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The vote to name the pedestrian overpass...
By Kathianne Boniello
Community Board 11 voted by a large margin Tuesday to support naming a Bayside pedestrian bridge over the Clearview Expressway at 46th Avenue in memory of a boy who was killed on his bike there in August.
The vote to name the pedestrian overpass Christophers Crossing did not come without argument, however. Some board members continued to back an effort to name the bridge for both Christopher Scott, 11, who was killed last year, and John Shim, 10, who died in 1994 at the same spot after being hit by a car.
During the monthly meeting at MS 158, CB 11 also held public hearings on two separate group homes for developmentally disabled adults that are slated to open in Bayside.
CB 11 includes the communities of Bayside, Little Neck, Douglaston, Oakland Gardens, Hollis Hills, and Auburndale.
At the groups Feb. 5 meeting, a public hearing was held on the issues of naming the pedestrian bridge, but the board did not vote because there were not enough members present. The board did not hold a public hearing this week but did decide the issue.
After board member Loretta Napier, who is Christopher Scotts grandmother, made the motion to name the pedestrian overpass Christophers Crossing, CB 11 Vice Chairman Jack Como proposed an amendment to name the bridge the Christopher and John Crossing.
A number of residents attended CB 11s February public hearing to support naming the bridge Christophers Crossing.
Christopher was hit by a car and killed as he attempted to enter the Clearview Expressway service road at 46th Avenue from the pedestrian bridge while riding his bike. Since the accident the city Department of Transportation has made several changes to the site, such as a ban on bicycle riding, but has declined to install a traffic light or stop sign because of a low volume of traffic on the service road.
Como said naming the bridge for both children was a matter of fairness. While several board members seemed supportive of naming the pedestrian overpass for both kids, the amendment ultimately failed by a vote of 19-10.
After Comos amendment failed, the motion to name the bridge Christophers Crossing passed by 24-3.
The board also held two public hearings Tuesday night on a pair of group homes slated to open in Bayside. CB 11 holds public hearings on group home applications in accordance with state law, but the board follows its own policy and does not vote on them.
HeartShare Human Services of New York, a Brooklyn-based agency that operates 13 other group homes in Queens, bought a home at 56-51 214 St. in Bayside Hills for $372,000 and planned to make $115,000 to allow six developmentally disabled adults to move in.
Three men and three women with mild to moderate retardation were expected to occupy the home, HeartShare representatives said, and 24-hour supervision would be provided seven days a week.
While several residents spoke in favor of the HeartShare group home, Bayside Hills Civic Association President Jerry Iannece, who is a board member and city council candidate, said his group opposed the 214 Street house because of its small size.
We do not oppose these people in our neighborhood, he said. We believe there are more appropriate locations within the confines of Bayside Hills.
A separate group home on 40-03 204 St. operated by the Manhattan-based Association for the Help of Retarded Children, or AHRC, also drew little opposition. AHRC operates 13 group homes in Queens.
The AHRC residence would house four women and two men with mild mental retardation who would be supervised whenever they are home, Ellen Rosman, director of residential services for AHRC.
Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2001 Community Newspaper Group
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