Bell Boulevard streetscape scaled down – QNS.com

Bell Boulevard streetscape scaled down

The Bayside Business Association's (BBA) original streetscape plan of giving Bell Boulevard a &#8220small town feel,” to make it more &#8220pedestrian friendly,” as president Judy Limpert described it, never got off the ground after Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of Environmental (DEP) regulations made it far too pricey.
Nevertheless, the BBA has not given up on its dream just yet. Not after spending some $600,000 on permits, plans, and sketches of the design.
&#8220We just have to move forward,” Limpert said. &#8220This is what happens, you get stonewalled and people abandon projects. We don't want to do that. I want to see it completed, for Bayside to prosper and benefit from this project. And they will.”
The new project will include bluestone pavement, new street-lightings and street-poles, adding a park in front of the Bank of New York on 41st Avenue, and instituting new newspaper containers and tree plantings along Bell Boulevard in addition to whatever amenities store owners want in the area.
The 30-foot long park, to be named Padavan's Place after Senator Frank Padavan, who donated $1 million to the project two years ago (the BBA also received a $320,000 grant from Borough President Helen Marshall), will be a resting place with benches and trees along Bell Boulevard for residents and visitors to sit and relax. &#8220A place where we can do tree lightings and maybe little shows,” is how Limpert envisioned it.
The original plan, which entailed much of the same framework but to a larger degree from 35th Avenue to Northern Boulevard, included adding bumpouts of curbs at intersections and in the middle of street blocks to shorten the distance for pedestrians to cross the street.
But when the plan was proposed to the DOT, they said the BBA had to pay to move traffic signals so they would be the identical distance from the street in case construction workers had to access them through the asphalt.
Furthermore, the DEP said they would need to pay for a new storm sewer system (one does not exist on Bell Boulevard) or connect the drains to a storm sewer many blocks away. Although no damage would be done to drainage in the area, catch basins that connect to a sanitary sewer would have to be moved to construct the bumpouts.
&#8220It has been very frustrating,” Padavan said. &#8220This project should've started a year ago. It's been delayed for one stupid reason after another. There isn't a penny of city money [involved]; it's all money from grants.”
Because of the decision to scale down the project, Limpert said they now only have money to complete Phase 1 - the area between 41st and 42nd Avenues alongside the Bayside Long Island Railroad station. The BBA, she said, will spend the next month finalizing the new plans, and then submitting their paperwork to the city Art Commission, who approved the original plan in the first place. Then they would return to the DOT and DEP before work can eventually start.
&#8220I'm hoping by the spring we can get this done,” Limpert said. &#8220At least break ground, so people can see something.”

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