Francisco Moya’s Hush-Hush 111th Street Meeting Now Open to the Public

Assembly Member Francisco Moya, who opposes a road diet and protected bike lane on 111th Street in Corona, has decided to let the public know about a town hall meeting he is hosting about the project on Monday — after Streetsblog asked about the lack of public notice.

Assembly Member Francisco P. Moya
Assembly Member Francisco P. Moya

111th Street, which runs on the western edge of Flushing Meadows Corona Park, has too many lanes for the amount of car traffic it handles, DOT says. Trimming the extra-wide boulevard to one motor vehicle lane in each direction would open up room for larger pedestrian refuges, a two-way protected bike lane, and additional parking. Moya and prominent members of Community Board 4 oppose the project, fearing that fewer car lanes will lead to unbearable traffic congestion.

Until yesterday, it appeared that Moya was trying to keep his town hall meeting hush-hush. The event was announced at a recent community board meeting, said CB 4 District Manager Christian Cassagnol, but nothing had been posted on Moya’s social media accounts or website.

A resident of 111th Street emailed news of the meeting to Jorge Fanjul, chief of staff to Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, said Lillian Zepeda, a spokesperson for Ferreras-Copeland. “We were not personally alerted,” Zepeda said. “DOT was not invited either.”

Ferreras-Copeland is a major backer of redesigning 111th Street. Her office allocated $2.7 million to the project, and she has worked with local residents to plant daffodils on the 111th Street median, organize Vision Zero workshops, and secure traffic calming measures from DOT.

Word of the meeting spread from Ferreras-Copeland’s office to Make the Road New York, which has been working with the Queens Museum and Transportation Alternatives to improve the safety of 111th Street. On Tuesday, TA Queens organizer Jaime Moncayo forwarded the notice to Streetsblog. That afternoon, I asked Moya’s office about the meeting.

Yesterday, after Streetsblog sent inquiries, notices about the meeting went up on Moya’s Facebook and Twitter pages, and Moya spokesperson Elyse Nagiel sent an email response.

“It is open to the public and you are welcome to join us,” Nagiel said. “We are encouraging members of the Corona community to attend. Indeed, notifications have been posted to our social media pages and an e-mail blast has been sent. Additionally, local South Corona residents are receiving an invitation in the mail, as the aim of the Town Hall Meeting is to gather community feedback from the residents who would be most impacted by changes to 111th Street.”

The irony of Moya’s handling of the town hall meeting is that he’s been lobbing complaints against the 111th Street project by citing “community process.”

“The decision to reduce car traffic to one lane only was made without an adequate community process and without consulting the people it will impact most — the residents from 111th Street and the surrounding neighborhood,” Moya said in a June statement. “They chose to impose a plan on local residents that was not evaluated by the community… All we are asking for is an open and honest discussion with the DOT.”

“His office wasn’t included, he was not included in the process. Staff members we have who live on the street were never door knocked,” Meghan Tadio, Moya’s chief of staff, told Streetsblog in June. “We felt excluded.”

Since then, Ferreras-Copeland has hosted additional public workshops on the plan with DOT, including an event where a Moya staffer read a statement denouncing DOT’s plan.

Moya’s town hall meeting is scheduled for Monday, October 5, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m at St. Leo’s Parish, 104-05 49th Avenue in Corona.