Friday, July 20, 2012

Choking College Point

In what to us is emblematic of the Bloomberg schizophrenia when it comes to cars and development, comes the following story from the WSJ about College Point in Queens:

"For decades, residents of College Point in northeastern Queens enjoyed its suburban feel—a quiet, waterfront enclave that sits on Flushing Bay and the East River.

But the addition of several big-box retailers in the 1990s, followed by new condo and co-op construction, brought in more residents and shoppers—creating traffic bottlenecks in an area dotted with several narrow, one-way streets.And now, two new projects slated to make College Point home are further sparking congestion concerns

The mayor is working feverishly to limit car access into Manhattan, in order we surmise to keep the streets open for limousine access; but is choking the crap out of Queens. State Senator Avella comments: "You can go on a weekend and the traffic is unbelievable—backed up to the service road of the Whitestone Expressway," said state Sen. Tony Avella, a Queens native who lives in neighboring Whitestone."

All of this new development is on top of the Police Academy-and it threatens to destroy the quality of life in College Point, something that most elected officials aside from Avella seem to disregard:

"But critics say the accommodations are insufficient and that College Point has been smothered with more development than its infrastructure can handle, changing the character of the neighborhood in a fundamental way.

"Historically, College Point was a quiet, residential neighborhood with a small-town atmosphere, where families lived for generations," said Mr. Avella. "I'm not against development, but the city has failed to match developments with infrastructure, and now they [residents] deal with traffic on a daily basis, sometimes like Manhattan

Which brings us to the debacle at neighboring Willets Point-where a lack of road and mass transit infrastructure will make any of the city's grandiose plans turn into the ultimate traffic nightmare. And this traffic will spillover into all of the already congested local roads-not to mention the Van Wyck, the Whitestone and the LIE, roads that have garnered national recognition for their impassibility.

But, hey, it's not in Manhattan so who cares? Maybe College Pointers will have no choice but to ride bikes-something that Commissioner Sadik-Khan may have intended all along.