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Councilman has plans to revitalize Steinway Street by adding public plaza and streetscaping

Costa Constantinides

February 1, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan

A local councilman has big plans to overhaul Steinway Street and make it more pedestrian-friendly.

Councilman Costa Constantinides laid out plans in his State of the District speech last night to update Steinway Street and restore it as “ the beating commercial heart of Astoria.”

Constantinides outlined his two-part plan for the area, aiming to update the streetscape for increased safety and walkability, as well as create a public space for shoppers to sit and relax.

“For a number of reasons, business along Steinway Street has been in flux for several years now, making it the right moment to ask, once again, “what is a street?” and “what is it for?” Constantinides said. “That’s why, tonight, I’m calling for a comprehensive reinvestment in Steinway Street that ensures that our neighborhood’s hub continues to thrive in the 21st century.”

The first aspect of his plan involves updating the streetscape to make it safer and conducive to commerce.

Constantinides explained that there have been 249 traffic-related injuries, and 95 specific pedestrian injuries, in the last five years on Steinway Street.

To address these safety concerns, he called on the Department of Transportation to add mid-block crosswalks to Steinway Street, to prevent pedestrians from illegally crossing the street in the middle. He pointed out that the way Steinway is laid out now, pedestrians often need to walk large distances to safely use a crosswalk simply to reach a store across the street from where they are.

He also is asking for the installation of Leading Pedestrian Intervals, which are walk signals that give pedestrians a few extra seconds before vehicles can begin moving again.

The second piece of Constantinides’ plan involves adding a public plaza or park so that pedestrians can sit and relax.

“One thing that many, if not most, great shopping areas have to bring people in is a place to sit and read a newspaper, chat with a friend, or simply take in the hustle and bustle,” Constantinides said, pointing to Union and Madison Squares in Manhattan and to food courts and seating areas in malls throughout the country.

He pointed out that there is no area like this on Steinway Street, and said he hopes to put together a community working group to work with the Business Improvement District to figure out where and how to add a similar public space.

Constantinides laid out his plans at his annual “State of the District” address, where he outlined his progress over the last year and suggested future plans.

Another future plan he mentioned was ensuring that all parks in his district that had not yet been updated get worked on in the next five years. He also said that he plans to introduce a bill to move up the date that power plants need to phase out the polluting number 4 oil, and said that he would like to eventually see a waterfront park that stretches from Hallets Point to Hunters Point, though that is in the fairly distant future.

Much of his speech focused on the necessity of city and state government, now that Donald Trump is President and “has made clear that he intends to undo all the work that we have done to protect consumers, workers, and our environment.”

“We might fear the uncertainty ahead on our national stage, but that darkness can be illuminated by our actions and our efforts here in Astoria,” Constantinides said.

“This city is welcome to everyone, regardless of where they come from or how they got here. It is welcome to everyone, regardless of their orientation or gender identity – there will never be a bathroom bill in New York City. It is welcome to everyone, no matter what religion they practice, or if they practice no religion at all.  New York will be the World’s City as surely as Queens is the World’s Borough.  Anyone may call it home,” he said.

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41 Comments

DT

can we do something about all the scooters buzzing around the neighborhood, they ride them recklessly in any direction following no traffic laws…. i know we get our food fast when we order for delivery but these kamikaze scooter drivers are out of control…




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Anonymous

The double parking can be solved by people who use common sense and not block in people who are planning to leave. Also, they shouldn’t be using their cellphones while doing so.

Then, the roadwork is totally unbearable. Ever wonder how taxi drivers hate it when they drive thru Steinway, and their roads are just like the same of an off road rally in Cali? Now you know why some drivers there avoid that strip and find alternatives elsewhere.

Last time I took a trip to Steinway, they were planning to make a condo area next to PC Richards, and put another supermarket there. Instead of Food Emporium, bring in a Fairway, which has a bigger better selection than most of our “newly renovated” markets in Astoria. Didn’t know Cherry Valely Farms was just as expensive as a Gristedes or a John Horton’s
supermarket in the city- was forced to purchase in Costco’s instead…




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Josie

You are a disgusting and miserable low life person who probably has never accomplished much in life. Tearing down people is only a reflection of the pathetic person you are.




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THE TRUTH

Great….I left a comment here that was “anti” our precious Councilman and I was informed it was not going to be published. So much for the First Amendment…looks like this publication is your typical liberal mass media front manipulating the truth and stifling free thought.




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THE TRUTH

Watch out what this a$$wipe Gus does to mess up Steinway. Maybe the crosswalks mid block might work but when he gets doing with the plaza idea don’t be surprised if you will be unable to drive all the way thru Steinway. This guy has been a disaster for Astoria after all these years of the Vallones looking out for this neighborhood. Look at the mess he made of 20th Ave, Astoria Park, 31st/Hoyt exit off the GCP and Hoyt Avenue was his latest project. I live on Ditmars and it takes me fifteen minutes to get on the GCP except late at night because this idiot has some kind of vendetta against cars. This guy is a fool and ramming this stuff down our throats just like all the progressive liberals do with everything. HE HAS GOT TO GO!!!!




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George Chrisley

stop attacking the decisions of pres trump, he was voted in so there must have been enough folks out there who wanted him, listen obama had 8 years to clean up things and that’s that, seems this pres is working non stop from day one and getting flack for his efforts, you are supposed to be an american and honor the voting system, embrace and support him and do all that you can do to help him get his goals accomplished, we all put up with Bill Clinton, Bush dubya jr. and Obama for so many years and we shut up and were respectful even though they all made major messes and filled up this town with too many people and too many buildings and too many taxes and just too many too many of everything, show respect for this new elected president and embrace him, he needs our support, he doesn’t have to be a lying theiving politician to get the job done, maxine waters talking today about impeachment? she’s funny, if she had been so terrific in California, we wouldn’t have illegals crossing the borders for the day to pick fruit in cali and poop in the fields and then go back over the border, if maxine was so great, cali would not make marijuana growers wealthy by legalizing pot in cali, who ever heard of such a thing? what has maxine waters done for me lately?




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George Chrisley

dont charge me 5 cents for a plastic bag, dont waste time talking about it, just make them vanish, take them away, dont create new ways for retail stores to make money, we bought the canvas bags, actually all stores should give them for free, Titan gave a bunch for the holidays free, rite aid sells them for a buck. go around and collect all the plastic bags or let them run out, dont charge us and waste hours in your hi paid city council jobs talking about 5 cent plastic bags. city council really knows how to waste time and taxpayers money




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George Chrisley

get a task force to catch all the creeps who dump nails and screws and studs on all the roads and streets, they are doing it on purpose. find out who it is and clean up the roads of screws and studs. who wants to repair our flat tires? will they understand that they killed us if we get their screws in our tires on astoria streets and then have a blowout on the GCP on the way to a doctor’s appointment and we get killed. IT SHOULD BE A CRIME TO UNLOAD SCREWS, NAILS AND STUDS ON ALL ROADS, CATCH THEM COSTAS, ARREST THEM, SCREWS ON THE ROAD CAN KILL US ALL




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George Chrisley

we need to be able to find good new or used wool clothes, bring us a big goodwill store. we need to find real cotton t-shirts and cotton clothes and none of this b.s. cotton blend with lycra lying to us that it’s 100 % cotton when it’s not. stores have to have integrity and be truthful. revamp the stores. cvs is dark and is short of stock variety. i need no rinse cleansing foam for my senior father and they don’t bring it anymore, have to order baby magic no rinse foam on line and pay shipping because no place has it on steinway. so sick of stores not having needed senior products, fix the freaking potholes




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George Chrisley

store rents are out of control and that is why they open and close, no one can make the rent, put a cap on retail rental rates. my wife used to buy cotton socks and thermals at Madeleine’s who went out of business. Is the new store the same owner? Victoria Secret has no decent cotton underwear for my wife and mother in law. you need to go back to the old fashioned ma and pa stores. My sister used to go to a shoe store on Steinway for her ballerina toes shoes, we don’t have that store anymore. so many good stores gone. Why did Salvation army go so small? we need many more thrift shops and vintage clothing stores with low prices




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George Chrisley

we need a Cartier, Tiffany’s and Sak’s Fifth Ave on Steinway St. How about a Bergdorff Goodman and an Apple Store? How about some art galleries? Or at least a frame store? Accupuncture?




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George Chrisley

I paid less money for progressive lenses on Second Avenue in Sutton Place Manhattan than the price the chain franchise charges on Steinway. Yeah did you know Steinway is now no different than Manhattan?




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George Chrisley

Stores on Steinway are not what they used to be. We need you to attract some real name brand stores with good quality. Where did Claire’s go? Where is the nice candy store with all assortment of gummy bears? where is a lemon tree hair cutter? Where is a good orthopedic shoe store like Clarks, Aerosoles etc? Why don’t you get a Target on Steinway or a Wall-mart so we don’t have to drive far? How about an office max? I miss Woolworth. We need some honest eye glass stores and get rid of the thieving old franchise chain with the same old merchandise in the store and the lying commission sales people. Steinway is not so great in order for you to start dumping millions into revitalizing it and making walking areas, this ain’t 34th street in Manhattan. fix the potholes. What’s with the homeless shelters all over the place?




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George Chrisley

fix all potholes and repave roads. stop double parking everywhere. more cops on astoria and L.I.C. streets. catch bike riders riding in wrong lanes and on sidewalk swerving every which way. Lower real estate taxes for all three family homes.




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Anonymous

Saw Constantinides recently with some other guy walking down 31st Street and 23rd Ave., both wearing cheap crumpled suits that didn’t fit, looked like they were sleeping for days in irregular suits. The few times I complained to his office about homeless people living in parks and noisy bars, I got a response from his secretary who couldn’t form a proper coherent English sentence. A store owner in Astoria told me Constantinides was soft in the head, I’m convinced now.




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Astoria Resident

I’ve been shopping on Steinway for 55 years. I have never seen a generation put way too much thought into everything!!!!!! The stores open and close because the rents are too high. People sitting around “plazas” are not people spending money and look both ways before you cross a street. Life seems so hard for people today.




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John

Agree with the above. Double parking is a huge problem on Steinway Street and 30th Ave. Additionally Steinway is no longer the shopping hub it once was. I remember it being a shopping destination growing up. They need to add better stores and get rid of the ones that don’t add any value to the neighborhood.




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Anonymous

well if people would stay off their cell phones when crossing and pay attention to the lights things would improve alot —




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jenastoria

Let’s face it, Steinway is looking fairly trashy these days. Retail improves if its a place that people want to stroll down on the weekends, and buyers or not, its good for the community to have a place to do that. Public plaza is a great idea. I am not sure how it’s going to happen, but it would be good. Add some green too, please.

Not sure why there’s negativity about the cross walks. There is apparently a fair amount of accidents on Steinway and the ability to cross mid block will improve pedestrian flow.




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charles a castro

Maybe this idiot hasn’t heard of the internet and Amazon.com.. Hey smart man, what are you going to do, ban people from buying stuff online? You could put ten cross walks on Steinway, that won’t help jack.




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Astoriana

Agreed! The constant double-parking makes Steinway st a menace to both pedestrians and drivers! I love the idea of a public plaza too




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Mary

Stop the parking !

I don’t care if you’re 95 years old and need to walk an extra block to get to your store at the risk of falling and dying. No double parking .




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De

I’ll double park whenever I fucking feel like it. And you vacant do shit about it you snowflake liberal




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Mac

Double parking is a conservative value? Hahaha De you’re an imbecile. But your stupidity has made my day thank you.




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De

Why don’t you go jump on your citibike and get flattened on the way there by a truck. You couldn’t shine my shoes pal. Hope trump blocks federal funding to ny. See how fast your bike lanes close dueshy mc duesh




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jenastoria

Sorry that you have such a sad and miserable life that you feel compelled to lash out at others in – of all places – the astoria post.




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Justin

Absolutely agree with the above. Double parking is probably the single biggest problem on Steinway, as it is in many parts of Astoria including 21st St where I live. Additional restaurants would help revitalize the area and keep it going after dark when all the shops close and it becomes a dead zone.




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Anonymous

I think the podium is bigger because he’s giving a “State of the District” speech. This is a big big deal!!!!




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Matthew

If you want the street to be safer and have more foot traffice you need to:
1) start ticketing double parked vehicles without mercy
2) create more public parking in any way you can. initiate a study to assess the pros/cons of creating angled parking on one side of the street only. leaving two way traffic to pass on the other side of the street.
3) follow through with the mid-block cross walks controlled by stop signs (this is a great idea)
4) control speed of traffic with speed bumps (these can double as the cross walks)
5) encourage more restaurants to open up on Steinway.




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K

This family of sites–SunnysidePost. LICPost, AstoriaPost–rarely contain comments that are valid without some garbage political opinion. Thank you for your clear contribution. I agree with you 100%.




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KR

The double parking is an enormous problem all around. 30th Ave. is worse than Steinway! Cops on bikes or those single-person vehicles is the way to go. No mercy!

They need to stop the left turns from 2-way to 2-way as well, just like in Manhattan, on weekdays for the peak times, 7-7. Ticket, ticket, ticket! I’d say make turn lanes, but then parking would be affected, and parking around here is bad enough.

While they’re at it, start instructing pedestrians to wait on the sidewalk and not stand in the street while waiting to cross. No one can go around left turners or make right turns because of these people. Astoria is just as metropolitan as Manhattan, without the high rises; the time of this area being a “summer escape” have long been over, nor is it one step closer to the ‘burbs that it used to be.




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yasss

since i’ve been here i have seen the worst double parking from 30th to Astoria Blvd south.
most horrific is between 28th and Astoria blvd south




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yasss

#1….lower rents to reasonable rates for incoming and current tenants

foot traffic means shit if every other store is vacant.

I’ve never seen so much vacancy in one corridor. it’s horrible.

Greedy landlords are forcing tenants to close up shop and accepting unqualified tenants who can’t afford nor sustain business in this neighborhood
What happened to the Steinway Street BID? what are they doing?




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