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City OK’s Linneaus Place Road Repairs

Residents of battered Linneaus Pl., Flushing, are getting a long-awaited holiday gift from the City Department of Design and Construction (DDC), it was learned by The Queens Courier.
New roads, sewers, and sidewalks will be installed in the tiny historic enclave, starting spring 2001, ending a nearly half-century battle by local residents for road repairs.
Built in the heart of Flushing during the pre-Revolutionary War era, Linneaus Pl. was constructed by William Prince II as part of his giant nursery, one of the first commercial arboretums in the American colonies. During the early 1800s it served as a maids quarters, as well as a stable area for the family estate.
The oddly-shaped street has a limited access. Motorists can only enter or leave the recessed U-shaped roadway via a pair of narrow alleys on Prince St., between 33 and 35 aves. Its only connection with the 21st century are street lights installed seven years ago by the city Transportation Department.
The run-down residential enclave is in battered condition: it has no street sewers, the roadway is usually flooded or puddled, potholes dot the bumpy street, its sidewalks are nearly non-existent, and the street name sign hangs loosely at an acute angle.
During the past decade, Councilwoman Julia Harrison (D-Flushing) has expressed concerns about the safety and well-being of the blocks residents:
 School buses, delivery vans and some emergency vehicles are unable to enter the narrow street because of illegal parking.
 There is a steady build-up of uncollected garbage and debris on the narrow road caused by the inability of the Sanitation Department trucks to travel along the narrow entry and exit lanes.
Since there are no fire hydrants on Linneaus Pl., additional precious minutes have to be taken by the Fire Dept. while its crews hook up a 200-foot auxiliary hose system from hydrants on nearby Prince St. If the fire is larger, another five minutes may be needed to hook up another pump truck.
Compounding these response problems, is the mid-block street name sign that identifies the almost-hidden street, making it difficult for emergency vehicles to respond in a timely manner.
For nearly a quarter-century, Community Board 7 has unsuccessfully asked the city to pave Linneaus Places street, install storm sewers, fire hydrants, and street lights. Requests for relief were initially denied because the short roadway was deemed a private street.
In February 1993, at the request of Borough President Claire Shulman, the city took legal title to Linneaus Pl. The road was paved, and street lights and "no parking" signs were installed. However, a missing street sewer system caused local flooding, and the roadway soon returned to its original potholed condition.
Louise Hennessy, a resident of the "U" shaped roadway for over 50 years, 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 downtown Flushing, and the nearby giant College Point shopping and commercial center.
Five years ago, Harrison 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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