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Residents Condemn Shore Boulevard Street Redesign at Town Hall Meeting

2015 Town Hall (file)

2015 Town Hall (file)

May 13, 2016 By Michael Florio

Several Astoria residents questioned the Department of Transportation and elected officials about their decision to convert Shore Boulevard into a one-way street at a town hall meeting held at the Museum of the Moving Image last night.

Assembly Member Aravella Simotas, who hosted the town hall that included representatives of several City and State agencies, said the decision was made after local officials and the DOT held visioning sessions with residents.

“This has been such a long-standing issue,” Simotas said. “We have received complaints regarding Shore Boulevard on a daily basis for a long time—often about people speeding.”

But many residents who attended last night’s town hall opposed the plan.

Harry Panagiotopoulos, owner of the Sweet Spot at 22-72 31st Street, said he was “disturbed” by the DOT’s decision to redesign Shore Boulevard since everyone he knows is against it.

“We don’t know who asked for it or who wants it,” Panagiotopoulos said.

Several residents shouted that they too oppose it.

The DOT’s redesign will turn Shore Boulevard into a one-way street, which will make room for a protected bike lane on the side of the roadway replacing the one currently on the sidewalk.

Community Board 1 approved the plan in February.

Moving the bike lane into the street will also narrow the roadway, therefore causing motorists to slow down, said Albert Silvestri, Queens Deputy Borough Commissioner with the DOT.

Council Member Costa Constantinides said many residents have complained about speeding and have also asked to move the bicycle lane off of the pedestrian sidewalk, while not forfeiting any parking spaces.

“We had to compromise to make everyone happy,” he said. “This is only step one of a larger plan to calm the surrounding streets.”

Panagiotopoulos disagreed, stating that a one-way street will make things more chaotic.

“If there is an accident how will police cars and ambulances get there?” he asked. “This is not making the street safer, it will do the opposite.”

Another resident said installing speed cameras along Shore Boulevard would be a better solution. However, the DOT is not permitted to install cameras at that location, Silvestri said.

Simotas pointed out that if the plan to convert the boulevard to a one-way street does not work it will be revisited.

“This is not set in stone,” she said. “If the solution doesn’t work we have to work together and find another.”

Panagiotopoulos was not pleased to hear that.

“We will have to spend money to change this and spend more money to revert it back,” he said.

Silvestri, however, said that this project will not be costing millions of dollars.

Despite the opposition, Rose Marie Poveromo, Founder and President of the United Community Civic Association, stated that the community has to be more vocal.

“There are more people on the panel than in the audience,” Poveromo said to the roughly 40 people in attendance. “The community needs to come out and be vocal to get things done.”

Shore Boulevard (GMaps)

Shore Boulevard (GMaps)

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43 Comments

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Skip Seglipse

I loved riding by bike in the new bike lanes this weekend. My car stayed home, where it belonged. Astoria should not be a car-first neighborhood. It’s very walkable, we have good bus service, and is very bike friendly.

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Resident near the Park

I have lived next to the park for 11 years. I spoke out against the one way at the February meeting. I think it’s a horrible idea. They could have just put the bike lane on the side walk, along the curb. Never should have had it winding through the park. The DOT has crazy ideas that aren’t vetted. 31st St getting off the Grand Central anyone?

Want to slow down traffic, install more speed bumps. Have cops write tickets. Put a stop sign or yield sign along the way. Horrible idea. Already experiencing the pain of the new one way.

I rent. I’m not a hipster and I’m not a Greek. I’m just someone who has come to love the neighborhood.

I would have loved to have gone to this meeting, but I didn’t hear anything about it. Too many times, there are meetings at MOMI with no advance notice. Horrible!

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Mike Kounas

I as well as many others attended the original meeting concerning this issue, we were all of you then? The original plan was to close off shore completely to vehicles. This was a compromise to make everyone happy, motorists as well as bicyclists.

Come on people, fair is fair, this is good for everyone.

You have to give a little to get a little!! I am still able to drive and park by the river!! Don’t be so selfish, this was a great deal!!

Thank you Assembly Member Aravella Simotas and Council Member Costa Constantinides for sticking to the original deal!!

Mike Kounas

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Less vehicles, yay!

Anything to reduce the amount of those idiots on the loud annoying bikes and quads.

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Joe

Astoria has some of the worst representation in the city. Dump Simotas, Constantnidis and Bramer and vote in people who represent the interests of the residents, not just developers and real estate interests. No one is happy with the over development and resultant over crowding of Astoria, yet these three do everything they can to expand it.

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Anthony J Vella

Here’s a solution station more police on shore blvd and start issuing speeding tickets to everyone.

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Angelos

I like across from the park and the speed bumps certainly helped to cut down on the speeding — at least along Ditmars Blvd leading down to Shore Blvd. But I don’t think turning it over to bikes and pedestrians is a bad idea — anything to cut down the amount of car use in the area is a good thing. It just attracts the wrong element from other neighborhoods.

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Bev

First they tell me I have to use the bathroom with a man wearing a wig and now shore blvd is one way! this is too much for someone to take.

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Mari

No, no one said you had to use a bathroom with a man wearing a wig. When things are too much for some people, they take their own life. It is an option

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lol

I thought the uproar in that neighborhood was not to close down shore blvd. Well it is not closed down. Next time, attend the meeting and stop depending on some silly on line petition to voice your concerns and opinions. More than one thousand on line signatures and seventy five people attended the meeting with DOT before this proposal was approved is truly laughable. Everyone likes to complain while sitting home on their asses. “There are more people on the panel than in the audience” our officials are 100% right!

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Maria B.

My job moved to CT and my profession requires 10-12 hours days, so unfortunately, I cannot attend weekday meetings. Please don’t demonize those of us who can’t attend. It doesn’t mean we’re lazy and “sitting on our asses”.

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astoriagal

I hope there is still enough space for the ice cream truck. I love ice cream.

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rebecca

Bravo to our elected officials. Most people who live outside of the Astoria Park Area do not care whether it is one way or two way. Safety is the issue here. We all seen the increase of people especially youngsters and car traffic in our neighborhood and something needs to be done in that area to keep us safe. Let us give this a chance.

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david

Actually many residents (renters) in the area and park goers that I know who live outside the park area do care. They prefer it closed to traffic.

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BS

Bullshit, i’m next to the park and want it open so I don’t have to go via crappy 21St street.

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van

I hope eventually they just close down shore blvd in the park area and make it a space for park goers.

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Steve

This design is ABSURD! ONE LANE, I REPEAT ONE LANE! Imagine what happens if theres a fender bender, or people pull over to wait for someone to get out of a spot, or parallel park, a protected bike line would make it a single closed in path that would allow NO ONE to pass including any emergency vehicles. Ive lived in Astoria my entire life, if anyone understands what the strip means to Astoria they would NEVER have approved this. Politics and money once again prevail. The concept of it “not being set in stone” and “we could just put it back” would reconfirm how the companies that fueled poiticians campaigns are now getting their money back one way or another. So sad.

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Bev

Steve I know how you feel. It is just so sad. “Memory, all alone in the moonlight, I can dream of the old days, Life was beautiful then…”

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Flat Stan

You are right!!! Clearly we need to get rid of all the other one way streets asap! If we removed one row of parking I would finally be able to get my SUV down these stupid narrow streets!

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KM

Can someone explain all this supposed speeding with speed bumps every 20 feet or so.

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Flat Stan

Can someone explain why you just completely made up the “speed bumps every 20 feet” fact?

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Hmmm

Was there any thought to installing speed bumps? Seems to be a common solution to speeding on many side streets in the area

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JM

Only thing I like is the pedestrian crosswalks throughout the strip. You can leave it two-way and install Yield for pedestrian signs at them. What idiot decided it was a good idea to have a fenced-in pedestrian walkway with a bike lane…ACROSS the street from the current sidewalk by the water? Remove that and make it a protected 2-way bike lane.

One way streets will not “calm” traffic because now motorists can speed down the strip knowing another car isn’t coming the other direction.

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Skip Seglipse

Only the dumb Greeks oppose this because they have no common sense. That’s why their country was invaded by the Turks and is now bankrupt.

These are the same morons that complain about all the noise on Shore Blvd.

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Stacy

The only reason Astoria is a nice place to live and has great food and night life is because of the “dumb” Greeks you reference, that’s why you and the other hipsters moved here. As far as Greece being bankrupt that’s thanks to Goldman Sachs, and it wasn’t Turkey it was the Ottoman Empire. Modern day Turks couldn’t hold a candle to the Ottomans or the Greeks as well. If you don’t like Astoria or the Greeks go back to Ohio, you hick!

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L Jenn

Your point is totally mooted by your resort to racist bs, exactly what gives Astoria a bad name.

For the record, I am a Greek and support the one-way conversion.

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Ben Dover

Why are you so pissed off with the the Greeks?? Ohh, they are probably your landlord raising your rent every year hundreds of dollars. Lmao!!!!! Your pathetic, you loser

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Liz Santilli

I’m a lifetime Astorian, and Astoria is what it was because of the Italians, Greeks, Irish, and Jewish immigrants. It was the place to live before you hipster transplants started moving in. Shore Boulevard has always been a two way street and never any problems until you spoiled brats moved in with your speeding and disregard to authority. By the way…the “dumb Greeks” as you call them are the ones that gave Astoria its flavor when they migrated and moved here, those “dumb Greeks” as you call them opened business and created jobs for the community. What have you hipsters done? Cause rents to increase to amounts only you can afford because you live like cockroaches squeezed into one apartment and split the rent? Get out of town. Regarding the change, I oppose it 100% There should have been a vote for the residents and I don’t understand why we did not receive notification of this meeting.

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Skip Seglipse lovestosuckcock

stupid ass wanna be New Yorker, go back to the backward, cousin marrying hick town you came from. Show’s how jealous you are of the Greeks that you would try to attack the Greeks about an issue that has nothing to do with them.

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Michael Boylan

If Shore Blvd is made a one way surrounding blocks will be impacted by more traffic, noise,accidents.

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L Jenn

As a person who uses the park and has been nearly run over crossing the road, I support the conversion to one-way. Don’t understand what the Sweet Spot has against this at all. It’s about safety and will discourage those noisy motorcycles that race around on the weekends.

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VoteHillary

maybe he wanted to get his name and his businness in some local papers. free publicity.

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Rebecca

You are ignoring the fact that this change is in RESPONSE to community concerns and complaints. Our elected officials are finally responding to years of near constant complaints about the dangerous speeding on Shore Blvd. crossing, edpecislly with a child was way too hazardous. This change a decade overdue.

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Andrea Pack

The bottom line is that our elected representatives are not listening to the taxpayers and residents who voted them into office. Why is that?

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hfa

Because most opposed to this are older homeowners in the area. The majority of voters in Astoria are younger renters and they do not mind officials and the city revising an area for safety.

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FZ

Yup, they listen to the Hipster @Holes This is what you get when you have a one party city.

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Sick of It Already

There has to be a system in place to notify all residence in the area when there are any meetings in place for people to voice their opinion. don’t let people know the day before or schedule it during hours when they are working etc…. Constantine is suppose to be helping Astoria at least when Vallone was in office everyone was up to date on things. This is ridiculous because most of the already new bike paths don’t interfere with pedestrian paths. if you had more police presence down at the park and they did their jobs instead of flirting, socializing and on their phones speeding wouldn’t be an issue. Nothing is going to stop people from speeding even 25MPH speed zones don’t stop them. I miss the old days when none of this stuff was an issue and the park was enjoyable.

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L Jenn

The bike paths that run through the park are definitely a problem – pedestrians use them and they are a prime are for collisions. Also, Astoria did not get any new police officers – they all went to other places in Queens – so “more” police presence is probably not going to solve any problems.

However, I agree that there should be a better system for notification of these meetings.

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