Flushing Commons is a huge development project proposed for Municipal Parking Lot 1 in downtown Flushing. It will affect not only the immediate area around the project, but all of the nearby communities as well.
Local residents come to downtown Flushing on their way to and from work, to shop or to visit for a variety of reasons. How will the increased traffic and congestion be handled? How will nearby residents and businesses be affected? Will there be enough parking to meet the needs of everyone? Where will people park while construction is in progress? Where will the children moving into the new buildings at this site go to school? Can the infrastructure of the area handle this new development? Are the new buildings too tall and out of context with surrounding structures? How can we increase public input and a sense of transparency regarding this project?
The Coalition to Reconsider and Evaluate Development Opportunities was formed to urge consideration of these and other questions and offer possible solutions. A position paper has been developed. The coalition is made up of civic and community organizations and individuals who seek to resolve all of the issues raised by this project.
We are concerned about the intense degree of development currently planned for this site. I am proud to say my local civic organization, the Auburndale Improvement Association, has joined this coalition.
We are not against development at this site, but want to see something built there that will benefit most of the people. We are concerned about the size and scale of this project. The issue of 16 multistory towers, the architectural style to be used and the placement of these towers and other buildings on this site need to be examined carefully. Adequate parking with reasonable rates is essential. Open space must be integrated well into the site.
Many people believe the site should contain a theater and perhaps a bookstore to meet the needs of the community. If a new YMCA building is built on this site, as planned, the old building could house a new elementary school to service the neighborhood children and Flushing High School could also share this facility for its programs.
Municipal Parking Lot 1 was formed by taking private property from residents years ago. It is fitting that part of this development, known as Macedonia Plaza, will provide affordable housing units to working-class people. I do not understand why so many of the housing units planned for the rest of the project are luxury condos. The need in downtown Flushing is for more units of affordable housing. Park and green space is also an essential component of the final format of this project.
Municipal Parking Lot 1 is public property. Whatever is built there must benefit the community. One positive aspect of this development is that it will provide construction jobs and create jobs for those who open and operate new businesses there. We must also ensure that those businesses currently in the area are maintained.
Flushing Commons has the potential of enhancing downtown Flushing, but if the right decisions are not made, it could turn the area into a traffic nightmare with people avoiding the area and businesses that operate in downtown Flushing as much as possible.