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Queens councilwoman takes DOT commissioner on walking tour in effort to help solve transportation issues plaguing downtown Flushing

Sandra Ung
Council member Sandra Ung and Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez address the media on Main St. in downtown Flushing. (Photo by Paul Frangipane)

Queens councilwoman Sandra Ung and Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez met with local business owners and discussed transportation issues while walking around downtown Flushing.

The intersection at Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue trails only Times Square and Union Square as the busiest one in the city, while the transit hub in downtown Flushing is the busiest train-to-bus transfer point in the entire city. The area is often burdened with traffic for a number of reasons, according to Ung.

Ung explained that there are many restaurants in the area, which results in a lot of food deliveries coming in on a frequent basis. The trucks delivering the food often have trouble finding areas to park nearby, so they pull to the side with the caution lights on in order to unload the deliveries, according to Ung. This results in less room for other cars to pass, with vehicles going in opposite directions having to take turns passing through on two-way streets.

“The neighborhood is home to a busy transit hub and a bustling business community that attracts visitors from all over the Northeast who shop at our unique stores and supermarkets and eat in our restaurants,” Ung said.

Sandra Ung
Downtown Flushing has often been prone to a buildup in traffic. (Photo by Paul Frangipane)

Additionally, with downtown Flushing acting as huge hub for transportation across the city, there several bus lines that pass through the area. Because the buses have frequent stops to make and take up a lot of space, it’s easy for traffic to build up behind them. Since downtown Flushing is as a main stop for both buses and trains, there are a lot of people walking around in the area. With so many people naturally comes a lot of cars, both passing through and looking to park. But finding parking spots can be a difficult endeavor there.

One thing Ung believes can be done swiftly and will have a major impact on the area is to improve upon the signage for the busway along Main Street that stretches from Northern Boulevard to Sanford Avenue. According to Ung, larger signs with more visibility would help prevent motorists from traveling along the busway, thus clearing up traffic that would otherwise be stuck behind the buses. This would also help motorists avoid getting fined for being in the bus lane.

Councilwoman Sandra Ung and Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez meet with local community members in Flushing to discuss transportation issues on Friday, April 1, 2022. (Photo by Paul Frangipane)

Ung said she reached out to the Department of Transportation (DOT) approximately a month ago asking for improvements to the signage after learning many drivers were getting fined for unknowingly entering the busway, which is enforced by cameras. Some of these drivers ended up receiving multiple fines for doing this more than once.

Additionally, Ung also asked the DOT to look into scaling back the busway’s hours of operation. This request comes at the behest of many local small business owners, who claim to have suffered from drops in revenue since the busway installation was completed in January 2021.

Ung also stressed the importance of making sure alternate-side parking regulations are enforced on Union Street near 37th Avenue. Doing so would allow for the street cleaners to cover more ground and thus eliminate more trash in the area. This would avoid having trash buildup in certain areas, which could otherwise negatively affect nearby businesses.

“The commissioner and I discussed some of the issues that have been affecting the community since the busway was installed,” Ung said.

She highlighted the hours of operation and better signage to alert motorists they are about to enter the busway as key concerns.

“I was pleased that DOT was responsive and agreed to take the community’s concerns into consideration,” Ung said.

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