City closes garage next to Borough Hall

By Sarina Trangle

The DOT plans to shut the 500-spot municipal parking garage next to Borough Hall Wednesday due to structural concerns, elected officials said.

Despite politicians’ pleas that the mayor should have his transportation commissioner reconsider closing the lot at 80-25 126th St., Borough President Melinda Katz and City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz’s (D-Forest Hills) said DOT maintained the disrepair required an imminent closure.

“The city engineers are saying it’s unsafe,” Katz said. “The city is working with us to get traffic agents to be able to guide folks to private lots and parking spots.”

She said the city has not been able to find extra street parking.

Michael Cohen, a spokesman for Koslowitz, said Department of Transportation intended to take down the 1963-era Queensboro Hall Parking Garage and operate a 300-slot surface parking lot in its place. He said the councilwoman’s team was not yet given a time line for this work.

Katz, Koslowitz, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, other lawmakers and court officials wrote to Mayor Bill de Blasio Sept. 18 because they were miffed DOT gave them two weeks notice of its plans to shut the garage. The letter cited prior studies of the garage that suggested it could be reconstructed in phases, which would allow parking in structurally sound areas as construction is underway.

The memo detailed concerns about the closure disrupting the nearby Queens Supreme Court and clogging Kew Gardens’ streets.

De Blasio’s office and the DOT did not respond to specific questions about the project.

Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-260-4546 or by e-mail at stran‌gle@c‌ngloc‌al.com.

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