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DOT lays out plans to remake Main St.

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The Queens commissioner of the city Department of Transportation told Flushing business owners last week that making a large swath of downtown Flushing a one−way traffic zone will be a big shift, but it will ultimately benefit the community.

Queens DOT Commissioner Maura McCarthy briefed members of the Flushing Business Improvement District last Thursday on the long−awaited plan that will transform Main and Union streets into one−way thoroughfares as soon as this fall.

“We understand that this is going to be a very big project, but I think it’s going to have a very big benefit,” McCarthy said. “We’re definitely going to continue to have this sort of give−and−take with the community as we move forward.”

Under the plan, Main Street will be converted to one−way northbound and Union Street will be one−way southbound from Northern Boulevard to Sanford Avenue. The sidewalks along both streets would be extended to an average of 20 feet to accommodate additional pedestrian traffic.

McCarthy stressed the need for the project, pointing to a DOT−commissioned study that found that the corner of Roosevelt and Main streets has more than 97,000 pedestrians pass through in a 12−hour period — leaving the Flushing crossroads behind only Times Square and 34th Street in Manhattan in terms of busiest intersections in the city.

“We think this will make things not only a lot better but a lot safer,” she said.

Flushing BID Executive Director Mabel Law said the DOT hopes to test its plan in the fall by placing temporary concrete medians along the roadway that would simulate the new positions of the sidewalks. McCarthy said the pilot phase of the project will allow the DOT to monitor the effects of the traffic pattern change on Flushing before permanent construction is completed.

Should the traffic pattern prove to be successful, construction work to widen the sidewalks permanently would begin in 2010.

McCarthy said one of the biggest obstacles is going to be rerouting mass transit in the region.

“Obviously we have been working with the bus officials closely on this because we’re going to have to relocate a lot of bus stops,” she said.

The BID also held its annual election for its board of directors.

Louis Chang of Tai Pan Bakery, Raymond Chen of Maxin Bakery, Timothy Chuang of New York Tong Ren Tang Inc., James Eng of Macy’s, Frank Fan of Flushing Roosevelt Associates, Fred Fu of Park Regent Condo, James D. Gerson of Gerson Properties, Peter Koo of Starside Pharmacy, Anita Lai of Jessica Holding Inc., Tina Lee of Cooper Investors Inc., Stan Markowitz of Muss Development Co., Michael Meyer of F&T Group and Peter Tu of Asia Plaza were elected to serve the BID.

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e−mail at sstirling@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 138.

Posted 6:35 pm, October 10, 2011
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