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Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a town hall on Wednesday, September 22 at the Boys and Girls Club in Astoria to address issues affecting residents of North West Queens.

It was the first public meeting in a series of meetings dealing with regional issues in the borough. Richards called on the Department of Transportation (DOT), Parks and Recreation, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and others to inform the community of projects or services support available to them.

Brian Honan, vice president of the Intergovernmental Relations Office at NYCHA, alerted the community to the US plan for the $ 1.2 trillion job that would allocate $ 80 billion to public housing.

Honan said this money would be instrumental in updating their buildings.

“The bill we are talking about now, for the first time in NYCHA history, would allow us full rehabilitation,” Honan said. “Going into people’s apartments, replacing their kitchens and bathrooms and modernizing their apartments.”

Richards added that this bill would also give boroughs an individual allowance and require transparent reporting of money spent.

“We will know how NYCHA is spending our money and how efficiently and effectively that money is spent,” said Richards.

Citizens were able to ask questions of the borough president or representatives of municipal agencies, which mainly dealt with quality of life issues.

A resident asked about the city-wide DOT proposal to remove sidewalk bylaws in order to continue to expand alfresco dining.

Queens Borough DOT Commissioner Nicole Garcia said the agency goes to every community council meeting to present the plan and include local governments in this transition.

Another question was addressed to Garcia regarding the staggered lights exiting Grand Central Parkways towards the RFK Bridge entrance.

“When you come out of Grand Central, there are people traveling at the same time,” said one resident. “It’s so dangerous.”

DOT officials said they had shifted the lights in that area to prevent a flow of traffic crossing the lanes for a short distance. The DOT also said it may conduct another study to survey the area, which typically takes three months.

The meeting was broadcast live on Queens Public Television on Wednesday and can be viewed on Vimeo.

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