On August 23, Korean American Civic Empowerment (KACE) held a press conference on the removal of rush-hour parking restrictions along Northern Boulevard (eastbound) with the Office of Councilman Peter Koo and the New York City Comptroller’s Office in front of Northern Pharmacy in Flushing, New York.

This press conference was attended by KACE President Dongchan Kim, KACE Board Chair Esther Lee, Dosung Jung, Pharm.D (owner of Northern Pharmacy), KACE Coordinator Chae No, KAAQ President Paul Yoo, Councilman Peter Koo, and Ms. Agnes Kim from the Comptroller’s Office.

The removal of rush-hour parking restrictions on Northern Blvd (eastbound) was originally a 2009 initiative from KACE interns. The rule, which outlawed street parking from 4 to 7pm, was impacting many storefronts very negatively. To vitalize the local economy, interns began to take action and met with Comptroller John Liu (formerly a Councilman) and Councilman Peter Koo.

This change will affect Northern Blvd (eastbound) between Parsons Boulevard and Utopia Parkway. The Commissioner of the NYC Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) stated that NYCDOT will start removing the parking signs on the week of August 26th, progressing eastward. This process will take about two weeks. However, the no parking area on Northern Blvd & 162nd Street will be changed to a “no standing anytime” status.

The rush hour parking was restricted on Northern Blvd (westbound) from 7 to 9am, and 4 to 7pm on Northern Blvd (eastbound). However, there was little traffic during 4-5pm on the eastbound approach of Northern Boulevard. The outer lanes were not utilized effectively and traffic was sometimes congested because of traffic officers double-parking to issue citations on parked vehicles. Also, many small business and storeowners were affected negatively by this restriction. The purpose of this project was to deliver the community’s complaints regarding the alternate parking restrictions to the City Council and the city government, and change the regulations to benefit both the small business owners and customers alike.

Councilman Peter Koo speaks about the regulations.

Councilman Peter Koo speaks about the regulations.

In regards to this project, Councilman Peter Koo stated that KACE always brought the local community’s concerns to him and he felt that this project was justified. He thanked KACE for bringing the issue to his attention and constantly reminding him of what needs to be done to bring results to the community. Agnes Kim stated that when KACE brought this issue to Councilman Liu, he was very interested in it as well and congratulated KACE on its success.

KACE President Dongchan Kim speaks about the interns' efforts.

KACE President Dongchan Kim speaks about the interns’ efforts.

KACE President Dongchan Kim thanked Comptroller Liu and Councilman Koo for their efforts in making this project a reality. When this project first started, Councilman Liu guided KACE into the right direction. Liu told KACE to meet with the person in charge at the Department of Transportation and Community Board 7 and collect solid data to convince them. Morever, it was the interns that gave their all for this project.

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