accessible to the broadest possible demographic. That was the origin of the price cap. 

Continue reading

New Location For Our Next Meeting

The next time we come together to talk about street safety with our friends will be at the Old Quaker Meeting House in Flushing.  Our meeting will be on Monday, March 20th at 7:30 PM.

137-16 Northern Boulevard,
Flushing, New York 11354

image

The new meeting location is at the intersection of Main Street and Northern Boulevard, two of the heaviest used streets in Eastern Queens.  It’s walking distance from the subway (7 train), LIRR (Port Washington) and bus routes to all areas of Eastern Queens and beyond.

The building our group will come together in was erected in 1694 for Quakers meetings (with additional structures added later). A few decades earlier John Bowne was hosting these Quaker Meetings in his home, an action for which he was later banished to Holland (even though he was English and did not speak Dutch). In response to this religious oppression, supporters drafted the Flushing Remonstrance which Bowne brought to the Dutch West India Company. The Flushing Remonstrance is considered a precursor to the United States Constitution’s provision on freedom of religion in the Bill of Rights. From this petition the Dutch West India Company ordered Peter Stuyvesant to end religious persecution in the colony in 1663.

With reaffirmed freedom of religion, the Quakers constructed this building for meetings of worship. Although there have been gaps in service (in 1776 it was seized during the Revolutionary War by British soldiers) the building is still used for Quaker Meetings and is now considered the oldest place of worship still standing in New York City.

image

We truly appreciate the generosity of those willing to let us use this historic, centrally located space for our meetings.

Mid Queens Community Council Endorsement

We’re proud and appreciative of our most recent endorsement from the Mid-Queens Community Council. As an organization representing multiple community groups, the MQCC is well suited to understand large-scale projects, like family-safe connections among our network of parks. We thank everyone involved for their support and look forward to working with them to improve our neighborhood.

image

Continue reading