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Flushing Commons Construction Causes Traffic, Pedestrian Pains

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Flushing Commons will eventually bring open space, housing and retail to downtown Flushing, but right now, construction is creating a problem for pedestrians and drivers alike.

As CBS2's Vanessa Murdock reported, heavy equipment sits at the intersection of Union Street and 39th Avenue, the future site of Flushing Commons. But some say the setup is an accident waiting to happen.

"I feel like someone will come by and hit me or something," Elmhurst, Queens resident Elizabeth Chalini said when asked if she felt safe as she walked by.

Along Union Street, the sidewalk is cut off; instead of adhering to signs, people walk in the traffic lanes anyway.

"I have to follow the flow I guess," one pedestrian said.

As Murdock reported, having no sidewalk is just one issue—the traffic is another.

The area is a mass transportation hub with thousands of people and hundreds of cars at any given time. Because of construction, three lanes are now down to two.

"We don't like it, but it's the way it is. What can we do?" driver Kelvin Tin said.

Tin says sitting in the car is commonplace now that Flushing Commons is going up.

"For future, we're talking future, maybe it's worth it. But for now, I don't think so," Tin said.

Senator Tony Avella says right now, there are more questions than answers about how this nightmare came to life.

"Why was permission given, if it was, to the contractor to close off that one lane of traffic, which is also a bus route? Two, why was the contractor allowed to close off the sidewalk?" he said.

Murdock repeatedly asked the same questions of the Department of Transportation, to which it said it was exploring the addition of a left turn signal and other traffic controls nearby.

Local business owners also say the construction is creating problems for them and hurting their bottom line, CBS2 reports.

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