Eyes on the Street: Filling the Void Left By Astoria’s Missing Plaza

A Key Food delivery truck in Astoria blocks the crosswalk and a fire hydrant, forcing pedestrians into Newtown Avenue. Photo: Todd Schultz

Last month, Queens Community Board 1 voted down DOT’s proposal for a pedestrian plaza at the intersection of 30th Avenue, 33rd Street and Newtown Avenue, opting instead for curb extensions that will keep the block open to vehicle traffic.

The curb extensions are set to be installed next year. In the meantime, as shown in this photo sent in by reader Todd Schultz, trucks unloading at the Key Food on Newtown Avenue are parking illegally in the crosswalk, endangering pedestrians crossing the intersection.

At the CB 1 meeting, Thomas Anderson of Key Food spoke against the plaza, saying it would “eliminate convenient access to our store” and “potentially threaten our viability,” despite a DOT survey of the store’s shoppers showing that 90 percent arrive on foot or by transit.

  • J

    This picture pretty much sums sums up how Thomas Anderson feels about convenient access for 90% of his customers.

  • Benjamin Kabak

    From Todd’s photo, it appears as though there is a single car parked there whose driver may be a Key Food shopper.  This was all about easy access for Thomas Anderson’s delivery trucks to park illegally right in front of the store.

  • AlexB

    That Key Foods asked a lot of their customers to sign a petition promoting “pedestrian safety” which was actually a petition against the pedestrian plaza.  They have their own parking lot in the back of this Key Foods but always have trucks deliver in the front where there is a fire hydrant, and they often park in the crosswalk like in the picture.  Their whole attitude towards pedestrians and the neighborhood in general has led me to stop shopping there and instead use the Trade Fair a couple blocks away.  I used to shop there practically every other day as it’s on my way home from work.  I really can’t say enough bad things about the store’s management.

  • Ben Kintisch

    Mr. Anderson has made a foolish move. Even if deliveries are a bit of a hassle, having thousands of people happy and safe in front of a store brings more business for this store and others nearby. It’s really that simple.

  • Milkquetoast

    Would love to see a timelapse.  You’d really get a good idea of who is against the ped plaza.

  • Miles Bader

    Anderson is following in a grand tradition of crazily clueless and conservative (in the “small c” sense) business owners shooting themselves (or rather, their business) in the foot with a bazooka.

    A pretty good rule of thumb for community boards would be to carefully listen to business owners in the area, and then do precisely the opposite of whatever they advocate…

  • Danny G

    I’d like to see a map of which community boards do or do not have term limits.

    @google-9ed3368a6439fa92efd353af4436290d:disqus I’d have to disagree. Some merchants groups are pretty smart, but some are not. I’d be careful to paint with such a wide brush.


Participatory Budgeting: Your Chance to Vote for Livable Streets

A record 24 City Council members have launched participatory budgeting efforts this year, giving local residents a say in how to spend a share of the council’s discretionary capital funds. Starting last fall, volunteers and staff spent months refining proposals and suggestions. Council members are now releasing sample ballots so the public can learn more about the projects before […]