Tag Archives: Roosevelt Avenue

Pedestrian seriously injured after being hit by bus in Flushing


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@NYPD109Pct

A pedestrian suffered serious injuries in Flushing this morning after being struck by an MTA bus while crossing the street.

The man was in the crosswalk when a Q66 bus making a left turn from Prince Street onto Roosevelt Avenue hit him at 7:04 a.m. According to an MTA spokeswoman, he went under the bus and suffered serious injuries to both of his legs.

The victim was taken to the New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens following the incident, which is still under investigation.

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Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken? Guess by commenting below! The answer will be revealed next week.

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: 88th Street and Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights

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Flushing civic group objects to permanent street closing for pedestrian plaza


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Alina Suriel

Updated Wednesday Aug. 5

A proposal to close off street traffic for a pedestrian plaza off Flushing‘s Northern Boulevard was met with opposition from neighborhood groups concerned that the change will worsen existing congestion and traffic problems.

The Korean American Association in Queens (KAAQ) is working to place a pedestrian plaza adjacent to a small park known as Leonard Square. The proposal will close off traffic at all times on Roosevelt Avenue between 155th Street and Northern Boulevard.

The plan was submitted to the DOT in the winter of 2014, and a public workshop was held on April 16 to solicit public feedback. A trial street closure on April 18 was deemed a success by the KAAQ after they received no resident complaints.

The overall contention against the project, however, comes from members of the Broadway Flushing Homeowners Association, which charged that it would worsen traffic congestion and cause safety concerns.

“We already have enough traffic and problems with too much congestion. [Closing] another street is only going to add to that and we need every artery,” said Janet McCreesh, a former president of the homeowners group.

McCreesh also asserted that there were more appropriate sites for community gathering spots nearby, such as Bowne Park, which is 0.4 mile away.

“How safe and clean will it be to encourage people to sit in between Northern Boulevard and one of the biggest and busiest parking lots in the neighborhood?” McCreesh asked.

Members of the association have voted to send another letter to Community Board 7, which may publicly discuss the issue as soon as Sept. 21.

Councilman Paul Vallone, a supporter who is working with the KAAQ on the project, recalled a similar plaza successfully established in Douglaston, and said that he expects the same benefits for the community around Leonard Square.

“Any group, such as the Korean-American Association of Queens, is able to apply to the city to maintain a pedestrian plaza with the goal of creating an open area for everyone to sit, rest, socialize and enjoy public space,” Vallone said. “I also believe this plaza will have a positive effect on safety and combat the clear history of traffic incidents at this very congested site.”

Paul Yoo, president of the KAAQ, believes the homeowners association objected to the proposal because they are misinformed on its potential effect on neighborhood parking and traffic. While around 8 to 10 spots of street parking would be lost if the street were blocked off, the KAAQ is working with the DOT to come up with alternative solutions to retain parking in the neighborhood.

 

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Yoo said that if the Broadway Flushing Homeowners Association had made an effort to reach out to the KAAQ, they could have collaborated to make compromises.

“They didn’t come to the workshop. They haven’t seen the work we’re doing,” said Yoo. “They didn’t contact us. They should come and talk to us.”

The next trial street closing of Roosevelt Avenue between 155th and Northern Boulevard is planned for Friday, Aug. 7, and will have festivities such as clowns, a bouncy castle, face-painting, balloons and stilt walkers to call attention to the initiative.

Editors note: An earlier version misidentified Janet McCreesh as the president of the Broadway Flushing Homeowners Association, and incorrectly listed the date of the Community Board 7 meeting in which this issue will be discussed. We apologize for any confusion.

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Second arrest made in deadly Jackson Heights shooting


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Image via Google Maps

A second individual has been arrested several months after a Corona man was gunned down in broad daylight on a Jackson Heights street, according to authorities.

Isaac Martinez, 24, who the NYPD said is homeless, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with second-degree murder and gang assault in the May 5 death of 38-year-old Jorge Manzanarez.

Raul Zamora, 33, of Jackson Heights, was charged with second-degree murder, gang assault and criminal possession of a weapon for the shooting two weeks following the incident.

According to officials, Zamora — a reputed member of the Sureños 13 gang — Martinez and another unapprehended individual got into an argument with Manzanarez at about 2:30 p.m. on May 5 on Roosevelt Avenue near Whitney Avenue. Manzanarez was then shot once in the chest.

Martinez’s affiliation with the Sureños 13 wasn’t immediately clear.

Both men face 25 years to life in prison and are currently being held without bail, according to the Queens district attorney’s office and court records.

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$100M transformation to turn Queens Boulevard into ‘Boulevard of Life’ begins


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

For Lizi Rahman and all other family members who have lost loved ones on Queens Boulevard, their dream of putting an end to the “Boulevard of Death” is finally starting to become reality.

Rahman — whose 22-year-old son Asif was fatally struck while riding his bicycle home in 2008 — joined Mayor Bill de Blasio, Department of Transportation (DOT) representatives and local elected officials and community leaders on Thursday morning in Woodside to announce the beginning of the $100 million redesign of the busy thoroughfare which has claimed 185 lives since 1990.

“I decided to do everything in my power to get a bike lane on Queens Boulevard so that bicyclists would feel safe and no mother would go through this pain of losing a child,” Rahman said. “There were times when I was discouraged. I almost gave up but then I saw light at the end of the tunnel when Mayor de Blasio was elected. Now my dream is not a dream anymore; it became a reality.”

The first phase of the redesign project, which was unanimously approved by Community Board 2 last month, will focus on the 1.3-mile section of Queens Boulevard between Roosevelt Avenue and 73rd Street, an area which saw six deaths, 36 severe injuries and 591 more hurt in traffic accidents between 2009 and 2013.

“Here is a lesson if ever there was one, on the fact that we had to change things here on Queens Boulevard. We were losing too many good people, and we could avoid those losses. And finally, the actions are being taken to save lives here on Queens Boulevard that should’ve happened long ago,” de Blasio said on Thursday.

Lizi Rahman lost her son in 2008 after he was fatally struck by a truck on Queens Boulevard while riding his bicycle home.

Lizi Rahman lost her son in 2008 after he was fatally struck by a truck on Queens Boulevard while riding his bicycle home.

The redesign of the thoroughfare is expected to decrease drivers from switching repeatedly between the main line and service road. The overall plan will be to get rid of the “highway-like design features” which encourage drivers to speed.

The improvements on the stretch, which will be installed through October, include safer crossings installed along the corridor; pedestrian islands and new mid-block crossings constructed to give pedestrians more time to cross; and the addition of high-visibility crosswalks and new signals.

“We have an obligation to make sure that not one more person loses their life on this boulevard,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “We will transform Queens Boulevard into that ‘Boulevard of Life.’ We will make it safer for everyone, pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, all living in harmony and in safety.”

The DOT will also add protected bike lanes with buffers and new pedestrian space along the median next to the service lane in both directions. A raised, concrete bicycle path will be constructed under the overpass on the eastbound service road from 67th to 69th streets.

The project will also include pedestrian ramps being upgraded to be ADA-complaint improving accessibility to those with disabilities, and service roads will be reduced to one moving lane in each direction.

The DOT plans to soon begin the phase of the redesign of Queens Boulevard from 73rd Street to Eliot Avenue, and after from Eliot Avenue to Jamaica Avenue.

“So for all the people who depend on this crucial road, life will change for the better. And we’re going to use every tool we have to continue that work — not just on Queens Boulevard, but all over the city,” de Blasio said.

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Reputed gang member arrested in murder on Roosevelt Avenue


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD/via Google Maps

Updated Monday, May 18, 4:09 p.m. 

A reported gang member has been apprehended in the deadly shooting of a Corona man in Jackson Heights earlier this month, authorities said.

Raul Zamora, a reputed member of the Sureños 13 gang, has been charged with second-degree murder, first-degree gang assault and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon in the death of 38-year-old Jorge Manzanarez, according to the district attorney’s office.

Police identified Zamora, 33, who lives in Jackson Heights, just blocks from the crime scene, as the suspected shooter last Monday, arresting him on Saturday.

According to officials, Zamora and two other unapprehended individuals got into an argument with Manzanarez at about 2:30 p.m. on May 5 on Roosevelt Avenue near 94th Street. Manzanarez was then shot once in the chest.

Manzanarez was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Zamora, who faces 25 years to life in prison, was ordered held without bail at his arraignment on Sunday.

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New installments to bring ‘light to shadow’ on Roosevelt Avenue


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

A stretch of Roosevelt Avenue in Corona will soon light up bright, removing residents from the shadows and bringing a sense of safety to the community.

Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras and the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced Friday that new lampposts and LED lights are being installed down Roosevelt Avenue, a thoroughfare that has faced safety issues throughout the years.

The $500,000 project, which is part of Ferreras’ New Deal plan for Roosevelt Avenue, will replace the current lampposts and install new ones between 90th and 111th streets.

“Having lived on Roosevelt Avenue, I was eyewitness to the challenges it has with regard to safety,” Ferreras said. “Improving the environment for everyone — families, small businesses, street vendors, the LGBTQ community, drivers — has been one of my most important goals, and I am enormously proud to hit another milestone today with the installation of these lights.”

Roosevelt Avenue.

Roosevelt Avenue.

In Ferreras’ New Deal for the corridor, she aimed to make significant improvements such as creating a better business environment, increasing sanitation services and upgrading the lights.

According to the DOT, the new 78- and 91-watt LED lights will replace the 100- and 150-watt high-pressure sodium lights, giving everything around the lights a better color rendering and enhancing nighttime visibility.

The "yellow colored" lights that used to run down Roosevelt Avenue will be replaced.

The “yellow-colored” lampposts that used to run down Roosevelt Avenue will be replaced with new LED lights.

“Thanks to the council member’s support, the new LED lights and poles that DOT is currently installing on Roosevelt Avenue help build on Vision Zero’s safety goals,” DOT Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia said. “The improved lighting enhances visibility for all, boost[s] the look of the streetscape and saves on energy costs.”

The lights are also part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s OneNYC Initiative, which looks to reduce the city’s overall carbon footprint by more than 30 percent by 2030.

The installation of the new light poles began last week and the DOT plans to have all work completed by the fall.

“[Roosevelt Avenue] will no longer be viewed as a blighted area. This will no longer be viewed as the shadow area of our community. We have brought light to shadow and I think that’s very important. It’s something that this community has consistently asked for,” Ferreras said.

Ferreras also added that as part of her participatory budgeting she plans to allocate funds to get new lampposts and LED lights from 90th to 82nd streets as well.

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Suspect identified in fatal shooting of Corona man on Roosevelt Avenue


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD/via Google Maps

Police have identified an alleged gang member as the shooter suspected of killing a 38-year-old Corona man in broad daylight on a Jackson Heights street last week.

According to authorities, Raul Zamora, a reported member of the Sureños 13 gang, and two other individuals got into a verbal dispute with the victim, Jorge Manzanarez, just before 2:30 p.m. on May 5 on Roosevelt Avenue near 94th Street. Zamora then pulled out a gun, shooting Manzanarez in the torso. Police believe the shooting was gang-related.

EMS rushed Manzanarez to Elmhurst Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Zamora is described as 33 years old, Hispanic, 5 feet 9 inches tall and 145 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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First phase of $100M Queens Boulevard redesign to be implemented by August


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of the Department of Transportation

The voices of a concerned community have been heard, and by August, the first segment of the redesign of what is known as the “Boulevard of Death” is expected to be implemented to make it safer.

The city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) announced Tuesday that it would be releasing a detailed preliminary plan to redesign a 1.3-mile portion of Queens Boulevard. The plan is based on community input gathered during a safety workshop held on Jan. 22 in Woodside.

This project, which will be reviewed by Community Board 2 and is expected to be implemented in August, launches the start of the DOT’s $100 million Green Streets initiative, which will cover all seven miles of Queens Boulevard.

The agency plans to hold more public workshops during the fall and winter for the future phases of the initiative, from 73rd Street to Eliot Avenue and from Eliot Avenue to Union Turnpike.

“After decades of crashes, many of them fatal, this corridor has been reimagined and will be redesigned to become a safer, greener and more attractive corridor for residents and businesses, suitable to traverse through the World’s Borough,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.

The first phase of the redesign, which includes the installation of a protected bike lane, covers the 1.3-mile stretch of the thoroughfare between Roosevelt Avenue and 73rd Street.

The agency previously said it decided to focus on this section first because statistics showed there have been six fatalities since 2009 in that particular area.

Some of the features of the first redesign segment include safer crossings, increased pedestrian space and improved intersections. The preliminary plan also looks to calm the traffic on service roads and try to reduce the number of times drivers move between the main line and service roads.

Unique redesigns include a protected bike lane integrated into a widened service road median, with new pedestrian space and median-to-median crossings that “allow for a linear park-like experience,” according to the DOT.

“This work represented a major advancement in the efforts to achieve Vision Zero throughout our city,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “Thanks to the work of the DOT, we are seeing significant improvements in traffic safety in western Queens, and we look forward to seeing Queens Boulevard safety improvements thanks to this $100 million capital investment.”

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Police looking for suspect in assault of 68-year-old at Roosevelt Avenue subway station


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A 68-year-old man was assaulted after a dispute at a Jackson Heights subway station, police said.

The assault happened about 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 10 at the Roosevelt Avenue stop, cops said. Following the argument, the suspect struck the victim in the face and then fled.

The victim was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in stable condition.

Police describe the suspect as a man in his mid-thirties and about 6 feet tall. He was wearing a waist-length jacket and sunglasses.

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

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Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken? Guess by commenting below! The answer will be revealed next week.

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”:  82nd Street and Roosevelt Avenue 

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City to begin studying western part of Flushing for residential development


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

The city is looking into rezoning the western part of Flushing for redevelopment and affordable housing, according to a city council hearing on Monday.

The Department of City Planning will launch a study from the westernmost part of Flushing to Prince Street and Northern Boulevard to Roosevelt Avenue. The area is largely industrial and most of it hugs Flushing Creek’s bank. Developers have been interested in the area for many years, including The Flushing Willets Point Corona Local Development Corporation, which received a $1.5 million state grant to clean up the polluted waters of Flushing Creek.

The plan is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s pledge to construct or preserve 200,000 affordable apartments. And Flushing was selected, along with other areas in New York City, as a possible candidate for housing development that would include mandatory affordable housing.

“The plan is to create a comprehensively planned community,” said Alexa Rosa, a consultant for the organization that received the state grant.

The city planning department will begin reaching out to the many stakeholders in the area for the possible rezoning, according to a spokesman for Councilman Peter Koo. The process could take years to complete.

“We definitely need more affordable housing,” the spokesman said. “And that would be welcomed, if that’s what’s actually going to happening.”

“We’re cautiously optimistic about it,” he added. “Because we are excited about it, but we don’t want to fully support something when the details aren’t there.”

He continued, “Everybody has to be treated fairly.”

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Jackson Heights man offers ‘midnight’ food tours down Roosevelt Avenue


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Donny Tsang / Courtesy of Jeff Orlick

For the past three years, one Jackson Heights resident has been showing visitors how delicious his neighborhood is once the sun goes down.

Jeff Orlick has been offering, by appointment, tours down Roosevelt Avenue for people from near and far looking to get a taste of the “real New York.”

The tour, called the Midnight Street Crawl, is one of three tours Orlick gives throughout the year. It is offered Monday through Thursday and goes from 90th Street to 111th Street. A spot on the tour costs $59, and reservations are required.

When he first started the “midnight” crawls, he was able to go from midnight to the early morning, but now, because of a new job, he tends to start the tours around 8 or 9 p.m.

“We basically investigate the street nightlife through food,” Orlick said. “We try to engage a community through the food.”

On the “midnight” tours, Orlick takes groups of two or more participants to street food vendors offering Ecuadorian, Colombian, Mexican, Dominican and sometimes Peruvian cuisines.

Although the route and cultures stay the same during the tour, Orick said he sometimes changes the interaction a bit so the participants and vendors can speak and learn from each other. He tries to make the tour two to three hours long, hitting about eight to 10 vendors.

“It’s like a jazz show: there’s a script and there’s notes, but we definitely go on tangents and explore,” Orlick said. “People definitely like it, they like how real it is. People say it’s the real New York.”

Most of the people who take part in the “midnight” crawl tend to be tourists, with only 10 to 15 percent being New Yorkers, according to Orlick. Others who reserve spots are new members to the community who want to get an idea of their neighborhood.

“I just want them to have a real connection, this is what I want to do when I go visit a place. I just want to come in and have a real connection,” Orlick said. “For me, the best way to connect is through food. It’s a great way to communicate with each other.”

Along with the “midnight” crawl, Orlick also offers a “Tastes of the World” tour and a “Queens Fiesta Crawl.” Both of these events happen during the day and are based on reservations. These tours tend to change depending on where the participants are from, said Orlick.

On Nov. 22 from 2 to 5 p.m. Orlick will also be hosting the third annual Momo Crawl, where restaurants and street vendors who sell the steamed dumpling in the half-mile around the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue subway station will be offering them for $1 each to people who have a 2014 momo map. To pick up a map, participants have to stop by the Jackson Heights Food Court, located at 73-07 37th Rd.

“In Jackson Heights, in Queens, people are proud of their cultures,” Orlick said.

For more information or to book a tour, visit www.vayable.com/users/tastes or www.iwantmorefood.com.

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82nd Street Partnership names new executive director


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Leslie Ramos

The 82nd Street Partnership has welcomed a new face to its family.

After a two-month-long search, the group’s board of directors named Leslie Ramos as the new executive director.

Ramos replaces Seth Taylor, who in August announced his resignation from the position, which he held since 2012. Taylor is now serving as the executive director of the NoHo NY Business Improvement District.

“It’s an honor to join the 82nd Street Partnership,” Ramos said. “To work within such a multicultural and booming community in Jackson Heights is an exciting opportunity. I look forward to continue strengthening the 82nd Street business enclave, which represents the entrepreneurial spirit and diversity of our city.”

Ramos was born in New York but grew up in Puerto Rico until her early teens. She then lived in Chicago and now currently resides in Brooklyn.

“It could not get any better than this,” Ramos said about the opportunity to work in such a multicultural area.

Ramos previously held the position as assistant commissioner for finance at the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Other positions she has held include the executive director of the Mayor’s Office for Industrial and Manufacturing Businesses.

Taylor and the 82nd Street Partnership have been working to expand the business improvement district (BID) to Roosevelt Avenue and tackle issues of graffiti, crime, poor lighting and lack of sanitation.

Yet they have faced a lack of support from residents and business owners in the area — many of whom claim that the change is not worth the rise of costs and would kick out immigrant business owners.

Ramos said that as the group is still counting the ballots of who is in favor or the BID expansion or not, she plans to reach out to businesses and answer any questions or concerns.

“For the most part I find that the businesses are more interested to create an area that is more pleasant for them to come to work and also their customers,” Ramos said. “I want to make sure that their visions and concerns are met because at the end of the day the BID is a community of the businesses coming together to make sure things work out for the best.”

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Op-ed: Roosevelt Avenue needs Street Vendor Review Panel


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY STATE SENATOR JOSE PERALTA 

Walk along Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights and Corona, and everywhere you go you’ll see small businesses, the vast majority of which are mom-and-pop operations.

These businesses, including the street vending carts and stands, sustain families and breathe life into the community.

From early in the morning until well into the evening, you’ll come across rows of street vendors offering up a smorgasbord of tasty dishes from throughout Latin America, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, books, homemade trinkets and on and on. All this amidst a sea of commuters and shoppers flowing in out of the subway stations and many retail stores along the avenue.

If the scene looks more than a little chaotic, it’s because it is.

The city has a jumble of overlapping and confusing regulations governing the rights and obligations of street vendors. But for all of the rules and regulations, nobody is happy with the system. Not local residents; not brick-and-mortar retailers; and certainly not the street vendors themselves.

Local residents regularly complain to me about sanitation issues and congestion on streets and sidewalks.

Restaurants, diners and fruit stores complain about carts setting up directly in front of their businesses to sell the same kind of food they do.

Other brick-and-mortar businesses complain that the smell and smoke from cooking food in front of their stores, along with the congestion and litter, drives away customers.

And the street vendors complain about petty and excessive city fines and the caps on the number of licenses. Because of the caps on licenses, you have unregulated vendors and even a black market for licenses. I’ve heard of street vendors having to pay as much as $24,000 for an illegal two-year rental of a license.

In order for the street vendors and brick-and-mortar retailers to peacefully and profitably coexist on Roosevelt Avenue and other commercial strips throughout the five boroughs, the city needs to do something, and it needs to start by making sense of the street vending regulations.

That’s why I’m urging Mayor Bill de Blasio to reconvene the defunct Street Vendor Review Panel and charge it with making sense of the myriad, often overlapping and confusing city regulations governing the rights and obligations of street vendors.

A new Street Vendor Review Panel with a broad, holistic mandate and representatives of street vendors, business owners and community interests is the right entity to study these issues and make appropriate recommendations.

In addition to revising the regulations governing street vendors, I would want the panel to:

• Eliminate the black market for street vendor permits by lifting the current cap on permits and rescinding those of individuals who illegally rent them out.
• Create zoning regulations and incentive structures to reduce sidewalk and street congestion and achieve a more efficient distribution of vendor locations.
• Enact a letter-grade system for mobile food vendors, in accordance with my bill (S. 43-A-2014), to further legitimize the vast majority of street vendors, who sell safe, healthy and delicious food.
• Reduce fines for minor issues and focus enforcement on serious health, safety, traffic and sanitation violations.
• Create and promote designated community spaces where street vendors can congregate to sell food without exacerbating congestion issues.

Inaction on issues surrounding street vendors has allowed enmity and confusion to fester where what’s needed is cooperation, understanding and common purpose.

Small businesses and bustling commercial corridors like Roosevelt Avenue are far too important to the city’s economy for the government to continue to do nothing.

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