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Queens Legislators Call On City To Save Linneaus Pl. Pre-Revolutionary War Street Presents Fire And Flood Hazards – QNS.com

Queens Legislators Call On City To Save Linneaus Pl. Pre-Revolutionary War Street Presents Fire And Flood Hazards

City, state and federal legislators this week joined forces to demand that the City Transportation, Environmental and Fire Depts. take emergency measures to upgrade Linneaus Place. Councilwoman Julia Harrison (D-Flushing) called the dilapidated street a disaster waiting to happen.
An angry Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin (D-Flushing) said that "The utter failure of government agencies to safeguard the health, safety, and quality of life of th residents of Linneaus Pl. is nothing short of outrageous. The families living in this historic part of our community have been neglected long enough."
Borough President Claire Shulman, this week, fired off letters to the City DOT and DEP, decrying "the flooding and roadway deterioration," and called for a jointly sponsored capital project that would install storm sewers and pave the pock-marked 25-foot wide roadway.
A concerned Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-7 CD) said, "This street will not survive without proper services and maintenance. Currently, this street surface needs to be rebuilt, sewers and fire hydrants need to be installed." He urged the City to make these improvements in order to preserve this unique historic block.
The run-down horse shoe-shaped residential enclave is in battered condition: it has no sewers, the street is flooded or puddled, potholes dot the bumpy street, sidewalks are in bad condition, and the street name sign hangs loosely at an acute angle.
Harrison’s chief cause of concern, however, is that school buses, delivery vans and some authorized emergency vehicles may have limited entry capabilities onto the narrow street because of illegal parking. In case of a fire, for example, there are no fire hydrants on Linneaus Pl., so that an additional five minutes have to be taken by the Fire Dept. to hook up a 200-foot in line hose system between hydrants on Prince St. to pump trucks in order to fight a fire on Linneaus Pl. If the fire is larger, another five minutes may be needed to hook up another pump truck.
Compounding the response difficulty, said Harrison, is that the damaged street name sign, identifying the almost-hidden street, is nearly invisible, making it difficult for emergency vehicles to respond in a timely manner. Adding to the problem is the bumper-to-bumper parking in the cluttered residential culvert, hampering the emergency vehicles ability to reach their destinations.
For the past 20 years CB 7 had unsuccessfully asked the City to pave the street, install storm sewers and fire hydrants. Requests for relief were initially denied because Linneaus Pl. was deemed a private street. In February, 1993, when the City took title to the street, street lights were installed and "No Parking" signs posted, but a missing street sewer system soon returned the street to its potholed condition.
In October, 1995, a DEP representative told The Queens Courier that "we’re 90 percent sure that the project will be placed in the 1996-97 budget." However, when the Dept. of Design and Construction was formed in the following year, the two agencies never submitted the project.
Louise Hennessey, a resident of the "U" shaped roadway for over a half-century, has described the safety hazards and quality of life problems as "overwhelming." They have increased, she said, with the rapid commercial and transportation development of Flushing and the nearby giant College Point shopping and commercial center.
Hennessey said that during rainy days, two giant potholes fill up with water, causing unwary motorists to drive their cars into the deep crevices. If the rain persists, the street’s lack of sewers causes it to flood, and cars have to literally tiptoe through the battered street to avoid these pitfalls.
The oddly-shaped roadway has limited accessibility: motorists can only enter the short one-way roadway from Prince St., just south of 33 Ave.; and exit again onto Prince St., just north of 35 Ave. Since these accesses have no sidewalks, pedestrians must enter Linneaus Pl. on its roadway, between parked cars. The roadway’s only modern amenities are recently-installed street lights and a set of "no parking" signs are posted at its access and egress points to and from Prince St.
Located in the heart of Flushing, the short street was built in pre-Revolutionary War times by William Prince II, as part of his Linnaean Nursery . . . one of the first commercial nurseries in the American colonies. During the 1800’s it served as a maids’ quarters, as well as a stable area for the Prince estate.
Linneaus Pl. residents get minimal services from City agencies: The DEP provides water and residential sewer lines, Sanitation makes pick-ups, and the DOT installed new street paving. During snow storms, Linneaus Pl. is closed down because the Sanitation Dept. plows are too large to run on the street. The roadway is virtually impassable during heavy rains because there are no working sewers to catch the run-off.
Key to Linneaus Pl. accessibility rests on battered "No Parking" signs posted on the roadway’s narrow Prince St. access and egress links.
In 1995, Harrison prophetically told The Queens Courier that "The only people who like the current roadway on Linneaus Pl. are the local chiropractors and auto mechanics."

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