May 23, 2019 By Meghan Sackman
Station Square in Forest Hills may be reserved for pedestrians only.
The Forest Hills Gardens Corporation, the organization that oversees the private roadway, is considering making the square traffic free.
The square, which was closed for 17 months in order for the brick roadway to be repaired, reopened May 5 to pedestrians. The historic area was slated to re-open to vehicular traffic at the end of this month, but the corporation is considering keeping the square permanently car free.
This plan would mean closing Burns Street and Greenway Terrace off to through traffic. However, 71st Street/ Continental Avenue would remain open.
Michael Perlman, Chair of Rego-Forest Preservation Council, is in support of the preservation of these roadways.
Perlman said keeping the square car- free would benefit the community in various ways including the preservation of the architectural history of the square, increasing traffic safety, and providing a space for community activities.
“The restoration and preservation of our community’s historical and distinctive streets and buildings is an essential means of celebrating our character and enhancing our quality of life,” Perlman said, who also added that keeping the square car-free would make community events such as history events and craft fairs possible.
Tony Barsamian, a Forest Hills Gardens Corp. board member, said the board is discussing these pros and cons of making the square car free. It is also considering hiring a traffic consultant to determine the impact the plan would have on traffic in the surrounding area.
He said the organization is looking into creating a survey to get feedback from residents.
Barsamian said the corporation’s board of directors would make the final decision. However, the decision would only be made after a traffic study was conducted and public feedback was considered, he added.
“The bottom line is Station Square is a beautiful architectural treasure,” Barsamian said. “Whatever decision is made will be in the interest of protecting that.”