Formerly a newsstand and convenience store at 61-50 Metropolitan Avenue, the area has been neglected for over ten years and now looks completely unkempt. Crowley has called on the MTA, whose five-year Capital Plan promised in 2003 to develop and improve through regional projects, to allow the creation of a green space. The area is the property of the Long Island Railroad.
Crowley notes that the green space would be temporary, yet well worth it.
“While we continue to wait for the MTA to finally develop this area, we should be granted the opportunity to beautify this property in the meantime,” she said. “Thousands of Queens residents pass daily through this intersection and have had to look at the condition of this property for over a decade. As the gateway to Ridgewood, Middle Village, and Maspeth, this long-time eyesore hurts the surrounding businesses and stifles the area’s economic growth.”
The MTA’s five-year Capital Plan set out to fund large regional projects to improve the transit infrastructure. However, Addabbo is concerned that this busy intersection has been forgotten.
“The desire of the community should not be suppressed,” he said. “The MTA should be listening intently; this property means a lot [to our community]. It may be a small, minor step to them, but it is big in our eyes.”
Traffic, considerably heavy at this intersection, especially with several bus lines passing through multiple times a day, has become an issue to many people in the area. Tania Broschart, president of the Middle Village Chamber of Commerce, suggested an alternative to improve the flow of traffic.
“We would love to have the option of a turning lane explored on the east side of Fresh Pond Road,” she said. “Why can’t we use the property so that automobiles can get by more easily?”
In the meantime, Crowley has pledged to work with community members to raise the funds necessary to transform the land.
“I join my fellow Queens colleagues in support of transforming the Long Island Rail Road property on Metropolitan Ave and Fresh Pond Road from an eyesore to a green space,” she said.