Council Member Francisco Moya announced on Monday that after months of calling attention to the adverse effects of the Clear Curbs initiative, the city will effectively end its six-month pilot program along Roosevelt Avenue by the end of this week, about five weeks early than originally planned.
CORONA, NY — The city will effectively terminate the Department of Transportation’s Clear Curbs initiative along Roosevelt Avenue in Queens, by the end of the week — a decision Council Member Moya, Assemblywoman Ari Espinal and small business owners in the area have consistently called over the course of the program’s truncated trial period.
“This program was instituted to drive down traffic congestion along Roosevelt Avenue in Queens and other major thoroughfares in Midtown and Brooklyn, but in practice, it left small businesses decimated and put nearby residents at risk as delivery trucks pushed off the main roads flooded into residential side streets,” Council Member Francisco Moya said. “This is a welcome relief for the affected residents and small business owners. Time after time, small business owners told me they feared they wouldn’t survive the six-month pilot period. We’re thankful the city has decided to shut this initiative down early.”
In late June, three months into the program, the Commissioner and members of the NYPD joined Council Members Moya and Mark Gjonaj, who chairs the Committee for Small Businesses, and Assemblywoman Ari Espinal of Queens, for a tour of Roosevelt Avenue to see how initiative had affected local shopkeepers.
“I want to thank Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and the Mayor’s office for heeding the calls of residents, small business owners and elected officials,” Moya said. “Commissioner Trottenberg was particularly helpful in her willingness to participate in a walkthrough along Roosevelt Avenue and personally speak with men and women whose livelihoods the initiative jeopardized.”
In May, Council Members Moya, Gjonaj and Majority Leader Lauri Cumbo introduced the Protect NYC Jobs and Businesses Act in response to the Clear Curbs initiative. The measure would require city agencies to notify affected community boards, Business Improvement Districts and Council Members of any project that significantly disrupts street usage and provide those stakeholders with the opportunity to voice their concerns or suggestions. Such measures were not taken ahead of the Clear Curbs rollout.
“The discontinuation of Clear Curbs is a victory for everyone who supports a transparent government,” Council Member Mark Gjonaj said. “While working to ease congestion on city streets and roadways should be a priority, the administration must stop this ‘City Hall knows best’ approach and seek to bring all stakeholders to the table to find a solution that doesn’t disproportionately impact the residents and business owners that depend on strong and vibrant communities. I am proud to be the voice of my constituents and mom-and-pop shops from across the city, and will always act to do what is in their best interest. This is a good first step, but to ensure that community stakeholders are heard the City Council must pass the Protect NYC Jobs and Businesses Act that Majority Leader Cumbo, Council Member Moya, and I introduced earlier this year.”
“When the Department of Transportation implemented the Clear Curbs pilot, it provided almost no advance notification to the local businesses that would be most impacted. My colleagues, Council Members Gjonaj and Moya, and I were loud and clear that this was unacceptable, and I am delighted that the City heard our call and is ending the program five-weeks early,” New York City Council Majority Leader Laurie A. Cumbo said. “Almost all of the businesses in the impact zone faced serious challenges that hindered their ability to conduct business, and they were never given the opportunity to provide input before the DOT rolled out its plan. While the program is ending early, my colleagues and I are continuing to advocate for the needs of local businesses with the ‘Protect NYC Jobs and Businesses Act’, which ensures that the needs of our local businesses remain front and center as the city considers any new plans in the future.”
“When decisions are made that affect the small businesses of our district, the community needs a seat at the table,” Assemblywoman Ari Espinal said. “I thank Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and the Mayor’s office for hearing our concerns and putting an end to the Clear Curbs program, which brought unnecessary hardship to the small businesses along Roosevelt Avenue.”
“The last few months have been extremely difficult for the many small businesses that operate along Roosevelt Avenue and adjacent streets,” said Leslie Ramos, Executive Director of the 82nd Street Partnership. “Not only are these businesses essential for local residents, but they also serve Latinos living throughout the city and the Tri-State area. We want to thank Councilmember Moya for being a passionate advocate for small businesses and helping to bring the Clear Curbs program to an end. Now that the program is over, we look forward to working with the city to help this once vibrant corridor bounce back.”
“Thanks to the hard work and advocacy of our businesses, community partners, supporters and elected officials, we stood united, and made it very clear that the Clear Curbs pilot program had no place here,” said Community Board 4 District Manager Christian Cassagnol. “While raw numbers and data are all too often at the forefront of infrastructural improvements, there is a human element that is too often overlooked. In order for our communities and commercial corridors to truly thrive, open dialogue, and a general understanding of our communities’ needs must be brought to the table well in advance; our commendations to our colleagues in government and to all those who stood by us.”
“While the program’s intention was to reduce traffic congestion, its impact to our local businesses was devastating,” said Philip Papas, Chairman of Community Board 3. “Several businesses closed or were on the verge of closing. The negative effects of the project outweighed any potential positive outcome. After discussing these results with our elected officials, city agencies and our business community, the project has been terminated. We thank all of the parties involved for coming to our community’s aide.”
The Protect NYC Jobs & Businesses Act is currently before the Committee on Transportation.