CM Julie Won Hosts Interactive Town Hall, Residents Raise Bike, Pedestrian Safety Concerns



Hester Street Executive Director Eva Neubauer Alligood and City Council Member Julie Won give remarks to attendants. Credit: Jean Brannum


Council member Julie Won hosted a town hall where residents floated around interactive stations to express their land-use-related concerns for the community on Monday in Sunnyside. 

Partnering with Hester Street, a nonprofit that plans events to help people engage with their community leaders, Won was able to survey over one thousand people regarding issues including pedestrian safety and protecting small businesses in a series of town halls called “Heart of the District”. Won also said that many people have attended the town hall events

“We’ve seen how currently the city lead land-use process or the developer process isn’t exactly conducive to community feedback and community engagement,” Won said in her remarks to the attendees. Currently, citizens have 60 days to provide feedback for land-use legislative processes. Won’s process of hearing community feedback is a year. 

Residents fill out “Love Letters” and “Break-Up Letters” to highlight things they like or dislike about the area. Credit: Jean Brannum

During the town hall, residents could move to different stations with various activities where they could share their concerns and feedback for the Roosevelt Ave and Northern Blvd area in Won’s district. One station contained “Love Letters,” where residents could write something they love about the area, and a “Break-up Letter,” which was something residents wanted to get rid of. 

Another station had several maps of the Northern Blvd and Roosevelt Ave area. Residents could put stickers and sticky notes to react to top issues in the area and point out places where they thought the issues were of concern.

One common theme among residents was pedestrian and bike safety on Northern Blvd. 

Dirk McCall de Paloma, executive director of Sunnyside Shines, said that he is scared to cross the road on Northern Blvd due to the width of the road, quick-changing pedestrian signs, and fast speed of the traffic. 

Community residents could react to top concerns by placing colored stickers next to issues. Credit: Jean Brannum

Avid bike rider Corey Hannigan said that he would like to be able to ride his bike where Greenpoint Ave and Roosevelt Ave intersect, but worries about his safety due to all the trucks driving on the bike lanes.

Another issue was the lack of transportation. David Morant complained that the buses are usually stuck in the same traffic as the cars. Hannigan added that the construction-related service outages on the 7 train would be fine if the buses ran better. 

Eva Neubauer Alligood, executive director for Hester Street, explained that the goal of her organization is to encourage residents from diverse backgrounds to be involved in their local government. The event included interpreters for Spanish, Nepali, and Bengali speakers. 

Won will host another town hall in June. The online survey where residents can voice their concerns is online.

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