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Additional trees, library upgrades, bus countdown clocks coming to Astoria, following PB vote

April 21, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan

Astoria will see six projects funded through the participatory budgeting process after a record number of people voted this year, announced Councilman Constantinides last night.

This year 3,617 people cast ballots during the week-long participatory budgeting process to decide how to spend $1 million, choosing to fund a variety of projects including neighborhood beautification and library upgrades, among others.

“I am proud that we’ve had such enthusiasm for Participatory Budgeting once again this year,” Constantinides said. “Seeing our vote total more than double from last year shows that neighborhood residents care about our public and community spaces. We are happy to provide this rewarding opportunity that brings the city budget process directly to our community members and helps keep our neighborhood civically engaged.”

The most popular project this year was the planting of new trees throughout the district with 1,471 votes, which will cost $36,000.

Other projects that will be funded through the process include bus countdown clocks at ten locations throughout the district, which will cost $250,000 and got 1,206 votes, and updating the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math lab at the Young Women’s Leadership School at 23-15 Newtown Avenue with new laptops and 3D printers. That project received 1,036 votes and will cost $60,000.

The other three projects funded through Participatory Budgeting will update various libraries throughout the district.

With 1,140 votes, the Queens Library at Astoria will receive $250,000 to install an accessible entrance that will add sliding doors, fix the driveway, and if necessary, remove steps to benefit seniors and those with disabilities.

Libraries throughout the district will also receive technology upgrades, as many of the computers are out of date. That proposal received 1,044 votes and will cost $125,000.

Finally, after receiving 1,037 votes, the Queens Library at Steinway will receive $300,000 to install solar panels that will lower the electricity costs by up to 60 percent and are good for the environment.

In addition to the top projects, Constantinides committed to funding new parking lot lighting for the NYCHA Astoria Houses through his regular discretionary budget. The project received 897 votes, which is more than double the number of votes for a similar project at the Astoria Houses basketball courts last year.

The projects will all be funded through the city budget, which will be passed in June, and then will enter planning and community input phases before design and construction begin.

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Not Afraid of New Neighbors

That’s how voting works. You vote, make your voice heard. More people wanted the countdown clocks. That’s what we got.

Alicia Fernandez

How about the public funding of the Citi Bike expansion to Queens costing tax payers $6,000 per bike? Each of those bike stations will cost about $240,000 and there are dozens planned in Queens Community Board 1’s area. Millions of public dollars spent to fund a private company’s supposed “transportation alternative.” Wonder why this was not part of the participatory budget process?


$240,000!!!!6000 a bike!!! It’ll be cheaper to buy everyone in Astoria a bike. If I was a woman. Which by the way thank god im not. Last thing I would do is ride a bike that someone else’s fat ass was sweating on. Barf!! Sometimes I sniff my own bike seat. It’s pretty bad. I could only imagine what a woman’s seat would smell like. !! Cookies?


As a homeowner the trees can be a nuisance. Even though it is not considered your property (where they are planted) you are still responsible for sidewalk repair if you get a violation or if your home is more than a 3 family. If you get a violation the home size doesn’t matter and you must fix it or face fines. If the tree roots interfere with the homes underground water/sewer or gas lines, it is the owners responsibility to repair without interfering with the tree roots. This can be very costly for homeowners from 5-15 thousand dollars depending on which lines need to be repaired. My neighbor got a ticket for leaves during the fall in front of her sidewalk caused by the tree the city planted. She went to fight the 100 dollar fine and she lost. She always cleans her front sidewalk but she was ticketed after a heavy rain fall and the judge did not care. Trees are wonderful and look great but NYC does not work with you when they cause issues and the repairs can be hefty especially for low income homeowners.


Who are these low income home owners that own a property that is more than a three family?

But yeah, I guess trees are only for the wealthy now. “Trees”, now crossed off from my list of things I can enjoy in life, along with clean water.


“If you get a violation the home size doesn’t matter and you must fix it or face fines”. In other words, if you are ticketed you are responsible for your own costly repair no matter if you own a 1 family or 6 family home. And if you have sewer/gas/water line issues due to the tree roots, home size does not matter. You are responsible to fix it and must not interfere with the roots (its very expensive). My point was to say that I wish the city was a little more responsible and helpful when planting and maintaining trees on sidewalks in front of homes. I am not against trees and technically it is city property where they are planted. However, Tree Pruning requests from the city take forever and can lead to dangerous conditions when not done periodically. Branches have been known to fall and damage property or even worse injure people. The city should work with us on these issues not against. You should continue do enjoy whatever makes you happy.


Are people honestly complaining about trees ? My god you people need help . The blocks that have trees look so much better .

Always Angry

I was trying to make a joke but totally underestimated how ridiculous people are here. Then they actually started complaining about the trees…


Ha! I was wondering after the fact if you were being sarcastic . But then yes, someone actually complained about trees. Lol

Spam, egg, sausage and spam

How well do those solar panels work in the winter when there’s a foot of snow and ice on top of them for weeks at a time?

Not afraid of new neighbors

The panels are angled to better catch the sun and also allow rain, snow, and ice to slide off. Next, someone will complain that the panels don’t work at night. Neither does the library, for the most part.

Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Solar is a definite improvement over breathing dirty air or do you want more pollution from the nearby powerplants?

Not afraid of new neighbors.

Yes, more trees. God forbid this neighborhood actually attempt to improve itself. The naysayers want to pave everything, from horizon to horizon, and then park a car on top of it. Sorry if making the neighborhood look better makes more people want to move here. I guess some would prefer to live in a dump.


Enough with the trees! Astoria is getting more crowded each year and these trees take up so much of the sidewalk, cause cracks, turn into dog litter boxes and trash cans.


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