The newsstand is being built on the northeast corner of 74th Street and 37th Road in front of Brown’s Army Navy Store, where the street is often congested with traveling pedestrians, community residents said.
“Another newsstand is simply not needed,” Councilman Daniel Dromm said in a statement, “as Jackson Heights is already saturated with newsstands and delis selling the same goods.”
A recent Jackson Heights study conducted by the Department of Transportation revealed that pedestrian volume, crashes, and injuries are highest in the neighborhood at the intersection of 74th Street and 37th Road.
“Situating the stand on this particular site will pose serious safety hazards by impeding the flow of pedestrian traffic, hurt small businesses, and become a blight on the community,” Dromm added.
The DOT needs to approve the newsstand before the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) can pass the proposal for its construction. Dromm argued that the DOT and the DCA should have rejected the proposal due to the DOT’s own study. In addition, the DOT and the DCA never contacted the Dromm’s office for his opinion.
Will Sweeney, a local resident and activist, began a forum on a Jackson Heights community website in objection to the building of the newsstand.
“It is ridiculous that the city would even allow newsstands on sidewalks that they themselves have designated as overcrowded and dangerous,” Sweeney said in an interview with this paper.
“Our community has been working to increase open space to improve quality of life. This is a giant step backwards,” Sweeney added. “We desperately need more sidewalk space in our community for our seniors, families, and the disabled.”
The manager of Brown’s Army Navy Store, Enrico Santi, also opposes the newsstand because he knows firsthand how crowded the area around his store becomes.
“Subways let out and buses come through, you can have a few hundred people walking through, and now you’re bottlenecking them into an eight foot sidewalk to get around the newsstand,” Santi said, “There’s no common sense for it.”
If these dangers, high pedestrian volume and crashes, are worsened by the newsstand, it can become the basis of a lawsuit that Dromm will pursue to protect the Jackson Heights community.
“Jackson Heights residents are tired of being pushed around,” Dromm said.