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The Department of City Planning recently proposed to rezone Ozone Park to help preserve the neighborhood’s small-town character, which is known for its one- and two-family homes. NY1 reports that the current zoning of Ozone Park doesn’t differentiate between the residential blocks and the main streets. According to City Planning, “Development isn’t occurring in the most appropriate locations.” John Young at the DCP elaborates: “We’re seeing one and two family housing torn down and replaced by housing, which is much denser than the surrounding context, and yet very little investment for new commercial and mixed use buildings on the main streets.” The proposal on the table is to rezone 530 blocks bounded roughly by Rockaway, Atlantic and 101st avenues to the north, the Van Wyck and Lefferts Boulevard to the east, the Belt Parkway to the south and Brooklyn to the west. The rezoning would protect one- and two-family homes from higher-density development while providing incentives for commercial and mixed use development in commercial areas. The zoning will also keep commercial areas distinct from residential areas. Currently, the rezoning proposal is in the public review process. The City Council is expected to vote on the matter early next year.

Department Of City Planning Proposes Ozone Park Rezoning To Preserve Area’s Character [NY1] Photo via NY1

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The Community Board 5 Transportation Committee has spent the last several months working with the Department of City Planning and the Department of Transportation to install bike lanes in Ridgewood, Maspeth, and Middle Village. After the committee’s latest meeting, attended by Streetsblog, it looks like these plans will come to fruition next year. The Department of City Planning proposed these bike routes: Eliot Avenue from Metropolitan Avenue to Woodhaven Boulevard; Juniper Boulevard South from 69th Street to Dry Harbor Road; Woodward Avenue, Onderdonk Avenue, and connecting streets from Metropolitan Avenue to Cypress Hills Cemetery; Central Avenue and Cooper Avenue from Cypress Hills Street to Woodhaven Boulevard; 69th Street from Calamus Avenue to Metropolitan Avenue; and 80th Street from the Long Island Expressway to Myrtle Avenue. Streetsblog also notes, “There are four additional routes that could receive further study: Grand Avenue, a north-south route between Ridgewood and Maspeth, a route between Ridgewood and Bushwick, and a loop around Juniper Valley Park.” As you can see in the map above, central Queens sorely lacks bike lane infrastructure, so these plans will be welcome news to bikers. The Department of City Planning will host a workshop with the Community Board next month for more feedback on lane placement. The DCP and DOT are hoping to install bike lanes as soon as fall of next year.

The Transportation Committee also looked at plans to make the 71st Avenue Plaza in Ridgewood permanent. It’s expected that the committe will write a letter of support for the permanent plaza proposal, which heads to the Public Design Commission next month.

Queens CB 5 Set to Move Ahead With Bike Lane Planning, Plaza Construction [Streetsblog]
Temporary 71st Avenue Plaza Likely to Become Permanent Fixture in Ridgewood [Q’Stoner]
Map by NYC DOT

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Image source: robnguyen01 on Flickr – an example of a sidewalk cafe on Astoria’s 30th Ave, where outdoor seating abounds

DNAinfo reports that the Department of Planning is looking into changing the zoning rules in LIC and Sunnyside so as to allow sidewalk cafes. There are parts of these neighborhoods where sidewalk cafes are banned, though at the same time you’ll see outdoor seating in those same areas, so it may be a bit confusing. Those businesses with sidewalk cafes are technically operating them illegally, even with city licenses.

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For a few weeks now, there has been construction going on down at Astoria Park – it looks like they’ve ripped out the sidewalk and edges of the park all along Shore Blvd. It’s blocked off by plastic orange fencing and the trees are surrounded by wooden slats, supposedly to keep them safe and indicate they are not to be cut down.

Just Thursday morning there were construction guys with jackhammers breaking up the sidewalk area close to the Hell Gate Bridge (you can see the debris in the photo above).