Koo Hosts Forum on Flushing Sidewalk Obstruction Bill

By David Brand

Ahead of a City Council vote on a bill to limit sidewalk obstructions in downtown Flushing, Council Member Peter Koo will host a public forum at the Sanford Towers Condominium lobby at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Koo first introduced a bill to amend the administrative code to prohibit stoopine stands and street vending in Downtown Flushing in June.

“Despite recent widening, the sidewalks of downtown Flushing remain very congested,” the bill text states. “To allow greater pedestrian access and ease sidewalk congestion, this bill would prohibit obstructions and food vendors on certain streets in downtown Flushing and would prohibit general merchandise vendors within certain boundaries of downtown Flushing.

Council Member Peter Koo. // Photo courtesy of Peter Koo

Council Member Peter Koo. // Photo courtesy of Peter Koo

The bill is co-sponsored by Council Member Karen Koslowitz.

On Sept. 14, Koo led a multi-agency tour along Main Street in Flushing to discuss his bill. The tour included officials from the Department of Consumer Affairs, Department of Health, NYPD and the mayor’s office.

“The rules and regulations governing vending are needlessly convoluted, mired in bureaucracy and spread across multiple agencies making this one of the more difficult quality of life issues to enforce,” Koo said on Facebook. “I am committed to working on this problem to make sure that the prevalence of street vending does not continue to infringe on our shared public spaces in Flushing.”

The bill would prohibit stoop-line stands at the several busy locations in the neighborhood, including along Main Street between Northern Boulevard and Sanford Avenue, along Roosevelt Avenue between College Point Boulevard and Union Street and along Kissena Boulevard between 41st Avenue and Barclay Avenue.

The Street Vendor Project, which advocates for the interests of street vendors, said the bill would displace 16 vending businesses that employ 48 people. The organization called on the council to vote against the bill.