Mayor Bill de Blasio continued his town hall tour around the city on Wednesday night when he visited Corona to answer questions from residents.
During the March 29 session at I.S. 61, he announced that the city would implement the plan to transform 111th Street despite protests from Community Board 4. After several years of discussion, the board again did not make a decision whether to approve the plan during a March meeting.
“[The] 111th Street [plan] has been a long process as you described,” he said. “These are always complicated issues and there’s good reasons why communities want to talk them through and think about them. I am comfortable that the right thing to do is move ahead with our efforts to protect people on 111th.”
He added that the city would work with community groups throughout the process to implement any changes to improve upon the plan.
According to a DOT spokesperson, the work on 111th Street will begin this summer. The plan includes removing one northbound lane, adding a two-way bike path, pedestrian refuges and 25 new parking spots.
Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, who fully funded the safety improvements in 2013, thanked the mayor on Twitter for moving forward with the plan.
— Julissa Ferreras (@JulissaFerreras) March 29, 2017
De Blasio also announced that as the city looks to phase out the use of hotels for homeless shelters, two hotels in the Corona area will be reverted back to their former use. He did not say which hotels and did not provide a specific timeline.
“In this community there is a substantial amount of shelters,” he said. “We will be able to, over the years, be able to get out of some shelter starting with two hotels that are in this district. Our plan, and I can’t give a date today but I can tell you there is a very, very clear plan that we believe in 100 percent. Our plan is to get out of those two hotels and stay out and eventually shut these shelters in this community because there is more than enough capacity.”
The mayor also discussed the need for more affordable senior housing, youth centers in the neighborhood, community policing and education. He reiterated his support for immigrants at the meeting, where some Latino residents said they were concerned about rhetoric coming from the Trump administration.
Watch the full town hall here: