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CB 11 seeks bike path land Property would link Douglaston Village and Alley Pond center

Jerry Iannece (r.) lends a hand as Lisa Lempel-Sander presents the Douglaston LDC's proposal to connect the downtown area with the Alley Pond Environmental Center. Photo by Rich Bockmann
TimesLedger Newspapers

As part of the Douglaston Local Development Corp.’s master plan for the revitalization of Douglaston Village, founding member Lisa Lempel-Sander gave a presentation Monday evening proposing Community Board 11 consider allocating approximately $1.2 million to purchase a piece of undeveloped property.

Sander said acquisition of the land, at 42-52 235th St., would improve and increase outdoor public space as well as link the community’s business district with the educational and operational programs at the Alley Pond Environmental Center, on Northern Boulevard.

She said a bike path would be created between the two areas. The request was added to the community board’s capital budget priority list.

On another issue, as the controversial livery cab bill sits stalled on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk, the community board decided to ask the governor to have Albany clarify several of the bill’s points before signing it into law.

Both houses of the state Legislature passed a bill in June that would authorize the city Taxi & Limousine Commission to issue 30,000 permits renewable every three years for livery cabs to pick up street hails in the outer boroughs, a practice largely conducted illegally. It would also issue 1,500 additional yellow taxi medallions.

CB 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece said the TLC’s commissioner had previously made a presentation about the then-proposed legislation to the community board, but at the time most of the “nuts and bolts” were not in place. On Monday, stakeholders on both sides of the debate brought their arguments before the community board at MS 158, on Oceania St. in Bayside.

Guy Palumbo, executive director of the Livery Round Table, which represents livery drivers and chauffeurs, said he was not against the idea of outer borough taxis, which he said would bring the city an estimated $1 billion.

“We don’t disagree with the concept. We do disagree with the details,” he said.

He said the legislation was not clear on how or even if the TLC would enforce a policy against automatic refusal, whereby in theory the driver of a commissioned car with a street-hail permit could refuse to pick a passenger up, claiming he or she just received a call to pick up another passenger.

TLC spokeswoman Dawn Miller said the commission would be doubling its enforcement staff, but the law does not explicitly ban automatic refusal.

Board members were also concerned about the additional cars on the street as a result of the law.

Miller said the large number was forward-thinking, and that she expected current cabs would transition into street-hail taxis.

“We don’t expect there to be 30,000 new cars on the street that weren’t there before,” she said.

State Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside) said he voted against the bill because he thought it would devalue the medallions that are already on the market, and because it was unclear the impact it would have on the community.

“I think many of us are satisfied with Kelly’s Cabs and Four Two’s,” he said. “I don’t think there’s been enough discussion about the impact on our community.”

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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