The Department of Transportation’s pedestrian plazas have largely gotten a bad rap from the business community, but at least one group of Queens store owners have not only come around to one in Jackson Heights, but have also vowed to maintain it, according to Streets Blog. Perhaps that will offer some relief to the vocal critics of City Planning’s proposed Vanderbilt Avenue pedestrian plaza.
The owners of the Internet Cafe and Bombay Chat cafe along Jackson Height’s 37th Road business district, Agha Saleh and Shazia Kauser, respectively, have formed a group called “Sukhi” that plans to fund maintenance for the more popular plaza.
That’s a far cry from late last year, when they were among the retailers that said the plaza stifled traffic along the thoroughfare and contributed to business being diminished by as much as 60 percent. In fact, the owners of the former Eagle theater nearly scrapped ambitious redevelopment plans because of the plaza’s affect on the hub.
But people are now flocking to the plaza. The change can be attributed in part to its aestheitc improvement — it has been dressed up with plant-life and better seating and tables — and also to a larger DOT traffic plan the plaza necessitated that funneled vehicular traffic to the businesses, according to Streets Blog.
“This plaza can benefit the stakeholders who depend on this place for their livelihood,” Saleh said. [Streets Blog] – Adam Fusfeld