Third Avenue mall off the table for 2011

June 23, 2011 Helen Klein
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A missed deadline means that the controversial Summer Streetsproposal – whereby Third Avenue between 82nd and 89th Streets wouldhave been turned into a pedestrian mall on summer Friday evenings -is no longer under consideration for this year.

According to the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT),which oversees the program, the deadline for applying was December,2010.

The proposal, fit the criteria, noted John Quaglione, aspokesperson for State Senator Marty Golden who had proffered theproposal in conjunction with City Councilmember Vincent Gentile,but the deadline had passed to have the application filed. DOTofficials, he added, encouraged us to consider it for next year.They like the idea and think it would work.

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Nonetheless, the plan – which would have been effect on sixFriday evenings in July and August – had engendered tremendousdisagreement, with some residents and merchants backing itenthusiastically and others opposing it with equal fervor.

Indeed, a Community Board 10 hearing on the plan earlier thismonth had drawn approximately 200 people to St. Anselm’s auditoriumon a sweltering evening, with some 90 people taking the microphoneto make their views known during two hours of passionate debateand discussion, said Doris Cruz, the chairperson of the board’sTransportation Committee, during the board’s June meeting.

On that occasion, Cruz added, timing issues had concerned boardmembers as well, who, she said, felt that there wasn’t sufficientadvance notice to put a cohesive plan together.

The plan’s backers will be looking for other ways of stimulatingbusiness along the strip. The creativity that accompanied the ideahasn’t died, noted Gentile. Even though this proposal has beenrescinded, we are still looking for ways to encourage people tocome to the avenue on weekends.

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