As reported by the NY Times‘ City Room blog, Con Ed announced on Monday that it is walking away from a land sale that would have led to the construction of a major FedEx distribution center in Astoria, Queens. The distribution center would have unleashed hundreds of trucks on the residential streets, in an area already called “Asthma Alley” for its poor air quality and crowded streets.
The action is a victory for the Coalition for a Better Astoria, of which Tri-State is a member. The Coalition organized a campaign in quick fashion to fight the facility. With the support of local elected leaders, including NYC Councilman Peter Vallone, State Sen. George Onorato, and Assemblyman Michael Gianaris, the Coalition succeeded in defeating the proposal, sending a clear message to the developer that citizens demand rational planning and development that improves their quality of life.
Con Ed had been asked by the Public Services Commission to sell the 21-acre site. This request still stands, so the coalition will continue to monitor the parcel. Coalition chair Costa Constantinides said in a statement that the group “pledge[s] to continue to work to see this land is developed in adherence with the community’s wishes as a park.”
Aside from Tri-State, the Coalition for a Better Astoria is the Astoria Homeowners, Tenants, and Business Association; Greenshores NYC; Long Island City Alliance; Democracy for NYC Astoria Linkup; the Queens Independent Living Center; the Astoria and LIC Waterfront Alliance; CHOKE; Greek Homeowners Association; Eleftheria Pancyprian Youth; and Long Island City Rock.