Thursday, January 10, 2008

Boulevard of Life

I wrote the Queens Blvd Restoration Group shortly after a post I did about beautifying Queens Blvd and got an immediate and detailed response from founder Steven Melnick (great Forest Hills name). Mr. Melnick has taken on the Herculean task of making Queens Blvd better all around. He needs help. Here are some highlights of past accomplishments and future needs from the email:

  • The city quickly installed 300 parking meters on the outer medians, however no one thought of the necessity of maintaining these now heavily used medians. The meters were being emptied regularly, but the trash that was accumulating on the medians was not being cleaned up.I personally financed a massive cleanup from Union Tpke to Yellowstone--- over 300 bags of trash were collected over 2 weekends!
  • Contractors also had walked away from filling in the new median extensions in Forest Hills and Rego Park.A tour with Melinda Katz and DOT got the job completed-- after pedestrians had to navigate around huge holes in crosswalks for nearly 1 year.
  • A 2005 letter writing campaign and petition to Mayor Bloomberg for improved safety and much needed resurfacing has finally yielded some great results. Beginning in Spring'08, the entire 7.5 miles of QB will be resurfaced. (It has not been done since 1994!)
  • To revamp the entire thoroughfare will take hundreds of $millions.We will be very happy if we can have all the medians repaired and beautified. We need greenery!!!! The major sticking point in the FH and RP sections is that the subways run just 24 feet below the surface.
  • We have done tree surveys covering Union Tpke through the LIE and submitted them to the Parks Dept Forestry Division. They have cut down many dead trees and started replacing the decades-old tree stumps with new trees last year. More trees to come in Spring 08! We have implored Bloomberg to allocate several hundred trees to QB as part of his million trees campaign. I would like to get the 75+ banks that line QB to pitch in and sponsor several trees each. ( I am still mulling this idea)
  • We need a groundswell of new support. We fear that one day the city will throw up its hands and just turn County Road 25 into a permanent highway, removing everything in its path. An unimaginable nightmare.

So Melnick is on the case, but if you want to lend a hand, I'm sure he'll take it. Find out how you can help at www.queensblvd.org.