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Point of View: Traffic, housing woes spawned by rapid growth

Flushing is in great need of a multifloor...

By George H. Tsai

Flushing’s rapid growth has spawned parking problems and petty larcenies. It also has caused a shortage in affordable housing. These problems certainly degrade the quality of life of residents and shoppers.

Flushing is in great need of a multifloor garage to accommodate more vehicles or else the traffic jams certainly will get out of hand.

If land for such a project is unavailable, we should consider adding floors to the existing two-story parking garage across from the police station on Union Street.

Flushing no longer is a bedroom community; it is a vibrant commercial hub of Asian immigrants. Finding a parking spot on the weekend has never been easy, especially when the three public parking sites in town are filled to capacity as Asians in the metropolitan area come to grocery shop and dine at Oriental restaurants.

Furthermore, parking restrictions force drivers to crisscross through town to find a safe spot, if any, since there are numerous “no parking” and “no standing” zones. Some even get tickets for parking by failed meters. Apparently, parking violations and ticketing are on the rise in this fast-growing metropolis.

Many minor accidents are blamed on traffic jams and illegal parking. A couple of officers were accused of roughing up a 31-year-old man, Yang Lin, from Long Island, and his 72-year-old father on July 18 on Main Street in a dispute over a parallel-parking ticket, according to The World Journal and The China Express newspapers in New York. The Asian community was in an uproar over the incident. Parking woes are the root of the trouble.

Despite its promotion campaign, the Flushing Mall fails to attract customers. A lack of a parking garage is partially to blame for the sluggish business, with prospective customers not wanting to walk to such an isolated shopping center. The absence of a parking garage is a big oversight on the part of the developer, but it’s never too late; there is a private parking lot across from the mall, and, barring restrictions, it can be turned into a multifloor garage. A public parking garage won’t necessarily boost business, but it could be a stimulating factor.

Of course, there are a few private parking garages with limited spaces; the hourly rates, however, double those of the public ones.

The shortage of affordable housing is another problem facing the community. Housing prices have hit the roof. I don’t see any relief in the short term, nor do I see any slowdown of the influx of immigrants from all parts of the world. The availability of land is in doubt, but we can replace rundown houses with high-rise buildings to ease the overcrowding.

Several local brokers have said that the housing supply cannot meet the strong demand. We cannot afford to ignore complaints about the insufficiency of affordable housing. The shortage will only please some landlords who can raise rent at will and laugh all the way to the bank.

In a related matter, Flushing got 10 additional trash cans a couple of months ago, thanks to City Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing); however, the sidewalks don’t appear cleaner than before. We must educate people by imposing heavy fines for littering of any kind. Merchants ought to keep their storefronts clean or the town should make them do it.

I wish to call upon the health authorities to investigate and pinpoint the source responsible for the stench emanating from the sewer at the corner of 40th Road and Main Street. Offenders must stop illegal dumping or pay for debasing the quality of life.

Speaking of crime, it is common to think of robbery, rape and murder, but few pay much attention to smaller crimes, such as stealing hubcaps on certain types of vehicles. The four hubcaps on my Camry were taken while the car was parked for about five minutes one evening on Prince Street.

My car is not the only victim. A few other types of vehicles, especially Lincolns, also are targets of filchers seeking to make a quick buck. I never saw anything like this in other cities. Cars lose their value and attractiveness without those decorative gears.

Local politicians and business leaders should address these problems before they become much worse.

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