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Rosedale citizens who rely on the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to get to work each day said they were caught off guard recently by the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) decision to close the station’s primary parking lot. Most commuters said they were never made aware of the change.
“They didn’t tell us,” said commuter Marlene Goffe, who lives in Rosedale but works in New Jersey. Goffe has parked in the lot, which sits on Sunrise Highway between Brookfield Boulevard and Francis Lewis Boulevard, and taken the train each morning for about five years. “We just found out they’d be refunding our money, and that’s it.”
According to the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), DOT decided the lot was expendable in 2001 due to low usage. EDC then began looking for buyers who would use the property “for a purpose that would benefit the community,” said spokesperson Janel Patterson. Rosedale Associates, the development company chosen by EDC, plans to turn the lot into an affordable housing complex for senior citizens, complete with a medical clinic next door.
“The project gives the city an opportunity to provide much-needed affordable senior housing to the residents of Southeast Queens,” said Patterson.
Commuter Linda Armstrong “absolutely” agrees that the new plan will benefit the community, but does not understand why it has to come at the expense of the “only convenient parking lot” in Rosedale. Armstrong cited the New York City Police Department task force sub-station that was built on the lot’s property about six months ago, resulting in the loss of a percentage of the lot. The task force would not be a problem, said Armstrong, “except that it doesn’t even patrol Rosedale. So what is it doing in our lot?”
EDC and DOT maintain that notices were given to lot users in 2004, when the deal was first approved, and that public forums were held to discuss the closing. Locals, however, deny that they had any idea the lot was closing until late June.
“The first we found out was when a woman tried to re-apply for a permit after she got a new car, and was told by DOT that the lot would be closed in July,” said Carol Bennet, who works in Manhattan and has used the lot for 15 years.
Rich Hellenbrecht, Chair of Community Board 13 (CB13), the board in whose district the lot operates, said board members “objected vehemently” to the closing of the lot. The board did, however, approve the deal in 2004, but with certain conditions. Among those conditions, CB13 requested that there be a 30-year no-sale provision, which would prohibit the new developers from selling the land again for at least 30 years. Hellenbrecht said he was never made aware of whether or not that request was honored, and EDC could not verify details of the agreement.
As for Rosedale commuters, the future brings uncertainty.
“The only thing to do is park on the street, and it’s hard to find spots,” said Armstrong. I’m going to have to take an earlier train in order to beat the 9 a.m. rush.”

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