Tag Archives: Bayside Village Business Improvement District

Bayside BID updates community on early results of parking study

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Finding parking on the Bell Boulevard commercial strip in Bayside is not for the faint of heart. It is tough.

And after months of collecting data for the Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID) parking study, consulting firms VHB and Desman Associates can clearly show how desperate the area is for more parking.

To summarize: from about midday through the night, parking spots on Bell Boulevard and even nearby side streets become filled to near capacity, causing congestion on the commercial strip, presenters said at a BID meeting on Tuesday.

“Nothing that you heard [at the meeting] was surprising,” said Lyle Sclair, the executive director of the BID. “But I think what is valuable is that we are quantifying it. I don’t think people know what a parking desert Bell Boulevard is.”

The BID’s study, which Councilman Paul Vallone allocated $20,000 to fund last year, is looking to find a solution to the parking mess, which is a result of local employees, shoppers, restaurant-goers, commuters looking to catch the LIRR and residents all fighting for spots.

At the meeting, representatives of the firms and BID members didn’t offer any concrete solutions to the problem, but introduced suggestions to residents and business owners and collected feedback for what residents would like to see.

The solutions at this point are theoretical, and broken into two groups: long-term and short-term plans. The short-term plans are cheaper and could be implemented toward the end of the year. They include changing the timing and pricing rate of meters on Bell Boulevard with the Department of Transportation to hasten the turnover rate of drivers, and using valet parking with private businesses that have lot space near Bell Boulevard.

The long-term solutions could take years and will be costly. Possibilities include the creation of a five-level private parking garage with 320 spaces, which could cost more than $15 million, or a mixed-used building with residential units, ground-floor retail and parking, which would run upwards of $40 million.

Some residents in the crowd weren’t too excited about the idea of building a structure or garage near Bell Boulevard, because they felt it wouldn’t deter commuters and employees who don’t live in the neighborhood from looking for free spots on residential streets.

Residents want to free up public parking spaces in front their houses, because some drivers occasionally block their driveways.

“We are going to take into consideration everything with the study that we do. Hopefully we can help that situation,” said BID President Dominick Bruccoleri. “The idea is to implement changes in our district that will help [the business] side not hurt [the residential] side.”

The BID is going to use feedback from the meeting to further discuss solutions. The study is expected to be completed by June.


Bayside outdoor concert series to start next month

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Get ready to rock, Bayside.

The Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID) signed a lease with the MTA for the small green space on 41st Avenue adjacent to the LIRR station house, hoping to hold an outdoor concert series this year and other activities, officials said.

The BID sent out a request for proposals, seeking a contractor to clean up and maintain the area. They hope to choose a contractor soon, and begin the concert series in August on Thursday nights, featuring local performers such as Baysider Michael Kormusis, who goes by the stage name The Mikey K Project.

Because the area is small, officials don’t expect to draw a big crowd, but to attract people to the area and nearby Bell Boulevard as they commute.

“What we are looking to do with that property is to have a pass-by space to slow people down as they are getting on or off the train,” said Lyle Sclair, the executive director of the BID.

Since two years ago, the BID has used the space for its holiday lighting show by dressing up the spot’s evergreen, and adding a nativity scene and menorah. In the future, they plan to collaborate with local organizations to promote services and add other activities.

In the meantime, BID officials are just focused on cleaning up the property, which is unkempt with an uncut lawn.

“Right now we just want to make sure the property look good,” Sclair said. “We just don’t want it to be a dead space in the community.”



Bayside BID envisions innovative parking garage for municipal lot expansion

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Rauch Foundation

Some modern parking lots aren’t just places to park.

Scattered around the country and even in this state, there are eye-pleasing, sleek parking structures with cool lighting and sometimes pro-green features that double as event spaces or commercial and residential mixed-use facilities.

The trend is to avoid the architectural tragedy that is a looming concrete box, for an artsy, efficient structure that solves parking issues and attracts people. Officials from the Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID), which plans to conduct a feasibility study to expand the Bayside municipal lot on 41st Avenue, are hoping to erect a forward-thinking innovative garage that people want to park in and be in, they explained in an annual meeting on Monday.

“What’s cool about this juncture for Bayside is there are endless possibilities,” said Jocelyn Wenk of the Long Island think tank Rauch Foundation, which has been researching ways to improve main streets in communities through modern parking garages with its Build a Better Burb website.

Wenk, the site’s editor, explained their results at the BID’s meeting, which highlighted colorful renderings from around the globe of flamboyant parking structures and some that seamlessly blend with nearby residential designs. The optimistic presentation gained excited “oohs and aahs” from the crowd of local residents and leaders, followed by skeptically inquiries.

“What they could put on there is interesting,” said Christine Haider, chair of Community Board 11. “I wish them luck.”
Councilman Paul Vallone allocated $20,000 toward the upcoming feasibility study, which will examine costs and other difficulties with expanding the lot in addition to its design.

At this point, BID members can’t definitively say what can be done with the space, which sits a block from Bell Boulevard on 214th Place. And while they believe it should be revolutionary to help draw business, they recognize obvious limits.

“You’re not going to put a structure that belongs in Las Vegas there,” BID Chair Dominick Bruccoleri said. “A project like this doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to do.”




Bayside ‘Weekend Walk’ draws crowds

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Rachel Landau

A multi-block party that closed off parts of Bell Boulevard this weekend drew in nearly 2,000 people, local officials said.

The Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID) held its first ever “Weekend Walk” on Sunday.

The event took place from noon to 5 p.m. along two blocks of the main commercial corridor from 39th Avenue to 41st Avenue.

It featured free fitness classes, dance performances, music acts and specials offered by businesses, in conjunction with the BID’s second annual “Sidewalk Sale.”

The two events were meant to increase foot traffic on Bell Boulevard and promote the wide variety of businesses on the popular strip, officials said.

“Hopefully, we are going to get exposure,” said Barbara of Empress Travel, one of the many vendors.

“Our neighbors are going to see we are here.”

This was the first time in 20 years Bell Boulevard has been closed off for a community festival, BID officials said.

“It was wonderful. We were really glad to see a lot of families,” said Bayside BID Executive Director Lyle Sclair. “We hope they’ll be coming back throughout the year, and we hope it’ll be an annual thing.”

There are more than 400 businesses and property owners from Northern Boulevard to 35th Avenue, officials said, including long established eateries, beloved bars and a host of stores and professional practices.

“You really get to know what’s available,” said Rosa Denny of Whitestone. “There are so many great things — different services, resources, restaurants. There’s just so much.”



Brrrrrrrr! How Queens is dealing with the cold

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Anthony O'Reilly


Baby it’s cold outside.

With temperatures expected to stay below freezing, and wind chill factors making it feel even colder over the next week, Queens residents are bundling up to protect themselves from the frigid temperatures.

Richard Schaffer, 51, of Bayside, volunteers to do yard work for the Lutheran Redeemer Church on Bell Boulevard. Schaffer says the only outdoor work he does during the winter months is to change the outside sign of the church, but even that is challenging with the cold.

“Unfortunately, you can’t change letters while wearing gloves,” he said.

Schaffer’s strategy for staying warm during the cold months, he says, is to avoid confronting it.

“I try to go outside as little as possible.”

Schaffer also said he had just come back from London, where there was snow and temperatures of about 30 degrees. He said that although there was snow in the UK, he’d prefer the weather from across the pond over the temperatures here.

“We didn’t know how good we had it over there.”

Lyle Sclair, executive director of the Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID), said during cold stretches, the employees who are outside sweeping the streets are provided with “weather appropriate clothes.”

“We provide them with a full body suit that goes over their regular uniform,” he said. “That’s because we value their service.”

A BID worker sweeping the streets of Bell Boulevard also wore an insulated face mask to keep his face warm while working outside.

When asked if employees had ever complained about working during the colder days, he said he wasn’t aware of any such instances happening.

Forecasts predict a light accumulation of snow for Friday, Jan. 25 and a mix of snow and rain for Tuesday, Jan. 29.

Despite this, Sclair says that BID workers will still be outside working if necessary.

Thousands flock to first annual Bayside Retail Expo

| mchan@queenscourier.com


Bayside businesses became reacquainted with the local community on Sunday, October 9, during the first annual Bayside Village Retail Expo.

“Nothing’s happened here in so long. Nobody actually expected this to happen,” said Gregg Sullivan, executive director of the Bayside Village Business Improvement District. “This is the start of something really good that’s going to just get bigger and better.”

The main goal of the expo was to reawaken the wide diversity of Bayside businesses and remake the area into a central destination again, Sullivan said. Although no items were for sale, businesses were able to showcase and promote their goods from 12 to 8 p.m.

Close to 40 retailers lined 41st Avenue near Bell Boulevard. The expo drew in more than 2,000 pedestrians throughout the day, with live music from local musicians on both ends of the avenue.

“For the first time in 17 years, we have a music festival going on like this. Today is all about Bayside’s commerce. These are the actual people who make up Bayside,” Sullivan said.

Bayside resident Ann Vivona said she was on her way to brunch when she heard music and saw the fair.

“This is the place to be,” she said. “I think it’s about time there was a [retail] street fair because everybody knows about the night life, but what about everything else?”