Tag Archives: Grand Avenue

Grand Street Bridge to be closed for construction on three Saturdays


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

The Grand Street Bridge, linking Maspeth and Brooklyn, will be closed for parts of three consecutive Saturdays for much needed repair work, the Department of Transportation (DOT) said.

The DOT will be closing the bridge on Oct. 4, 11 and 18 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. to strengthen the deck gratings and replace the pedestrian path.

During that time motorists can use Metropolitan Avenue as an alternate route.

These repairs are not part of the DOT’s plan to replace the decrepit bridge entirely. It expects those plans to be finished by 2016.

But the DOT had promised to make short-term repairs to keep the bridge stabilized while plans are being drawn up.

“The agency continues to monitor the structure and make any necessary short-term repairs prior to the start of this project,” a DOT spokeswoman said in June. “DOT will also continue to update local stakeholders, including the community boards, on any temporary closures required for repair work.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

$24M asking price for Elmhurst lot near Queens Center


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

An Elmhurst lot, located across the street from the Queens Place mall, has been put up for sale for $24 million, according to real estate company Massey Knakal.

The 47,365-square-foot lot, located at 88-18 Justice Ave., is one block off of Queens Boulevard and adjacent to the Georgia Diner.

According to the listing provided by Massey Knakal, there is a Restrictive Declaration on the property allowing it to be developed “per existing approved plans,” though these could not be confirmed. The lot can also be used for residential and/or community facility development, but would require termination of the Restrictive Declaration. The property has 227,352-square-feet of development rights.

The lot is located close to Queens Center mall and a block from the M and R train lines at Grand Avenue. It is also near all the major highways.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Victims’ families, pols gather to support Vision Zero


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Many teary eyes were focused on “Vision Zero” during recent rallies in Queens.

Supporters of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s call to reduce traffic fatalities to nil gathered Sunday at a candle light vigil on the corner of Wyckoff and Myrtle Avenues in Ridgewood, where 23-year-old Ella Bandes was struck and killed by a city bus a year ago.

Politicians, advocacy groups, friends and families of victims called for safer streets and more responsible drivers during the event, which paid tribute to Bandes and many others.

“What we’ve been through in the past year is such a nightmare,” said Judy Kottick, Bandes’ mother. “Losing your child is the worst thing that could happen to anyone. We just don’t want anyone else to go through this.”

There have been nearly 20 auto-accident related fatalities in the city since the start of 2014.

People at the rally wanted drivers to be more aware of pedestrians and avoid breaking traffic laws. They also asked for support for Assemblymember Dan O’Donnell’s bill, which would lower the NYC speed limit to 20 mph from 30 mph, except where the City Council determines a different speed is appropriate.

Before the candle light vigil, supporters of “Vision Zero” rallied on Grand Avenue and 69th Place in Maspeth in honor of Angela Hurtado, who was killed at the intersection when a driver with a suspended license struck her on Jan. 18.

Transportation advocacy group Make Queens Safer called for support for State Senator Michael Gianaris’s bill, which would charge drivers who continue to drive without a valid license and are in an accident that causes serious injury or death with vehicular assault. It would be a class E felony, punishable by up to four years in prison.

“The people we are talking about have had their licenses suspended because they’re already known to be bad drivers, and the faster and easily we could make it for law enforcement to take them off the street, the better,” Gianaris said.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Driver charged after fatally striking woman in Maspeth


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Grand Ave

Updated Sunday, Jan. 19, 5:55 p.m.

A driver was arrested after hitting and killing a 68-year-old woman in Maspeth Saturday morning, police said.

Angela Hurtado, an Elmhurst resident, was crossing Grand Avenue at 69th Place about 11:20 a.m. when a Mitsubishi Montero struck her as it was making a left turn onto westbound Grand Avenue from northbound 69th Place, according to the NYPD.

Hurtado was taken to Elmhurst General Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The driver, 28-year-old Abel Tinoco, remained at the scene, and was arrested and charged with aggravated unlicensed operator, the NYPD said. Tinoco was driving with a suspended license, according to a police source.

Witnesses told the New York Post they saw him making an illegal left turn before striking Hurtado.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

 

Cops arrest Maspeth bank robbery suspect


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

A man was arrested and charged with committing a bank robbery in Maspeth on Tuesday, police said.

Jimmie Knight, 56, a Staten Island resident, walked into the Chase Bank at 66-02 Grand Ave. about 3:25 p.m. and indicated that he had a weapon in his coat pocket, cops said. He then removed money from the bank and fled.

Police searched the area until they found Knight, who was at the intersection of Grand Avenue and 64th Street.

Knight was charged with robbery, menacing, criminal possession of stolen property and harassment, cops said.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Police looking for M train platform groper


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the NYPD

M trains riders beware, there is a pervert on the platform.

Cops are looking to identify a suspect who has grabbed the buttocks and private parts of five different women from Feb. 5 to July 30, while the women were standing at the Grand Avenue or Elmhurst Avenue subway stations.

The females were between ages 19 to 47 and all the subway sexual assaults occurred on weekdays. The suspect attacked the women at the Grand Avenue station four times and only in the latest incident on July 30 did he strike at the Elmhurst Avenue station.

In each attack none of the victims were hospitalized or robbed and no weapons were revealed. The suspect increased his attacks in July, with one on the 25th, 26th and 30th.

The perpetrator is described as a 5’7” Hispanic male, between the ages of 25 to 40, weighing 150 to 160 lbs. He was last seen wearing a navy or black baseball hat.

Anyone with information in regards to these incidents is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

RECOMMENDED STORIES 

 

Store vacancies in Queens hurt other businesses


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman

Some stores along Queens’ prominent shopping streets have been abandoned, sitting vacant for months. Several landlords have posted hopeful “for rent” signs. Others remain completely empty.

Officials from Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and Chambers of Commerce across Queens blame the nation’s foundering economy for the string of vacancies. Others insist that skyrocketing rents are causing businesses to pack up and leave.

Gregg Sullivan, executive director of the Bayside Village BID, alleges that the recent upswing of store vacancies is due to both the struggling economy and raised rents.

“There’s a need for an adjustment between landlords and rents to accommodate the downturn in the economy,” said Sullivan, adding that Bayside’s Bell Boulevard has six vacant storefronts.

On Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven, 25 stores sit empty. Maria A. Thomson, executive director of the Woodhaven Development Corporation, alleges that store vacancies are from the weak economy’s impact on business.

“With the economy being so sluggish, the patronage isn’t there to pay the bills, so that’s part of it,” said Thomson. “Part of it is the fact that they just can’t make it. They just can’t sustain the paying of the bills.”

Jim O’Kane is the head of O’Kane Realty, a company that manages several commercial properties along Maspeth’s Grand Avenue. The strip currently has nine vacancies.

“The cost of being in business is so high these days,” said O’Kane. “Rent and other expenses will eat you up unless you have a large reserve. It’s why a lot of ‘mom and pop’ stores are going out of business.”

Empty stores have begun to negatively affect Maspeth’s popular strip, according to O’Kane. “If the stores are vacant, it brings fewer people to the avenue, which compounds the situation for other store owners,” he said.

Michael Terry, president of the Maspeth Chamber of Commerce, believes that the vacancies are caused by the normal ebb and flow of the business cycle. Nevertheless, according to Terry, they are bad for business.

“It never looks good,” said Terry. “The more vacancies there are, the more people wonder how businesses are doing. The more businesses there are, the more people will come to the street.”

Terry speculated that the removal of Off-Track Betting locations in late 2010 has something to do with vacancies, as many former OTB locations have ongoing leases.

Maspeth Bypass Plan goes into effect


| ecamhi@queenscourier.com

The old adage “keep on trucking” doesn’t apply to Maspeth anymore.

The much-anticipated Maspeth Truck Bypass plan, passed in July, went into effect on Saturday, October 1, meaning trucks will now travel to and from the Long Island Expressway without using central avenues in the residential community.

Community activist and local business owner Tony Nunziato, who conceived the original plan with the late Frank Principe,is pleased the job is “getting done.” Although it’s been revised by the Department of Transportation (DOT) since becoming a capital project, Nunziato still feels good that the decade-long project is now a reality.

“It’s being enacted, it’s finally coming through to fruition,” he said.

Among the changes in place with the Maspeth Truck Bypass plan is the designation of Grand and Flushing Avenues from “through” to “local” truck routes. Existing laws to keep oversized trucks off local roads are also being enforced aggressively by the 104th Precinct, according to Nunziato, who noted that the bypass route is still very much in progress and the benefits won’t be immediate.

“It’s not done, etching, yellow lines, signage — I mean I know the plans, but if I was driving down there, I wouldn’t know what was going on [yet],” said Nunziato. “They’re working on it so I’ll give them the time.”

The DOT did not respond to requests for comment as of press time.

Nunziato is confident that once the bypass route is completed and signage is posted, the community will see a reduction in truck traffic.

“They’re just implementing the bypass yet, so once they have all the lines and all the signs, then they’ll do the big signs on the highway. Eventually, when they have all the signs and give the truckers a chance to use the bypass route, then you come and start ticketing.You want to give them a fair chance to adjust to it,” he said.

He also noted that the DOT sends trucking companies a route map, which, once updated, should also help the plan along.

Work to convert streets surrounding a complex five-leg intersection into part of the bypass is in process as well.The one-way street conversions, affecting 58th Street and Maurice Avenue, faced strong opposition from many Maspeth business owners who claimed that restricting access on those streets would be detrimental to their businesses.The DOT has stated, however, that the change should ensure better traffic flow in the area.

Nunziato also disagrees with the one-way conversions, stating it was not part of the original bypass plan.

“We never wanted to change the flow of the traffic. They [the DOT] assured us that if they see that it’s hurting businesses they’ll reverse it or they’ll change it, and I’m hoping they stay to their word.

The long-term goal of the bypass plan is to divert trucks, except those making local deliveries, away from the residential and local business spans of Grand or Flushing avenues to a bypass route through Maspeth’s industrial areas.

“We’re not looking to hurt the truckers. We’re looking just to make sure that they work together with the community, so that they don’t damage local business. A lot of children cross the street, a lot of seniors, we’ve got a lot of schools – there’s no reason to have all these massive trucks on the main strip,” Nunziato said.