Tag Archives: Douglaston Village Chamber of Commerce

Queens businesses brace for LIRR strike impact


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Ahmed Iftikhar drives from Mineola with his wife to the Bayside LIRR station every day except Sundays to set up his newsstand and open at 5 a.m.

He serves coffee, snacks, newspapers and magazines to a portion of the 4,000 daily commuters who use the station for 14 hours, making an average of $200 per day in sales, he said. Each month he pays $3,450 for rent and about $300 in utilities.

The potential LIRR work stoppage, which could start on Sunday, would not only strand thousands of commuters, but also hurt small businesses in Queens like Iftikhar’s newsstand, which depends on LIRR service for customers.

“If they do the strike, I’ll be sad,” Iftikhar said. “I’ll be very upset. What would we do in the future?”

While some LIRR stations in Queens, such as Jamaica, which has subway lines nearby, wouldn’t be as affected, others that depend primarily on the LIRR service could feel an impact, businesses and community leaders said. Businesses, such as the deli and café near the Douglaston LIRR station, stand to lose potential customers in the 2,000 daily commuters at the station.

“Of course no one is happy about it,” said Dorothy Matinale, president of the Douglaston Village Chamber of Commerce.

The manager of Kelly’s Car Service, located near the Bayside station, said if the strike occurs they expect road traffic to be slow for further trips, as the MTA expects more drivers to be on the road.

“Going into Manhattan would be impossible,” manager Richard Pearlman said.

Pearlman couldn’t anticipate how the strike would affect business, but said the car service is thinking of offering trips directly to subway stations on Main Street, although plans have not been finalized.

While the unions and the MTA continue to negotiate, Iftikhar hopes they’ll patch it up soon.

“It’s a little problem,” he said. “If they solve it, it’ll be nice for everyone.”

 

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Douglaston station street plaza gets green light


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy the Department of Transportation

After months of negotiating, the Douglaston community will soon see its first street plaza.

Community Board 11 voted on Monday, June 16, to approve the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) plan to implement the plaza near the LIRR station on 41st Avenue in July. The agency will extend the sidewalk into the turnaround where 235th Street and 41st Avenue meet to create the public plaza, while saving the traffic loop — which was a deal-breaker with the community.

The Douglaston Local Development Corporation (LDC) contacted the DOT last year for the street plaza, hoping that it would revitalize the businesses in the community by giving pedestrians a place to walk and rest while shopping and eating.

“I don’t think it’s going to be an instant solution,” said Dorothy Matinale, president of the Douglaston Village Chamber of Commerce and a board member of the LDC. “We’ve spent the last five years trying to figure out what we can do. Now, there will be some actual fruits of our labor.”

The plan eliminates about seven parking spaces, but adds 3,000 square feet of public space, new crosswalks, plants, umbrellas with movable tables and chairs, plants and granite blocks.

The LDC will be charged with maintaining the new plaza, and they plan to do so through fundraisers and private donations.
Despite the enthusiasm surrounding the plaza by many, some in the community voiced their opposition and concern. They fear traffic in the turnaround, which will be narrower after its makeover, could be slowed or backed up.

“It appears to me that there will be enough room in the turnaround for one car to turn around and leave,” said Eliot Socci, a resident of the neighborhood for 35 years and Douglaston Civic Association president. “By clipping the edges it might back up the traffic.”

 

 

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