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Station Square to Reopen to Traffic By End of June, Although Debate Continues

Forest Hills LIRR station

Station Square prior to Upgrade (QP)

June 13, 2019 By Meghan Sackman

Cars will be able to use Station Square in Forest Hills once again at the end of the month.

The square, which was closed for 17 months in order for the roadway to be repaired, reopened May 5 to pedestrians.

The historic area was slated to reopen to vehicular traffic at the end of May, but the Forest Hills Garden Corporation (FHGC) waited while it considered the option of keeping the square permanently car free.

The plan that was floated involved closing Burns Street and Greenway Terrace off to through traffic—although keeping 71st Street/ Continental Avenue open.

The FHGC board decided to reopen the space to cars after its May meeting when residents spoke in favor of doing so.

The board, however, hasn’t ruled out making the square a car-free area. It plans to observe the effects that traffic will have on the station and make a decision later, according to board member Tony Barsamian.

Barsamian said the FHGC is continuing to gather information and feedback. The board is still contemplating hiring a traffic consultant and is looking at ways to compile traffic data when it reopens.

FHGC will send out a survey to Forest Hills Gardens homeowners to gather their opinions before a final decision is made.

The board has no set date as to when a decision would be made.

“The Board will assess the best path for the community, using tools such as the survey, and make a final decision based on what is best for everyone,”  Barsamian said.

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15 Comments

Mitch A. Shugener

I heard that the reason it didn’t close to cars permanently was while it was closed the homeless from the subways and other areas started to hang out and sleep there. Yes, it is a private community but they still use city services such as public sanitation for their garbage.

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Forest Hills Cynic

The streets in Forest Hills Gardens are private streets whose upkeep is paid by the Gardens residents. People living outside the Gardens have no say in how the streets are to be used. Technically the streets can be closed to outsiders (they actually are 1 day per year) like other private communities (ever try and visit Breezy Point in the Rockaways) do.

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Commoner

Yes, but they took public money for the station square upgrade. If they want 100% say, then next time they can put up the $1mm. Taking public money complicates things, I know it’s a hassle.

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Commoner

The Station Square $1 million upgrade was paid for with state funding secured by Andrew Hevesi. All residents in the immediate area should be surveyed, not just Gardens residents.

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Gerald

Oh boy, more fodder for the car lovers to complain! I welcome any conversion of spaces such as this to become pedestrian only, especially in the busy summer months! Just too many damn cars on the road, period.

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K.C.

No doubt FHG will have the $$ to buy off any survey. Why not just close all of FHG to traffic? Then the elite can have their bucolic oasis. Screw anyone who lives between Harrow and Metro. The best for the least, forget the rest.

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FoHi Resident

I hope Station Square is kept closed to traffic. Thus far, there have been no substantial traffic backups as a result and having the square, and neighboring side streets, less heavily used has made for a substantially safer and more pleasant resident experience, tipping the scale in favor of keeping closed IMHO. Before closing Station Square, Burns Street and the Greenway roads were bustling with cars driving often far too fast for the area, putting pedestrians (including children and pets) at risk of being hit. The Station Square construction has been a wonderful change to the area with regards to reducing road traffic, and ofcourse restoring the beautiful brick work. I hope the FHGC reconsiders opening Station Square and keeps it closed for the future.

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geo

A shame. This could make a lovely open mall. The geriatric storefronts turned into cool pop-up stores, and art galleries.
FH could use a little Brooklyn inspiration.

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Daniel

While I agree it could have been a gallery. I feel its nice to have a place to walk and just chill.

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Kat Curtis

There used to be some fantastic mom and pop shops on Austin Street. Now it’s Paris Baguette, Shake Shack Buffalo Wild Wings and Pandora. Good luck getting any “artsy” vibe again.

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K.C.

So the board is only going to consider “a survey (given) to Forest Hills Gardens homeowners to gather their opinions”. Not even taking into consideration other residents of Forest Hills that are directly affected by this closure. It’s bad enough that the gardens are shut down for concerts. Now this. Really??

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