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Meng eyes English for Flushing signs

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State Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) has taken the first step toward addressing an issue that has faced the Flushing community for many years: signage.

Anyone who has walked through the neighborhood’s bustling commercial district can attest to the fact that there are a number of different languages heavily represented on businesses’ signs, awnings and other written postings.

From the Korean-owned shops on Union Street to the Chinese-owned corridors of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue, signs are often written only in the native language of the store owner or with the English translation insufficiently sized or oddly placed.

So Meng is in the process of recruiting members for an advisory board to look into ways to fix this problem without placing a large financial burden on small business owners.

“We want to achieve results in a way that doesn’t hurt our small businesses,” she said. “For a business that is struggling — to take down an awning, that’s thousands of dollars. But we also don’t want them to just put a paper sign up. We want to find a compromise.”

Meng said she understands those business owners’ concerns but sympathizes with all concerned parties.

She also feels the pain of Flushing residents who cannot read signs in other languages. Meng speaks Chinese but said she is not good at reading it, and as such even for her signs written only in Chinese are a hindrance, as are ones in Korean.

Meng considers signage to be not only an issue of aesthetics and ease, however, which is why she is looking to fix the problem.

“It’s a safety issue, too,” she said, referring to the need for firefighters and law enforcement to be able to read all signs.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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