Community Issues—We Hear You!

Saturday, October 29, 2016


Community Issues—We Hear You!

During the summer, we circulated a survey, “What are your most important issues in Murray Hill?” We received 215 responses which are listed below in order of importance. The numbers indicate the percentage of respondents who deemed the issue important or very important.

Traffic: 84% Gridlock has made it difficult or impossible for pedestrians to safely cross the streets at certain intersections, particularly on streets carrying traffic going in and out of the Queens Midtown Tunnel and on Park Avenue. The large amount of construction and bike lanes has made traffic worse. Respondents also said that traffic laws should be enforced more than they are presently.

Noise: 76% Some of the causes that should be addressed are construction drilling, the rattling of metal plates on the streets, unnecessary honking, ambulance sirens, dogs barking, people shouting in the street and loud parties.

Construction: 75% Concerns range from lengthy construction projects which tear up streets as well as the MTA Emergency Ventilation Plant construction proposed for Park Avenue.

Public Safety: 73%. Respondents have expressed concern that some of the transient inhabitants of the Bellevue Homeless Shelter and Main Chance are behaving in undesirable ways that are unsafe for our children. In addition, neighborhood stores are experiencing shoplifting. Traffic blocking the crosswalks makes it difficult to cross the street safely.

Garbage: 72% Third Avenue seems to be most affected with littered sidewalks, overflowing litter baskets, garbage in tree beds and people not curbing their dogs.

Zoning/Land Use: 67% Many respondents were concerned about the preservation of our historic buildings as well as the low to mid-rise character of the neighborhood. Additionally, respondents advocated affordable commercial rents for small businesses and extending the BID boundaries. Respondents disliked the food stalls on Park Avenue, and uninhabited poorly maintained private homes. People feel that we need a neighborhood plan, and Murray Hill must be seen by the city administration as a residential area that is not going to be over utilized for income producing real estate ventures.

Homeless: 60% Residents are concerned about aggressive panhandling, public urination, and sleeping on public or private property. The 33rd Street Subway Station and the area from 30th to 34th Street along 3rd Avenue are especially affected. In addition, the NYCLink Wi-Fi kiosks are outposts for vagrants.

Bicycle Safety: 47% Cyclists often ride on sidewalks, block intersections, ride in the wrong direction, and run red lights. Bicycle laws should be enforced.

What you can do to help:

If you see an incident that is illegal or poses immediate danger, call 911.

For other issues call 311 or you can report them online. When reporting a problem you will be asked to provide an address or an intersection where the activity is taking place. You can report problems to 311 anonymously. It takes a minimum of 3 complaints for the City to take action.

311 issues include: overflowing or broken street litter baskets, litter in tree beds or on sidewalks, homeless people doing something illegal or in need of assistance, noise, loud parties, traffic gridlock, construction before or after hours, etc. (You also have to know which hours construction are allowed, because different projects have different hours.) The MHNA website Traffic Updates provides information about City and MTA projects, but there are also utility projects going on in the neighborhood.

Sidewalk litter and litter in the gutter out to 18” is the responsibility of the building owner. If you know the business, you might stop in to mention it to them as a courtesy before reporting the problem to 311.

If you think a street corner needs a litter basket, you can request one using the Litter basket request form.

Other issues:

Neighborhood businesses: There were many comments about the loss of neighborhood stores, such as grocery stores, book stores and restaurants, due to exorbitant rents.

Trees / Parks / Open Space : There were also comments about needing more trees and flowers, having sick trees cared for or replaced and better maintenance of tree beds. Bicycles chained to trees should be ticketed. More parks and open spaces are sorely needed and the waterfront should be improved with bathrooms and food courts.

Transportation: Respondents requested more frequent buses on 2nd and 3rd Avenues, eliminating the express buses on 3rd Avenue and bringing back the bus stops on 34th Street that we lost a few years ago. People would also like the return of the 104 bus.

Post Office trucks: In the past year or so, the Post Office has been parking 10-15 trucks on 36th Street, 37th Street and 3rd Avenue from 35th to 37th Street. They block garbage removal, and park in the no standing zone in front of Lexington and 36th making this corner a pedestrian hazard.

General maintenance: Respondents requested the removal of old telephone booths, the unused broken fire pull station at 34th and Park, and repairing the wall over the tunnel on 34th and Park.

What suggestions for improvement do you have for Murray Hill?

  • More community meetings about local issues.
  • More public meetings of the MHNA.
  • More information from Community Board 6 on things that affect Murray Hill.
  • Meetings with local government officials (traffic, NYPD) to tackle traffic issues.
  • Fewer street fairs and parades.
  • More block parties, street fairs with local businesses.
  • Neighborhood-wide garage sales / flea markets, real estate information sharing.
  • Food events with local restaurants, neighborhood cocktail parties.
  • Ways to connect with the community, volunteer.
  • More art shows, sculpture displays, concerts, film presentations and plays.
  • More historic walks and house tours.
  • Greening / cleaning events.
  • More family events, with nominal cost.
  • More social events for young people.
  • Green markets / farmers markets.
 

 

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