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Local Public Transportation Buff Shares Vision

Feb. 6, 2011 Staff Report

Local public transportation and planning devoté, admittedly in favor of the renewed push for “congestion pricing,” Angus Grieve-Smith weighs in on his vision for a revamped Queens Boulevard. The hotly contested issue of a toll to use the Queensborough Bridge is back, and Grieve-Smith has joined the discussion, tagging it the local concern for a more attractive and prosperous Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside.

He writes, “…the great boulevards in Paris have many lanes for cars, but they became famous because they were great places to walk. For a century and a half, they have been destinations in themselves, where people from all over the city went to stroll. . . When people stroll, they take the time to window shop, and that often leads to buying. When they see friends, they want to chat, and they often do that over coffee, drinks, or dinner. This is why the boulevards of Paris are lined with shops and sidewalks cafés. Like many of New York’s boulevards, Queens Boulevard was planned in homage to the Champs-Elysées…”

Read Grieve-Smith’s essay in its entirety here on his transportation blog.

Former Councilman Walter McCaffrey is once again taking up his opposition to the toll, as he did in 2007, when he termed it another “tax” on those who can ill afford it. He spoke against it on NY1, “to folks who end up paying another potentially $5,000 a year as this may be similar to London, and they only earn $43,000 a year, and they must bring in their car for business purposes, this is a very, very heavy burden on them.”

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Angus Grieve-Smith

Thanks, Christian and Pat, for featuring my post!

Crapper, I addressed your point in the comments on my blog post. I don’t know why you think there would be five lanes’ worth of local traffic going through Sunnyside on weekday mornings.

GTTP, the train trestle in Sunnyside is pretty nice to look at, and has been appreciated by many over the years. It’s the tracks further out, in Woodside and beyond, that are more utilitarian.

As Sartke said, working-class Sunnysiders do not drive into Manhattan every day. Why not take a poll? In November 2007, 52% of Queens residents supported congestion pricing if the money were used to prevent an increase in mass transit fares and bridge and tunnel tolls. I’d imagine that support would be significantly higher in Sunnyside than in Queens overall.


Yes it is a working class neighborhood. And in new york city working class people take the subway. Anyone who has a car and doesn’t drive it for a living is not working class, they’re middle class people with poor money management skills.

please sir may I have more taxes

Sunnyside is a working class neighborhood. It’s bad enough many nice little stores are closing down. We pay to get into the city. Once we live here, unless one takes the triborough or mid town, we should be left to navigate the 4 connected boroughs without being taxed. the MTA hikes are bad enough. putting a toll on the queensborough bridge will hurt small businesses, Taxi’s, Black car service etc. want to kill your political ambitions? go ahead and suggest a tax on the bridges. no gallop poll need be taken in this issue.


I think that Mr. Smith has writtine a nice article and nice vision. Maybe the people in Paris have more free time on their hands. But the people that live in our town always seem to be in a rush to go somewhere and have little time for a chat however we do see plenty of pepole stopping to talk all the time in nicer weather and drier streets. People seem to live in a very stressful life. It would be nice to stop and smeel the flowers as they say. We need some weekends of stress free living like to plan a weekend in the spring and summer with our door music other than what sunnyside shines does in the warmer weather which is very nice. How aboiut a concert in the park on 43rd street


I can see strolling down the nicer parts of Skillman or even Greenpoint Ave but Queens Blvd is strictly utilitarian, not a place you leisurely take in the scenery.

Most of the wide boulevards of Paris were made only after entire swathes of the city were leveled and rebuilt from scratch in the 1800’s (recent history for Europe) by planner Baron Haussmann – (sort of like the Paris Robert Moses but who built things for human beings not automobiles.)

That train trestle in the photo, unlike the brutal steel girder elevated tacks we have here, is actually nice to look at. The French just seem to have a natural flair and appreciation for aesthetics. I don’t see that happening here, not with all the new eye-sores I see popping up every week.

Queens Crapper

As I posted on his blog, Queens Blvd was built as a highway, with plans to upgrade it to an express highway. It never was, and Horace Harding Blvd was improved into the LIE instead. He also states that people who would normally take the LIE to the Midtown Tunnel are driving through Sunnyside to get to the Queensboro Bridge. Rather, those folks are taking the LIE to Van Dam Street, bypassing residential Sunnyside. Congestion pricing will not have the effect on traffic that proponents claim. It is not meant to. After all, fewer cars mean less revenue and that can’t be sustained in the long run.


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