2003-10-15 / Front Page

Bill Would Ban Sidewalk Stands In Downtown Flushing

By John Toscano
Bill Would Ban Sidewalk Stands In Downtown Flushing By John Toscano


Gazette photo City Councilmember John Liu has proposed legislation to prohibit sidewalk obstructions caused by the display and sale of merchandise on sidewalks in the heart of the bustling Flushing business area.Gazette photo City Councilmember John Liu has proposed legislation to prohibit sidewalk obstructions caused by the display and sale of merchandise on sidewalks in the heart of the bustling Flushing business area.

Declaring that the situation on Downtown Flushing streets has become unbearable and dangerous because of businesses expanding onto sidewalks, City Councilmember John Liu has proposed legislation to prohibit sidewalk obstructions caused by the display and sale of merchandise on sidewalks in the heart of that bustling business area.

Liu specified that the legislation was not anti-business, but for the safety and convenience of pedestrians in that crowded area.

"We need to reclaim our sidewalks for pedestrians, especially in the busy transit hub that Flushing is," Liu explained. "We want to help all local business to prosper, but businesses must be respectful of the need to keep sidewalks clear and safe for the tens of thousands of people who walk and shop here everyday."

Specifically, the Flushing lawmaker said, his proposed law could ban sidewalk displays on Main Street from Northern Boulevard to Franklin Avenue; Kissena Boulevard from 41st Avenue to Barclay Avenue, and Roosevelt Avenue from Union to Prince Streets. Merchants owning corner properties within these parameters would be banned from selling on side streets.


Liu (D) made the announcement last Tuesday at a press conference in front of the Flushing Library at Main Street and Kissena Boulevard. He was joined by officials of the Flushing Chinese Business Association, the Taiwan Merchants Association and Destination Flushing Inc., an organization formed to promote the area economically.

Timothy Chuang of the Taiwan Merchants Association said the organization supported Liu’s legislation. "We want Flushing to be safe for everyone," he declared. Chuang acknowledged that members of his group have received many complaints from the public and were willing to keep their merchandise in their stores.

According to Liu, there is a precedent for banning sidewalk displays because the displays have been banished from sidewalks at 24 sites throughout the city. One of these, Liu said, is on a portion of Austin Street in Forest Hills, others are on Myrtle Avenue in Glendale and Ridgewood.

Liu explained that sidewalk merchandise stands were a longstanding problem in Flushing, one that is becoming more severe for shoppers, pedestrians and people who work in the downtown area.

He said sidewalks were simply getting too crowded and are a disaster waiting to happen if the situation isn’t dealt with now.

Liu did not divulge what the penalty would be for a violation under the terms of the legislation he is proposing. The bill was due to be filed yesterday and Liu set next Thursday, October 23, for a public hearing at City Hall. A spokeswoman for the lawmaker, who chairs the Transportation Committee, said a series of public forums will be held in Flushing in coming weeks to give everyone a chance to be heard on the issue.

Related Flushing business news concerns the newly formed Flushing Business Improvement District (BID). The BID interim board has started a formal search for an executive director who will be responsible for management and planning for the business owners’ group.

The interim board also approved a Request for Proposal (RFP) application for sanitation service providers. Services would focus on sidewalk cleaning Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The RFP will be sent to companies known to provide this service. Copies of the RFP can be requested from Mabel Law at 646-879-1950.

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