Claire Shulman – former borough president and current president of the Flushing • Willets Point • Corona Local Development Corporation (LDC) – intends to keep fighting for a massive redevelopment project to Flushing’s Main Street and Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) station after the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) officials put it on ice earlier this month.
The upgrade was intended to relieve the overburdened No. 7 subway line by making the Flushing LIRR station more accessible to seniors and the disabled while providing affordable housing for one of the nation’s booming populations.
“The transportation programs are critical,” said Shulman. “We will not be dropping this project. Having no money is a very lame excuse as far as I’m concerned”
City officials have put a higher-priority on other developments pushing aside what has been dubbed the Flushing Transit Oriented Development (TOD) project until further notice. Currently, the price tag on the TOD plan has been estimated at $170 million in public and private investments, according to the LDC.
“The city is currently investing significantly in the Flushing-Corona area with Flushing Commons and Macedonia Plaza projects and the future development in Willets Point,” said HPD spokesperson Eric Bederman. “The city has no firm plans for the development of Municipal Lot 3 site in Flushing. We will fully engage the community in any planning process should the city determine a future development project is viable there.”
Assemblymember Grace Meng – an advocate of the TOD project – called the most recent hurdle in the development plan “a real disappointment.”
“[The Flushing LIRR station] is insulting to the disabled community. The whole station is an embarrassment,” said Meng.
While Shulman remains confident that the project will eventually break ground, the most she can do now is wait and see.
“We feel that Downtown Flushing is a very important part of New York City and the infrastructure needs to be in place,” said Shulman. “Flushing is growing by leaps and bounds and the No. 7 train is hugely oversubscribed . . . this is still a great project for the people of Flushing.”