The triangular intersection of Newtown Avenue and 30th Avenue is one of the most dangerous for pedestrians in all of Queens.
It's an expanse of asphalt that drivers speed through using it a shortcut to Newtown Avenue, endangering pedestrians trying to cross this needlessly wide intersection that is otherwise dead space in the middle of a bustling shopping strip.
The Department of Transportation has developed a proposal to convert this hazardous space into a plaza with benches and plantings to create an attractive village square for central Astoria. This proposal would also create public open space, something that central Astoria lacks.
Incredibly, several merchants in the area oppose the creation of the plaza because it would result in the loss of seven parking spaces. They seem to believe that the loss of parking spaces will drive away their customers, while ignoring the hundreds of potential new customers that would be attracted to the area by the plaza.
There is a counte-rproposal to reconfigure the intersection by extending the sidewalks and shortening the crosswalks. While this would be an improvement over the current situation, it represents a lost opportunity to create this plaza - and would cost taxpayers $375,000 more than constructing the plaza.
Don’t let the narrow interests of a vocal minority ruin an opportunity for Astoria to gain a needed pubic amenity. Community Board 1 is scheduled to vote on this proposal on September 11. Please voice your support for Newtown Plaza to Community Board 1 and to Councilman Peter Vallone.
On behalf of Friends of Newtown Plaza