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New 34th Avenue Open Street Opposition Group to Hold Rally, Plans Lawsuit

The 34th Avenue Open Street in Jackson Heights (Photo: Christina Santucci)

Oct. 8, 2021 By Max Parrott

A new challenger has entered the ring to fight against Jackson Heights’ 34th Avenue Open Streets program.

The 34OS Resisters United group, a new hardline organization, is fighting to eliminate the Open Streets plan altogether. Some of its members splintered from the 34th Avenue Compromise, a group that formed over the summer to limit the traffic restrictions on the stretch of Jackson Heights corridor, which the Department of Transportation has referred to as the “gold standard” for Open Streets programs.

“The reason why I broke off from Compromise is because I understand that there’ll never be a compromise with the DOT,” said Piper Josephine, the pseudonym of the group’s organizer who declined to make her identity public.

The resisters are holding what they deem “Operation Take Back 34th Avenue March” at 10:45 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 9, which opposes all traffic restrictions on the avenue.

Josephine said that she was planning the rally to draw attention to the cause while the group prepares a class action lawsuit against the city over “issues with access to rides for handicapped people” and “blocking of emergency vehicles,” among other complaints.

Shortly after telling the Queens Post about the plan to launch a class action lawsuit on the record, Josephine and another member of the group called back to request that the lawsuit be kept under wraps because they had decided they weren’t ready to go public yet.

Advocates for the 34th Avenue Open Street have proposed to make the stretch of 34th Avenue from 69th Street to Junction Blvd. a permanent linear park that is aimed at “creating the maximum amount of greenspace” while still providing access to existing driveways and garages.

A petition for the plan had been signed by over 2,500 people in July. It has also gained the approval of Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) and Shekar Krishnan, the Democratic nominee to succeed him, as well as Democratic mayoral nominee Eric Adams and other Queens electeds. Suraj Jaswal, the Libertarian Party candidate for the Jackson Heights City Council seat, has stated his support for the Resisters.

The DOT has said over the summer that it was collecting feedback over the design proposals for the corridor.

The 34OS Resisters United rally comes ahead of a slated presentation at the upcoming Community Board 3 meeting on Oct. 21 when the DOT will provide an update on the status of the 34th Avenue program.

The plan for the rally is to meet at 81-04 37th Ave. before walking to Dromm’s Office, and continuing to the 34th Avenue Open Streets Coalition Office located at 72-24 Broadway.

The organizers described the rally as a “peaceful march to show that we are a majority to be part of the decision making in our neighborhood.”

Josephine said that she was expecting over 100 residents to join the march, based in part on the number of members on the organization’s Facebook page.

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