The NY Times is reporting on the negative business impact of a "traffic calming" plaza in Jackson Heights-and the plaza is a further indication of the Bloomberg administration's multi-personality disorder: "The new pedestrian plaza on 37th Road in Jackson Heights, in the heart of Little India, is an oasis of calm, a much-needed stretch of open space in a traffic-glutted area of Queens. Or, it is a glaring example of disastrous city planning, a blighted, unlovely esplanade that has all but decimated commerce in the neighborhood. It depends on whom you ask."
Well, if you ask the poor immigrant shop owners: "This is a business place, this is not Times Square where people come from all of the world and sit there,” said Javed Chaudhry, who sells phone cards and accessories at GRB Distributors. He recalled feeling a mounting dread as the boulders rolled in. “I knew I was going to lose my bread and butter,” he said."
This all comes courtesy of the city's two faced transportation commissioner Sadik-Khan-someone who claims to be all about reducing car congestion: "Last September, in efforts to create more open space and decongest nearby Roosevelt Avenue, the city repurposed one block of the road — much as the Bloomberg administration has reinvented chunks of Times Square — to be a haven for pedestrians. But the plaza bears little resemblance to Times Square, just six miles away. A half-dozen traffic-blocking boulders and rickety picnic tables seem to be the sum total of the alterations to the streetscape to date, but business owners say it has been enough to turn a once-bustling block into a barren one."
Of course this is the same commissioner who we caught on emails to the NYS DOT threatening the agency with retaliation if it didn't approve ramps off the Van Wyck to facillitate the 80,000 daily car and truck trips out of redeveloped Willets Point. (http://www.willetspoint.org/2011/05/inhuman-trafficing.html). Can you say hypocrisy?
What links this all together is the anti small business animus from the Bloomberg crew-and in Jackson Heights the councilman hearts this antagonism: "Councilman Daniel Dromm, a Democrat who had pushed for the plaza, said he believed the business owners were overstating the impact, and he challenged the merchants to turn over their books and prove their losses. No one has done so. Even if the business community were to prove its claim, Mr. Dromm said, the plaza would most likely stay."
What a guy! Is it any wonder why the local shop keepers don't want to turn their books over to this anti-small business kook? All of this demonstrates why the current administration is the most anti-small business group in the city's history-promoting car reducing plazas that hurt neighborhood stores; while pushing Van Wyck ramps for their rich developer friends.