Recent Flushing Avenue Shooting Spotlight of Town Hall
by Danielle Mastropiero
Oct 09, 2008 | 2568 views | 0 0 comments | 55 55 recommendations | email to a friend | print
State Senator Serphin Maltese and Councilman Anthony Como addressed concerns from their district at a town hall meeting they hosted Wednesday night at the Frank Kowalinski Veteran's Post on Maspeth Avenue in front of an audience of about 100 residents.

The meeting, which was the second in a series of town halls hosted by Maltese and Como, featured a panel consisting of representatives from the District Attorney's Office, the 104th Precinct, Mass Transit Authority, and FDNY, as well as from the departments of Transportation, Sanitation, Environmental Protection, and Finance.

Several residents voiced concerns that the 104th Precinct is being stretched too thinly in the area it serves, and warrants a satellite station similar to ones in Staten Island.

Police Commander Keith Green said while he agrees with the residents, chances are slim the NYPD will implement an additional station in the area.

"I don't see that happening any time soon," Green said.

Green said 14 new graduates from the police academy were assigned to the precinct and should aid in lightening the existing load.

Jodi Hirsch, a lifelong Maspeth resident, said she was concerned about the September 21st shooting at the Moonlight Lounge on Flushing Avenue in Maspeth. She said that prior to the shooting, residents had called 311 to report the establishment for noise violations.

"I live two doors down from that bar," Hirsch said. "Noise and rowdiness has been a problem. We were calling 311. How can we get this bar closed and out of our neighborhood?"

Green, who said the shooting is still under investigation, said residents should call 911 to report quality of life complaints.

"It doesn't have to be a crime to call," he said. "Call 911 and they'll determine if it should go to 311."

Although many residents echoed Hirsch's concern with the 311 system, Maltese urged them to continue using the non-emergency hotline.

"Don't give up on 311," Maltese said. "It's a good system."

Residents also expressed their frustration at traffic congestion in the area, as well as the stalled plan for a Maspeth Bypass for large trucks.

"I know you are quite angry that we have not begun [the bypass] yet," said Maura McCarthy, Queens Borough Commissioner for the Department of Transportation.

McCarthy said plans for the bypass have been delayed because engineers from the department felt bypassing traffic to Maurice Avenue will create more of a problem in the long run. She said the department is in the process of awarding a consulting contract to look into the problem, and expects the results within a year.

McCarthy added that the department is taking steps to alleviate commercial congestion as best it can for the time being.

"We are going to improve our truck route signage to become more uniform and put up negative signs,” McCarthy said. “The police have been given truck route maps to enforce the laws in place.”

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