Tag Archives: Liberty Avenue

Curbside bus lanes heading to Ozone Park


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

The busy traffic corridor of Woodhaven Boulevard in Ozone Park will soon be home to new curbside bus lanes on both sides to help alleviate congestion and make for an overall smoother ride for passengers.

Red painted bus lanes going southbound between 101st Avenue and Rockaway Boulevard and northbound between Plattwood Avenue and Liberty Avenue are set to be installed this fall, according to a DOT representative.

The lanes will serve the Q11, Q21, Q52, Q53 and the QM15 bus lines.

The exclusive lanes also help the buses reach subway connections more quickly without removing any travel lanes, according to the DOT.

The lanes will be “bus-only” for specific periods. Between Liberty Avenue and Rockaway Boulevard going southbound, the lane will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

All other sections, going in both directions, will be bus-only during rush hours, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“This part of the boulevard is definitely a problem area,” said Jessica Nizar, a representative from Rider’s Alliance and an advocate for the Bus Rapid Transit for NYC coalition effort. “These lanes will help to alleviate some of the major problems that cause traffic here.”

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Ozone Park A train stations to be fully repaired by the end of September


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

The A train will soon pull into newly renovated subway stops in Ozone Park.

The 88th Street and 104th Street stations, on the Queens-bound side, are expected to reopen at the end of September, after about five months of repair work, according to an MTA spokeswoman. The repairs and replacements being made at the stops, which were started in May, are part of a $39 million capital project for five designated stations along the A line on Liberty Avenue in Ozone Park.

The scope of work being done at the stops includes repairs or replacements of mezzanine-to-platform stairs; mezzanine floors, doors and windows; and interior and exterior walls, the spokeswomen added.

Furthermore, each station will be painted, canopied, have better lighting in the mezzanine areas and have its railings replaced. The MTA has also worked to add new artwork to each of the stations with the help of the MTA Arts for Transit. The artwork will be displayed on the platforms’ windscreen walls.

The capital project called for station renewals of these two stations along with 80th St.-Hudson St., Rockaway Boulevard and 111th St.-Greenwood Avenue.

The MTA did not immediately give a timetable for the completion of the other three train stations.

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Jamaica school bus accident sends 11 to hospital


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

ambulance

Updated 11:00 a.m.

Eleven people, including nine children, had to be taken to the hospital following a school bus accident in Jamaica Tuesday morning, officials said.

The crash happened at about 7:20 a.m. at Liberty Avenue and 183rd Street, according to the FDNY.

The bus, carrying nine students who attend various schools in Queens, was stopped at a traffic light when it was reportedly hit by a speeding car, Department of Education spokeswoman Marge Feinberg said.

All of the students, as well as the bus driver and a matron, were taken to Long Island Jewish Hospital for observation, according to Feinberg. There do not appear to be any serious injuries.

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Cross Bay Boulevard gets more parking — for bikes


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Parking is never easy to find on Cross Bay Boulevard. But that has now changed — for bicyclists at least — as the Department of Transportation (DOT) has begun installing bike racks along the boulevard.

The installation of the racks is part of a citywide initiative of recycling and reusing the now-obsolete vehicle parking meter poles by converting them into bicycle parking spaces, according to a DOT representative.

“The bike racks being installed along Cross Bay Boulevard are part of a citywide project to recycle the single-space meters and retrofit the pipes into mini-hoop style bike racks,” the DOT representative said.

The installation began on Aug. 25 and a total of 86 bike racks are being put along both sides of the boulevard. The racks will extend from Liberty Avenue in Ozone Park, south to 165th Avenue in Howard Beach, according to the DOT representative.

The initiative was started in 2011 when many of the single-space parking meters had their heads removed as the muni-meters made their way onto city streets and demand grew for bike parking throughout the five boroughs. The bike racks are made to easily slide onto the old parking meter poles already installed on the sidewalk, according to the DOT website.

Howard Beach is part of the Jamaica Bay Greenway route, which has a bike lane running from the neighborhood into the Rockaways.

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Suspects wanted for robberies targeting pedestrians in South Richmond Hill area


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD


Police are searching for two to four suspects wanted in a string of thefts around the South Richmond Hill area where the robbers assaulted pedestrians before stealing from them.

In all the incidents, the suspects targeted Asian victims, mostly around the area of Liberty Avenue on 125th and 126th streets, cops said.

The suspects first robbed a 34-year-old man near Liberty Avenue and 126th Street on April 10, according to police. They pushed the victim against the wall, demanded his property and took his watch, necklace, bracelet, wallet, ring, $80 and iPhone before fleeing on foot.

On Saturday, April 19, a 34-year-old male was approached by four suspects on Liberty Avenue near 125th Street, who punched him and removed his wallet containing $80 and other items, officials said.

Two days later, at the corner of Liberty Avenue and 125th Street, a 54-year-old woman was walking to a bus stop when she was approached by two suspects who pushed her against a fence and demanded that she give them her pocketbook, cops said. The suspects then took her wallet, $5 and her cell phone and fled in a black vehicle.

On April 30, on 126th Street near 95th Avenue, one suspect pushed a 56-year-old man while a second suspect removed his wallet containing $560, credit cards and a driver’s license. Both suspects then fled, according to police.

In the latest robbery, on Friday, near Rockaway Boulevard and 113th Street, one suspect followed a 55-year-old man and took his wallet containing $700, credit cards and a driver’s license while a second suspect struck the victim in the face. Both suspects fled eastbound on 111th Street in a black Kia Optima, officials said.

Police have released a video from Friday’s incident, and describe two of the suspects as men in their twenties. One is about five feet six inches tall and 150 pounds; the second suspect is around 5 feet 7 inches tall and 165 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

where

Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken?

Guess by commenting below!

The answer will be revealed next Friday.

 

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: : Liberty Avenue in Ozone Park

South Queens officer honored for arresting suspect in cop beating


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Just shy of one month after an off-duty cop was beaten nearly to death, Officer Vincent Siraco of the 106th Precinct was honored for nabbing his fellow cop’s attacker.

Sergeant Mohammed Dean took a brutal beating in Ozone Park on Nov. 17 that left him unconscious. As police pulled up to the scene on Liberty Avenue around 4:40 a.m., the perpetrator fled.

Siraco and his sergeant chased the beater down 118th Avenue and apprehended him “with no incident, no injuries to any police officers,” said John Ganley, the precinct’s executive officer.

Ganley called the arrest a “right place, right time” situation, and that at the time, they did not know it was a cop, they knew “it’s an individual getting beaten down into the street.”

Siraco and the precinct’s Midnight Conditions Team, which takes nighttime patrols, were in the area after discovering a robbery pattern around Liberty Avenue’s bars and nightclubs.

“The community is very fortunate to have an individual like this on patrol, especially at night,” Ganley said.

Siraco started at the 106th Precinct in June and has been with the NYPD for two and a half years. Ganley said he has an “impressive record for a short time on the job,” including 25 felony arrests.

“In a very short time, he has established himself as an integral part of our patrol force,” he said.

 

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Police looking for two suspects in three gas station robberies


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of NYPD

The NYPD is trying to find two suspects for three robberies of two gas stations in Jamaica and one in Flushing.

According to police, in each incident the suspects drove to the gas station in a dark colored minivan, then the driver exited the vehicle, watched the locations and returned to the minivan. Afterwards, the second suspect exited the vehicle, entered the location and either displayed a black handgun or simulated having a gun under his shirt and demanded money from the register and cigarettes.

On Saturday, March 16 at 5:40 a.m. one of the suspects simulated a firearm under his shirt as he robbed the Gulf Gas Station located at 241-15 Hillside Avenue in Jamaica.

On Tuesday, March 19 at 4 a.m. one suspect displayed a black firearm while robbing the Exxon Gas Station located at 137-21 Liberty Avenue in Jamaica.

On Wednesday, March 20 at 6:22 a.m. one of the suspects displayed a black handgun as he robbed the Mobil Gas Station located at 133-11 Roosevelt Avenue in Flushing.

Both suspects are described as Hispanic males, one suspect is 5’10″ to 6′ tall, large build and with a  moustache and the second suspect is  5’7″ to 5’9″ tall, medium build, with facial hair and wearing a black hooded jacket

Authorities have released photos for both suspects and a surveillance video of one of the suspects.

Anyone with information in regards to these incidents is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

 

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Queen’s Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Circus worker killed in freak Qns. bicycle accident

A circus worker died in freak bicycle accident yesterday when he slammed into an open car door on a Queens street and was impaled on his bike’s handlebars, sources said. The man, in his early 30s, peddled into the driver’s-side door of a parked Toyota Camry on Union Turnpike Fresh Meadows at around 8:10 p.m., police said. Read more: [New York Post]  

Queens high school teacher barred from classroom after explicit sexual education lessons

A Queens high school teacher has been barred from the classroom for giving explicit sex-ed lessons where he pretended to be a woman getting a gynecological exam, the Daily News has learned. Education officials canned Grover Cleveland High School science instructor Dyrel Bartee, 53, after students complained about his raunchy demonstrations. Read more: [New York Daily News]  

Dragon Boat Racers Test Their Skills In Queens

The 22nd annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival preparations are under way in Queens. Teams on Sunday were learning steering and paddling techniques in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Read more: [NY1]

Jackson Heights set to get new park space and a new pedestrian plaza

Creating new open space in the borough’s more congested communities is no easy feat. But in Jackson Heights, local leaders successfully lobbied the city to purchase a school yard for park land. Read more: [New York Daily News]

Night of bullets: 3 dead, 7 injured in different shooting incidents throughout city

Ten people were shot — three fatally — as violence erupted around the city overnight. Between 10 p.m. Saturday and 4 a.m. Sunday, nine men and one woman were shot in seven incidents in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn, cops said. Read more: [New York Daily News]

Police: Man Fatally Shot Outside Queens Nightclub

Police are investigating the shooting death of a man early Sunday morning outside a Queens night club. Police say the 36-year-old was shot in the torso on Liberty Avenue and Remington Street in Jamaica around 4:45 a.m. Read more: [NY1]

Residents opposed to Woodhaven street changes


| mchan@queenscourier.com

DSC_0312w

The city’s plan to change the direction of two streets in Woodhaven is heading down a one-way road to opposition.

While the project is only in its proposal stage, plans to convert 84th Street from one-way northbound to one-way southbound from Liberty to Atlantic Avenues and turn 89th Avenue from a two-way to a one-way street running eastbound between Woodhaven Boulevard and 97th Street have been met with resistance from residents and local civic groups.

“Both of these changes are not good for the community. They weren’t asked for by residents,” said Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Residents Block Association (WRBA). “It doesn’t make very much sense, and it’s a bad change.”

Wendell said if the changes are implemented, the “symbiotic” relationship between Woodhaven and its adjacent neighborhood — Ozone Park — would suffer by the newfound difficulty that would come from traveling back and forth.

He said the 84th Street alteration would eliminate one of the main northbound entry points into Woodhaven, leaving only Woodhaven Boulevard and 76th Street as northbound roads that cross Atlantic Avenue.

“It’s like the doors of a supermarket — with the entrance and exit doors next to each other. If you close one of those doors, it’s going to cause problems. This cuts off one of the valuable entrances back into Woodhaven from Ozone Park. This is going to hurt both communities.”

Wendell also said turning 89th Avenue into a one-way street would severely inconvenience residents — some of whom would be forced to go “at least six blocks out of their way” to get home.

“In order to get home, the only way they can do it is to make this really awkward turn on Jamaica Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard, which is congested already,” Wendell said. “That’s the move this is going to force all these people to make. These residents are not going to have a choice. It’s going to be the only way to get home.”

According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), the request to convert 89th Avenue to a one-way operation came from Community Board 9 (CB 9) in 2008 due to the narrow roadway width, coupled with parking on both sides. The westbound direction was recommended to foster the safe curbside drop-off of students, a DOT spokesperson said.

CB 9 has yet to vote on the proposal, according to District Manager Mary Ann Carey, due to “so much controversy” revolving around the issue. The board postponed the original meeting to vote on the plans in order to seek more input from the community, although Carey said CB 9 sent out notices to residents back in 2008 when she said the plans were first proposed.

“There are so many different opinions. There are a few who are for it, but there are so very many who spoke in opposition of it. CB 9 more than likely goes with the community, but when the community is divided, it’s hard to decide,” Carey said.

The proposals will be voted on during a public hearing scheduled for February 1 at 7 p.m. at St. Elizabeth’s Church in Ozone Park.

Carey said that although feedback from the community board carries a lot of weight, the city Department of Transportation (DOT) will make the final call.

Trashy situation along Liberty Avenue


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Business owners are bearing the brunt of the burden as overflowing garbage cans and household debris continue to litter Liberty Avenue.

“People seem to think — when they see a trash can — that they can dump all of their garbage from home there. They think they have the right to do that. It’s frustrating,” said Monica, a manager at Monique’s Beauty Salon, who did not want to give her last name. “This always happens. I get upset because we didn’t put the garbage there, but we’re still being fined for it.”

Like Monica, several merchants along the main commercial strip in Richmond Hill have been slapped with $100 fines for waste that spills onto their storefronts, although they say the mess is not theirs.

“People leave nasty stuff outside — and when they leave it there, we get a ticket,” said Pam Mohabir, owner of Melanie Fashion Boutique.

Mohabir said she has seen garbage bags, construction waste and even mattresses pile up in front of her store on 127th Street.

She said she was pinned with a $100 fine at the end of November for debris and leaves blown in front of her store during a rainy day.

“When other people leave stuff outside, we have to bring it in to the back of the store so we don’t get fined,” Mohabir said.

The debris debacle has also raised concerns from local leaders.

Vishnu Mahadeo, president of the Richmond Hill Economic Development Council, said the problem stems from a combination of not having enough garbage receptacles along Liberty Avenue and not having frequent enough garbage pickups.

“When the garbage overflows, the store owner gets a ticket. It’s a very unhealthy relationship,” Mahadeo said, adding that business has suffered as a result of the overwhelming amount of refuse. “[The area] no longer is a shopper-friendly environment. It’s a sore sight and it’s very unsanitary. When there’s overflowing garbage, you don’t feel comfortable shopping there.”

Councilmember Ruben Wills — who has been working with merchants about this issue over the last year — said trash pickups have been recently extended from two to three days a week after he and Councilmember Eric Ulrich were able to secure funding for it.

“That alleviated a lot of the problem,” Wills said, adding that they just added more funding.

However, according to Wills, the problem lies beyond insufficient pickups and trash bins. He said the area is home to several “illegally converted apartment buildings, which allows for a lot more garbage to be accumulated and for the infrastructure to be overwhelmed.”

He said he is currently working with the Department of Buildings and the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) to enforce fines upon the people who litter and not the storeowners.

“It’s not fair for this issue to be put on the back of small business owners,” Wills said.

While business owners are still required to sweep their sidewalks during the day, DSNY officials said they are “closely monitoring litter baskets to address their misuse, as well as pedestrians to make sure they respect their community.”

Business owners are asked to report garbage overflow problems to 3-1-1.

Year later, traffic patterns hurt Liberty Avenue businesses


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Melissa Chan

New traffic patterns along Liberty Avenue may be driving businesses and customers away.

A year after the Department of Transportation (DOT) installed new traffic patterns at the intersection of Liberty Avenue and Cross Bay Boulevard, stores along Liberty say their business has suffered.

“Whenever you make a change, there is an expectation that there will be some growing pains, but people will learn the new configurations,” said Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder. “But it has been a year since the changes, and for the businesses along Liberty Avenue, it’s harder and harder for cars and pedestrians to get to their stores.”

Among the modifications was converting Liberty Avenue to a one-way eastbound street between 93rd Street and Cross Bay Boulevard — forcing cars to circle around if they want to visit the stores on the block. A concrete barrier was also placed along Cross Bay to prevent Liberty Avenue traffic from crossing through the intersection.

The newly sworn in assemblymember sent a letter to the DOT requesting the agency to review the changes that have adversely affected the stores.
“The new traffic patterns have really hurt the businesses,” said Goldfeder. “We want to make the streets safe, but we don’t want to affect businesses.”

Goldfeder said he spoke with several business owners in the area — many of whom have had to shut their doors or reduce staff.

Kimberly Liverpool, manager of Tommy’s Pizza and Restaurant, said she had to reduce her staff by one, while the manager of Kalish Pharmacy, Joseph Bruno, reduced employee hours.

“[Customers] have difficulty getting to us,” Bruno said. “Sales have dropped tremendously.”

Jimmy Jobah, manager of Fine Food Market and Deli Grocery on Liberty Avenue, started a petition that has received at least 100 signatures in the store to get the changes reversed. Jobah said sales have almost been cut in half in the past year.

The plans were implemented to ease traffic and make the area more pedestrian friendly. From 2004 to 2008, the area averaged over 14 pedestrian injuries a year.

Though businesses have been affected, the changes have made the once-dangerous intersection safer, according to local officials.

“[The changes] have resulted in increased safety in that intersection, and fewer accidents have occurred since the changes were implemented,” said Community Board 10 Chairperson Betty Braton. “On one hand, you’ve got the greater good. On the other hand, you have some individual impact. I don’t want to see merchants impacted, but I don’t want to see pedestrians killed.”

Crashes have declined more than 50 percent at the location since these changes were made, according to the DOT.

“I would say there has been a vast decrease in collisions,” said Lyn, an area resident who often walks to the stores along Liberty Avenue. “It keeps people safer in the neighborhood.”

DOT officials said they will continue to update Goldfeder and work with the community.  Since the changes were implemented the DOT has monitored the area and will continue to as they determine if any adjustments are needed, a spokersperson said.

Goldfeder, who hopes to get a full review from the DOT, said safety and thriving business do not have to be mutually exclusive.

“We can accomplish both,” he said. “If we include more people in the conversation, we’ll come up with a result that really improves the situation.”

– Additional Reporting By Melissa Chan