Meeting Held To Discuss Rkwy. Pkwy. Improvements
It’s been more than 15 years since efforts were made to improve conditions along the Rockaway Parkway shopping strip from Flatlands Avenue to Farragut Road. According to the Rockaway Parkway Merchants’ Asso-ciation, it’s about time steps are being taken to renew the street’s overall ap-pearance.
The merchant’s group met with elect-ed officials and Department Of Trans-portation (DOT) representatives this week to discuss city and state funding for proposed renovations.
“We really want a new look for the strip,” said Ed Gottlieb, president of the Merchant’s Association. “Nothing has been done for so many years. I want to know why we’ve been neglected and how we can make the area look more appealing.”
During the meeting, which took place at the GreenPoint Bank, the group’s liaison, Herb Preminger, told DOT per-sonnel that provisions, such as promotional lighting, benches, refurbished sidewalks, improved traffic patterns and a redesigned bus terminal, are among the improvement priorities.
“While we’ve started circulating surveys to merchants to find out what provisions are most important to them, we want to know right now how much the DOT can help us funding wise,” said Preminger.
DOT Brooklyn Borough Commis-sioner Lori Ardito told the group, “Refurbishing funded by the DOT is basic repaving. Normally we just rip up what’s there and put what’s called plain vanilla pavement. But when you add benches, lights and other fixtures, it becomes a maintenance and sanitation issue, which we do not take care of.”
According to Ardito, the city’s Eco-nomic Development Corporation would have to be involved and be liable for the maintenance issues. She also said that merchants, in addition to elected officials, would have to generate funding for some renovations.
“Once the projects are funded, they require approval from the DOT, a proper budget assessment and contracts,” said Ardito. “We’re looking at well over two years until renovations are completed.”
Assemblyman Nick Perry said, “This street is definitely in need of revitalization and we need to make it more attractive. What I want to see is less congestion and traffic. Maybe we can enforce traffic rules for vehicles that double park and find a way for the police department to patrol on a regular basis.”
The Rockaway Parkway Merchants Association has scheduled a September meeting to discuss what renovations are most important to merchants, ac-cording to surveys they’ve conducted.
“You always ask for more than you can get,” said Gottlieb. “But hopefully, with the help of our fellow merchants and the DOT, we can move in the right direction.”