Tonight: Important Queens Community Board 1 Meeting on Astoria Plaza

The Astoria plaza plan is up for a community board vote tonight. Image: DOT

The intersection of 30th Avenue, 33rd Street and Newtown Avenue was the site of DOT’s first-ever one-day demonstration plaza. Will it get a permanent public space enhancement?

In June, DOT presented two options for this location: three curb extensions at a cost of $400,000, or the plaza at a cost of $75,000.

So far, Council Member Peter Vallone Jr. has sided with a group of vocal business owners who oppose the plaza. But tonight, the plaza will be up for a vote at Queens Community Board 1, and the dynamic could change.

A strong showing of neighborhood support for the 78th Street Play Street helped sway Queens CB 3 to support a car-free block in Jackson Heights in 2010. Public support for the Astoria plaza could shape the outcome of this project, too.

Merchant attitudes toward pedestrian plazas also have a way of changing after seeing the results in practice. Business owners who started out opposing the 37th Road plaza in Jackson Heights were eventually won over, and announced last month that they would help maintain what they now call “Diversity Plaza.”

Tonight’s community board vote is advisory but figures to factor strongly in DOT’s decision-making process. The meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. at 25-22 Astoria Boulevard. Stay tuned for coverage here tomorrow.

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