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The developer of the $800 million mixed-use Flushing Commons project planned for downtown Flushing has released data it gathered with the city Department of Transportation estimating the “worst-case” impact that anticipated construction could have on downtown traffic.
The data has contributed to a growing body of arguments that opponents have used against the project’s construction as it is planned, but a rising chorus of local voices is supporting the current traffic and parking plan.
Many community leaders and merchants maintain that downtown Flushing needs more parking in the area of Municipal Lot 1, which is slated to be torn down to make space for Flushing Commons.
But a less-vocal contingent contend that providing more parking in that location would increase traffic woes to unmanageable, prohibitive levels.
Merchants and residents have long been concerned about the traffic headaches that Flushing Commons and other upcoming construction projects could cause.
Community Board 7 last Thursday learned that even without Flushing Commons, afternoon traffic at 30 downtown Flushing intersections could increase by as much as 27 percent.
If Flushing Commons’ impact is included, traffic could instead increase by up to 36 percent, according to the study.
The Flushing Business Improvement District passed three resolutions Monday, requesting TDC Development — the developer of Flushing Commons — make a number of substantive changes, one of which would require the company to include hundreds more affordable parking spots, to its plans if it wants to gain the group’s support for the project.
The Flushing BID’s board, during a meeting closed to the press Monday, overwhelmingly passed resolutions asking TDC to address issues including parking, possible construction delays and financial assistance for area business owners, according to the group’s chairman, James Gerson.
“We’re very concerned,” he said. “We’re not saying don’t do the project, we’re saying do the project — just make sure we get a fair shake. These are issues that are very much a concern to our merchants.”
The resolutions ask TDC to provide an adequate plan for compensating area business owners who expect to lose business during and after construction, provide a contingency plan for addressing any building or funding delays and to provide ample, adequate and affordable parking.
But James Wu, a state Assembly District leader, argued that increasing parking in the specific area near Flushing Commons would benefit the neighboring business owners at the expense of the greater Flushing community.
“Prior traffic studies of the downtown area have indicated that if you put more parking in there, all you’re going to do is make traffic in the area worse,” he said. “Pushing more cars into one tiny spot isn’t of service to our community and we need to redistribute it.”
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4538.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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