Tag Archives: Northern Boulevard

More Slow Zones coming to Queens


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

More areas of Queens are slowing down.

The city’s Department of Transportation announced Friday the second phase of Arterial Slow Zones, which reduce speed limits to 25 mph, in 14 new locations throughout the city. New signs will be put up indicating the change.

Among the 14 locations are two Queens corridors. The first will run 5.8 miles on Roosevelt Avenue from Queens Boulevard to 154th Street and the approximate start month is set for September.

In December, the DOT is expected to begin implementing a 5.6-mile slow zone on Metropolitan Avenue from Onderdonk Avenue to 132nd Street.

“Slow Zones are a critical and widely endorsed element of Vision Zero,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said. “We are glad to work closely with local communities in bringing these life saving measures to corridors across the city. These 14 additional zones meet another goal we set in February.”

In May the DOT announced that Northern and Queens boulevards would become part of 25 planned Arterial Slow Zones implemented throughout the five boroughs.

The first phase of a Slow Zone for Northern Boulevard runs 4.2 miles long from 40th Road to 114th Street.

DOT also implemented a Slow Zone on Queens Boulevard stretching 7.4 miles from Jackson Avenue to Hillside Avenue.

 

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Elegant Chinese dining


| padler@queenscourier.com

photo 1

It is a busy block as Northern Boulevard goes into Great Neck from Little Neck. It has been totally reborn
literally from top to bottom with new management, and it’s terrific dining.

The new restaurant is called Moonstone. Its name is taken from the stone and the good luck that a new moon brings. Here they are making their good fortune by providing a beautiful setting, excellent food and friendly professional service.

The rich woods and custom-made wall tiles on the curved ceiling of the bar, warm colors and pink lighting all add to the quality of the setting.

I like the linen tablecloths and napkins that add to the elegance of the environment.

I took friends Tracey and Seth Kupferberg to join me because I know they relish Chinese food since Seth’s office is in the heart of Flushing and he always dines there.

We began our meal with crabmeat and sweet corn soup. It was loaded with crabmeat in a rich broth. I tried my favorite vegetarian hot and sour soup and it was rich with tofu and spiced perfectly.

Then we had the chef’s steamed dim sum platter filled with crystal dumplings, pork Shu Mai, vegetarian dumplings, chicken and shrimp dumplings for only $10! It was perfect for sharing as were the rich and meaty imperial beef short ribs. Something different was the steamed Chilean sea bass roll presented in cabbage with ginger and an egg white. Delicious!

There is a large selection of appetizers from $2 and multiple dim sum choices. I love how the menu calls the meats “from the land” and the chicken and duck dishes “from the sky” and the long list of fish “from the sea.” You get the idea.

All are reasonably priced and offer abundant portions.

I enjoyed my favorite fish, their whole steamed branzino, but they also have red snapper and North Carolina black bass served whole and filleted at the table. There are remarkable green, white, black and red prawns done in unique sauces.

There is the traditional General Tso’s chicken done in a tasty sauce but also an unusual Sanpei chicken clay pot with Chinese sausage and cloud ear mushrooms. A must try!

They are open for lunch and offer a diverse three-course meal for only $15 including many choices of soups, main courses and desserts.

Whether for lunch or dinner you will be impressed with the food and as a bonus there is a handsome bar for drinks or dining casually.

Moonstone is open seven days a week, offers takeout and free delivery, and is handicap accessible.

Moonstone
14 Northern Blvd., Great Neck
516-500-1000

De Blasio signs package of Vision Zero bills at fatal Queens accident site


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Diana Robinson/Mayoral Photography Office

A Woodside intersection, where a fatal accident involving an 8-year-old student occurred last December, became the site where a package of traffic safety bills were signed in hopes of a brighter and safer future.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was joined by other elected and city officials as well as family members of victims of traffic fatalities, signed 11 bills supporting the city’s Vision Zero initiative on Monday at P.S. 152, less than a block from where third-grader Noshat Nahian was fatally struck by a tractor trailer in December.

“We’ve been taking aggressive action from that day forward, because we understand these collisions injure almost 4,000 New Yorkers a year, and kill over 250 New Yorkers in recent years,” de Blasio said. “And that’s been the minimum. And that’s been an unacceptable reality each year.”

Before signing the bills on June 23, de Blasio paid a visit to the completed Department of Transportation (DOT) project at Northern Boulevard and 61st Street, which includes two pedestrian islands, enhanced crosswalks and parking regulations.

Later this year the busy roadway, between 62nd and 102nd streets, will become one of the first Arterial Slow Zones, lowering the speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph.

The package of bills includes requiring the DOT to study left turns and come up with a report every five years; to respond to and address major traffic signal issues within 24 hours; to produce a report on work zone safety guidelines on bridges; to install seven Neighborhood Slow Zones this year and in 2015; and to annually lower speeds to 15 to 20 mph near schools. The bills also require the agency to study major roadways and produce a report every five years.

The bills also refer to “Cooper’s Law,” named after 9-year-old Cooper Stock who was fatally struck in Manhattan, which requires the Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) to suspend drivers involved in a crash where a person is critically injured or killed and where a driver receives a summons for any traffic-related violation. The package also included the establishment of penalties for vehicles that fail to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists, and requiring the TLC to review crashes with critical injuries or death.

“The passage of today’s bills will bring us closer to making Vision Zero a reality in every neighborhood in the City of New York,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “These laws will also will help reduce reckless driving and speeding through our local neighborhoods. Traffic safety is an issue our city takes seriously. Through this legislation, we will make our streets safer for all pedestrians, motorists and cyclists alike.”

The bills also address prohibiting stunt behaviors on motorcycles.

“We have promised the people of this city that we will use every tool we have to make streets safer,” de Blasio said. “Today is another step on our path to fulfilling that promise, and sparing more families the pain of losing a son, a daughter or a parent in a senseless tragedy.”

 

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Van crashes into MTA bus in Flushing


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Updated Sunday, May 4, 11:55 a.m.

A collision between an airport shuttle and MTA bus in Flushing Friday left 10 people injured, officials said.

The Q12 bus was making a left turn onto Prince Street from Northern Boulevard about 10 p.m. when the van made an illegal right turn onto Prince and struck the bus, cops said.

The bus was not in service at the time of the crash, and was only occupied by the driver, police said.

Both drivers were taken to local hospitals in stable condition. Eight other people, who were reportedly passengers in the van, were also hurt in the crash and taken to area hospitals, according to officials, but the extent of their injuries was unclear.

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DOT to implement Slow Zones on Northern and Queens boulevards


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The city’s Vision Zero traffic safety plan will be implemented at two highly trafficked Queens thoroughfares where collisions have claimed more than 20 lives in the last six years, officials said.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) announced Thursday that Northern and Queens boulevards would become part of 25 planned Arterial Slow Zones implemented throughout the five boroughs.

“I am pleased to bring the Arterial Slow Zone program to Northern Boulevard where long crosswalks and high speeds have been an unnecessary reality for too many Queens residents,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.

The first phase of a Slow Zone for Northern Boulevard will run 4.2 miles long from 40th Road to 114th Street. Starting later this month, the speed limit will be lowered to 25 mph and traffic signals will be retimed.

Since 2008, there have been five fatalities on Northern Boulevard, according to the DOT. One of the recent accidents involved 8-year-old Noshat Nahian, who was fatally struck by a truck on his way to school on Northern Boulevard and 61st Street.

Last month the DOT announced it would install two pedestrian safety islands at the intersection, and remove the westbound left turn bay and signal on Northern Boulevard to eliminate possible vehicle and pedestrian collisions.

“Bringing an arterial slow zone to Northern Boulevard is a huge victory for our entire community,” Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras said.

In July, the DOT will implement a Slow Zone on Queens Boulevard, which has seen 23 deaths in the past six years. The Slow Zone will stretch 7.4 miles from Jackson Avenue to Hillside Avenue.

“I am thrilled to be here on Northern Boulevard with Commissioner Trottenberg announcing safety improvements, rather than with a grieving family begging the city to take actions,” state Sen. Michael Gianaris said. “Too many lives have been lost on Northern and Queens Boulevard, and many other dangerous roads throughout our city.”

The city agency also announced Slow Zones would go up on Jamaica Avenue later this month, and Rockaway Boulevard in August.

For more information on the Slow Zones, visit www.nyc.gov/dot or www.nyc.gov/visionzero.

 

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64-year-old man killed in LIC hit-and-run


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Updated 9:49 p.m.

A 64-year-old man has died from injuries after a hit-and-run in Long Island City Friday night.

The NYPD responded to a 9-1-1 call at 10:25 p.m. Friday of a pedestrian struck on Northern Boulevard and 40th Road. There officers found Kumar Ragunath,64, unconscious and unresponsive with severe head trauma and a broken leg. He was then transported to Elmhurst Hospital where he later died from his injuries.

The victim was allegedly struck by a black or dark colored Chevy Blazer which was traveling in the right lane going westbound on Northern Boulevard, according to police. The car then struck the victim as he was trying to cross Northern Boulevard outside of any marked crosswalk.

The vehicle then fled the scene westbound on Northern Boulevard, said police. There are no arrests at this time and the case is being investigated by the NYPD’s Highway Patrol Collision Investigation Squad.

 

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Douglaston Deli owner passing down legacy to son


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Matt Walters isn’t completely sure when he realized he wanted to own his father’s deli.

It could have been when he was 8 years old and cleaned out his parents’ kitchen cabinet so he could pretend to have his own store in the basement.

There was also a time, at one and a half years old, when his mother dressed him up for Halloween with a white shirt and black apron, like his dad’s deli uniform.

But one thing’s for certain, although he has two brothers, it was always decided that he would succeed his dad.

“There was never a question of who was going to take over either,” Matt said. “They knew I wanted to do it and they went their separate ways.”

He started working in the 42-year-old Douglaston Deli on Douglaston Parkway near Northern Boulevard 19 years ago, and will soon take it over from his dad, Richard, who plans to retire this year.

Matt has been learning how to operate the deli since he began his job there at 15 years old. Today the combo still works side by side at certain times of the day.

They don’t have defined roles, but the pair works in tandem to make sure customers receive their orders as soon as possible. With a certain quickness that comes with experience in the food industry, one takes orders, the other preps the food, which includes classic roast beef sandwiches and German style potato salad made fresh every day.

Photo courtesy Matt Walters 

While the neighborhood may have transformed in various ways since the deli opened, the store hasn’t changed much, and therefore holds a good relationship with the community. Matt plans to run the deli the same way as his dad.

“When people come in here they’re not a number,” Matt said. “We know them by first name and we’ve built up a lot of great relationships with customers around the area.”

Matt has no idea what’s in store for the next 42 years, but hopes the deli can stay in the family.

“I have a daughter that’s a year and a half old,” Matt said. “She might be the next owner of the deli.”

 

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Pols call for Northern Boulevard to be included in mayor’s Vision Zero initiative


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Local politicians and residents are saying the time to act is now, before another innocent life is taken on Northern Blvd

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer gathered with other elected officials and traffic safety advocates Thursday to call for Northern Blvd. to be added as one of the 50 locations in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative

“We are all committed to Vision Zero, and it is our obligation to speak up and stand up every single time pedestrians are killed or injured as a result of reckless driving,” said Van Bramer, who has developed a list of locations with traffic fatalities. “We’re calling for the administration to include Northern Boulevard, and really all over Northern Boulevard, stretching into Jackson Heights and Corona, deserve this recognition.”

The group gathered at the intersection of Northern Blvd. and 48th St. in Woodside, where four pedestrians were stuck Saturday while they were waiting for the bus. One of the victims was a 7-year-old girl who suffered a skull fracture but survived. 

“Here we go again,” said Senator Michael Gianaris, who introduced a bill in the Senate, 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.

“Until we begin taking pedestrian safety seriously, we are going to keep standing at more and more press conferences talking about the same issue and we hope we don’t have to do it too many more times,”  he said.

Last month, de Blasio and his administration launched an interagency working group, together with the NYPD, Department of Transportation, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Taxi & Limousine Commission, to implement a Vision Zero initiative aiming to reduce traffic fatalities to zero within the next 10 years.

The announcement took place just less than a block from where third-grader Noshat Nahian, who was on his way to school, was fatally struck in December by a tractor trailer on Northern Blvd. and 61st St.

The working group will come together to implement the mayor’s plan by developing a report, due to the mayor by Feb. 15 and released publicly, that will serve as a blueprint for the mayor’s “Vision Zero” plan for safer streets through the city.

“Clearly Northern Blvd. deserves this recognition and we are asking the administration to include this series of intersections on Northern Boulevard so no child is ever killed trying to cross the street going to school,” said Van Bramer. “This is a street. For some, they may think it’s a highway, but the truth is there are people living, working and going to school all along Northern Blvd. and it has to be just as safe as any other street in the city of New York and until it is so, we will not rest.”

 

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Four Queens streets among region’s most dangerous for pedestrians: report


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

As Mayor Bill de Blasio and other local leaders push to lower traffic deaths, a new report has identified four Queens roadways as some of the most dangerous  for pedestrians in downstate New York.

The analysis, from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a nonprofit policy watchdog organization, found that from 2010 to 2012, Woodhaven Boulevard had the most pedestrian deaths with eight fatalities.

It was ranked sixth overall out of 12 counties in downstate New York and the second worst in the city, behind Broadway in Manhattan.

Tied with the 14th most deaths were Union Turnpike, Queens Boulevard and Northern Boulevard, which had five fatalities each.

Union Turnpike and Queens Boulevard, nicknamed the “Boulevard of Death,” were new to the list this year.

Over the weekend four pedestrians, including a 7-year-old girl, were struck in a hit-and-run at a bus stop on Northern Boulevard and 48th Street.

An 8-year-old Woodside boy was killed on his way to school in December when a truck driver, who was operating his vehicle on a suspended license, hit him at the intersection of 61st Street and Northern Boulevard.

On Jan. 15, with the child’s family at his side, de Blasio launched his Vision Zero initiative at the boy’s school.

The mayor and his administration is launching an interagency working group, together with the NYPDDepartment of TransportationDepartment of Health and Mental Hygiene and Taxi & Limousine Commission, to implement the plan, which aims to reduce traffic fatalities to zero within the next 10 years.

Nearly 60 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred on arterial roadways, multi-lane roads that often have speed limits of 40 mph or more and little pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, according to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign analysis.

“These findings make it clear once again that we need to redesign our most dangerous arterial corridors,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of advocacy group Transportation Alternatives. “We can save lives by building complete streets with protected bike lanes, wider sidewalks and pedestrian safety islands.”

 

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32-year-old man arrested in Sunnyside hit-and-run of four pedestrians


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Updated 10:15 p.m.

A 32-year-old Jackson Heights man was arrested Sunday in connection to a hit-and-run in Sunnyside Saturday night that left five people in the hospital.

The NYPD arrested Luis Andrade on Sunday at about 3:55 p.m. and he is facing two charges of leaving the scene of an accident with serious injury. 

Andrade’s white Mazda sedan allegedly struck four pedestrians at about 7:40 p.m. Saturday as they waited at a bus stop on Northern Boulevard and 48th Street, police said.

The driver then fled the scene in the car and ditched the car a few blocks away.

The victims, who ranged from a seven-year-old girl to a 56-year-old man, were taken to Elmhurst Hospital and all are in non-critical condition. A fifth person, who was at the scene of the time of the accident but was not struck, was also taken to the hospital with high blood pressure, according to police.

 

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Jackson Heights, Corona community marches for safer streets after traffic deaths


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

It was the final straw, and now the Jackson Heights and Corona communities are saying no more.

Family members of traffic accident victims, local elected officials and community members gathered Tuesday night to set off the inaugural action known as “Three Children Too Many.”

The group marched down Northern Boulevard, then 82nd Street, stopping to make statements about traffic control and give performances along the way. They then gathered on 79th Street and 37th Avenue to rally and remember young local lives that were cut short.

“You cope with this kind of thing and you feel terrible, sad, angry, but then there’s a tipping point,” said Laura Newman, one of the organizers of the march and resident of Jackson Heights. “We actually have to make it stop.”

Just a month before three-year-old Olvin Jahir Figueroa was fatally struck by an alleged drunk driver, Jackson Heights resident Luis Bravo, 19, lost his life in a hit-and-run in Woodside. In December of last year, 11-year-old Miguel Torres was killed as he tried to cross the street heading to school on Northern Boulevard.

In April Councilmember Daniel Dromm led the push to bring more slow zones to Jackson Heights, focusing on the side streets that meet Northern Boulevard.

“Three Children Too Many” calls on mayor-elect Bill de Blasio to choose a police commissioner who will make sure law enforcement for vehicular crimes is strongly enforced and demands more traffic calming zones, continued traffic safety education for local children, and action facilitators to lead the community towards greater safety.

“Safety is (Department of Transportation) DOT’s top priority and the agency participated in [Tuesday’s] event to highlight our shared goal of making streets safer for everyone using them,” said DOT spokesperson Nicole Garcia. “We also have been in touch with the local community, including the march’s organizers and elected officials to get feedback, share education materials and discuss ways to enhance safety at this intersection and the surrounding area.”

The agency is also looking at the signal timing at Northern and Junction Boulevards to determine if adjustments can be made, said Garcia.

Michelle L. Kaucic, community coordinator of the DOT’s Safety Education and Outreach, said the community needs to continue advocating for change and must also spread the word of not drinking and driving. The community and DOT need to work together to make the streets safe as possible, said Kaucic.

At the end of the march, participants held a moment of silence and a candlelight vigil honoring Olvin, Luis, Miguel and other victims, as family members spoke.

“Safe streets are not a luxury, it’s what we deserve,” said Councilmember Julissa Ferreras, who lost two of her best friends 20 years ago to a fatal traffic accident involving a drunk driver. “After losing several of our mothers, fathers, children and friends to fatal traffic collisions, we simply cannot tolerate to lose one more.”

 

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Fund to help family of toddler killed by alleged drunk driver in Jackson Heights


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Councilmember Julissa Ferreras

A family and community are left mourning three-year-old Olvin Jahir Figueroa after he was fatally struck by an alleged drunk driver while crossing a Jackson Heights street with his mother.

According to police, on October 11 at approximately 9:50 p.m. the toddler was crossing the corner of Junction Boulevard and Northern Boulevard with his mother after visiting a nearby market, when a white 2011 Acura struck him. The 35-year-old driver then stopped and drove the toddler and his mother to New York Hospital Queens in Flushing where the toddler was pronounced dead.

The driver, Gilbert Echeverria, was arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and driving while intoxicated, police said.

Councilmember Julissa Ferreras gathered with family, residents and members of the local church on Monday, October 14 to hold a candle light prayer vigil for Olvin.

“As a new mother with a baby boy of my own, I know what it is like to have so many hopes and dreams for your children,” said Ferreras. “Olvin’s parents will never get to see him attend his first day of school or see him graduate. He had his whole life ahead of him.”

The councilmember lost two of her best friends close to 20 years ago to a fatal traffic accident also involving a drunk driver at the same intersection.

Ferreras has set up a donation fund at TD Bank to help Olvin’s family with burial expenses. The account number is 4283969885. Checks should be made payable to the “Olvin Jahir Figueroa Burial Fund.”

 

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New Jackson Heights metal benches along Northern Boulevard


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Councilmember Daniel Dromm

Residents and visitors walking along Northern Boulevard now have 13 new spots to take a break.

Councilmember Daniel Dromm announced he had allocated $7,000 for Community Board 3 (CB3) to remove broken-down wooden benches down Northern Boulevard and replace them with 13 new metal benches as part of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) CityBench program.

“The new seating, through the CityBench program, replaced eyesores with benches the community of Jackson Heights can be proud of,” said Dromm.

The new Jackson Heights benches are located along Northern Boulevard between 80th and 90th Street.

“The benches were originally installed in the 1980s at the request of the now defunct Northern Boulevard Merchants Association,” said Giovanna Reid, CB3 district manager. “We decided to replace the benches because they were in severe disrepair and potential hazards. With the installation of the new CityBench, the appearance of Northern Boulevard has significantly improved.”

With the goal to make it easier to walk through the city for people of all ages, in 2011 the DOT launched CityBench, a three year program that would install 1,000 benches throughout the five boroughs. In the past two years, CityBench has installed more than 700 benches.

“CityBench is a pedestrian friendly, community driven program which is helping make Jackson Heights and neighborhoods throughout Queens more livable and walkable,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

 

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Driver charged after toddler struck, killed in Jackson Heights


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

A two-year-old boy is dead after being hit by an alleged drunk driver while crossing a Jackson Heights street with his mother.

According to police, on Friday night at approximately 9:50 p.m. Jaied Gigueroa was crossing the corner of Junction Boulevard and Northern Boulevard with his mother when a white 2011 Acura moving northbound on Junction Boulevard struck him. The 35-year-old driver then stopped and drove the toddler and his mother to New York Hospital Queens in Flushing where Jaied was pronounced dead.

The driver, Gilbert Echeverria, was arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and driving while intoxicated, police said. 

 

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DOT lifts parking restrictions along Northern Boulevard following complaints


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

JOHANN HAMILTON

The community has spoken, and they have been answered.

There have been increasing complaints from business owners as well as neighborhood residents that the parking restrictions on certain blocks along Northern Boulevard are more of a hindrance than a benefit.

Because of this, the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) will be removing the 4-7 p.m. parking restrictions along the south curb of Northern Boulevard between Parsons Boulevard and Utopia Parkway.

“As part of our ongoing efforts to provide safety and transportation enhancements to the Flushing community, DOT recently removed the evening rush-hour regulation from the south side of eastbound Northern Boulevard between Parsons Boulevard and Utopia Parkway,” said Nicholas Mosquera, a DOT spokesperson. “This change, which was requested by Councilmember [Peter] Koo and also supported by the Community Board 7 Transportation Committee, will provide additional parking for the community and customers of nearby businesses during these hours, while retaining loading areas for local deliveries.”

The current regulations have become an issue because they prohibit parking during prime shopping hours, making it more difficult for residents to find spots.

“It was frustrating for me personally because I could never park my car in that area while I was at work,” said Malik Johnson. “The parking restrictions started at 4 and most people get off at 5, so we’d wind up having to park much farther away.”

The actual process of changing the parking regulations, which will take about two weeks, began on August 26. In addition to these changes, there will be spaces to accommodate commercial vehicles so that businesses can still receive and send out their deliveries.

“I want to thank the Department of Transportation for concluding its study and agreeing to change the parking regulations along Northern Boulevard, from Parsons Boulevard and Utopia Parkway,” said Koo. “After numerous meetings with local merchants, it was clear that the previous regulation was adversely impacting their businesses. With the change of this regulation, it will allow the customers to park and frequent these local businesses.”

 

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