Community Board 10 held its first meeting of the new fiscal year last Thursday and discussed livery cabs and Skyway, the homeless shelter in South Ozone Park that was recently converted to an all-male residence.
At last month’s meeting, Seth Melnick and Dawn Miller from the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) gave a presentation about the Five Borough Taxi Plan. The new initiative would allow Queens residents to hail specially designated livery cabs on the street, rather than arrange for a predetermined pick-up.
However, street hails in Queens are currently illegal and it is a constant problem around the airports and subway stations, Chairperson Betty Braton said. The board did not take a stance on whether the law should be repealed.
Because hailing a taxi is currently illegal in Queens, Community Board 10 decided to support legislation that would allow the city to fine livery car companies for violations their drivers commit. Currently, the only driver receives a fine if they are caught picking up an illegal street hail. Braton said holding the company responsible as well would create a bigger motive for companies to crack down on their drivers.
Braton also updated the community on the Skyway homeless shelter, which has created concerns after being converted to an all-male shelter. Located a few blocks from PS 124, parents worried that the shelter could attract more crime and panhandling around their children. A town hall meeting was held at PS 124 in March to discuss the issue.
Since then, a letter was sent to Community Board 10 about Skyway’s security measures. In the correspondence, Skyway officials stressed the facility will be under 24-hour supervision and agreed to increase security during school arrival and dismissal times. They further stated that guards would be located at the school and at the Q10 and Q37 bus stops during the school rush hour.
Community Affairs Officer Kenneth Zorn of the 106th Precinct was at this month’s board meeting and reported they have seen no rise in quality of life issues in the area.
Also at this month’s meeting, Doctor Peter Nelson, CEO of the Joseph Addabbo Family Health Center, gave a presentation about its new facility planned to open at 105-34 Rockaway Boulevard.
The new facility will have eight exam rooms and two dental rooms. The Joseph Addabbo Family Health Center, which has several centers located throughout Queens, has been cited as one of the best health care providers in the nation.
“We offer a place to take you in when everyone else tells you to go away,” Nelson said.
Nelson said that almost one-third of the residents living around the proposed Rockaway Boulevard site are uninsured, and the new facility will allow them to offer low-cost healthcare.
This month’s meeting was the first for new board members: Joann Ariola, Anthony Bellatoni, Nina Deblasio, Phyliss Ellison, Anthony Gellneau, Ruben Martinez and Bhola Ramsundar. They were appointed for two-year terms.
The board also voted to reelect its officers: Chairperson Betty Braton, First Vice Chairperson John Marus, Second Vice Chairperson Robert Ruffin, Treasurer Sarah Woodson and Executive Secretary Nellie Santiago were all elected to the board.
by Eric Yun