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College Pt. fix for traffic woes pushed to 2014

TimesLedger Newspapers

The construction of a crucial road in the fight against College Point traffic has been delayed yet again, even while the development of the College Point Police Academy has proceeded at a clip.

Community Board 7 has wanted a portion of Linden Place repaired since the late 1980s after the road was closed due to flooding about a decade earlier.

Civic leaders said the city Economic Development Corp. first projected the work would be completed about four years ago, but last Thursday found out the road is not slated for completion until 2014.

“It’s a huge problem and it’s unacceptable,” said Chuck Apelian, chairman of the College Point Corporate Park Task Force. “They were able to get the police academy approved, in the ground and built. But we can’t get a road.”

The first phase of the College Point Police Academy is set to be operational in December 2013 and will include about 900 parking spaces to accommodate commuters to the training facility just off the Whitestone Expressway.

Apelian, also vice chairman of CB 7, said the reopening of Linden Place is crucial to accommodate the increased traffic the police academy will bring, especially when other developments in the area are taken into consideration.

Several businesses from Willets Point were relocated to the corporate park, which is a special district designed to promote economic growth, and a new waste transfer station is set to open in College Point next year, where garbage trucks will drop off refuse.

“They keep putting projects into the district, but they won’t support the infrastructure,” Apelian said.

EDC, which is overseeing the construction by the city Department of Transportation, told CB 7 members last week that it is currently soliciting bids for the road repairs.

After the street is repaired between 23rd and 28th avenues, crews will then connect Linden Place all the way up to 20th Avenue, providing a seamless trip for cars getting off the Whitestone Expressway and heading toward the heart of the isolated neighborhood.

“The project has not met previously stated schedules due to multiple approvals needed from various city and state agencies and extensive discussions with city agencies about design and budget. We look forward to proceeding with this important transportation project as soon as a construction firm is selected,” EDC said in a statement.

But State Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz (D-Electchester), who was also at the meeting, said EDC has had plenty of time to put out bids and get approvals.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “This was put on the back burner.”

The second phase of the project would require approvals from the state due to its proximity to wetlands, according to Simanowitz, though he saw no reason why EDC took so long to put out a bid for the first part of the project.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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