Since the 2008 rezoning that converted parts of industrial LIC into mixed-use and residential, apartments and high-rises have been filling up the skyline. Tens of thousands of units are now under construction.
Whether you’re waiting for the 7 train at Queensboro Plaza or peeking over the East River from Manhattan, you can see Long Island City growing every day.
But as the population continues to skyrocket, the infrastructure has not kept pace.
For years, longtime and newer Long Island City residents have complained about the sewer system, lack of public schools, and the poor performance of the overcrowded and overburdened 7 train.
Although the city has pledged $180 million to help tackle those problems, with the promise of more should Amazon HQ2 make its way to the waterfront, it’s clearly not enough.
Last week, Dutch Kills residents rallied, yet again, to urge the mayor to reopen Fire Engine Company 261 on 29th Street. The city would be wise to listen and act.
The closest fire engine is half a mile away. But consider that the fire trucks have to cross 21st Street and Crescent Street, two main arteries in western Queens, which will lengthen response times.
As officials noted at their rally, a few seconds could be the difference between life or death.
In fact, if the city and state are serious about making Long Island City a commercial and tech hub for the 21st century, they need to start by reevaluating all of the needs of the area, including fire protection services.
The city should start by reopening Fire Engine 261 immediately. They won’t even have to change the print on the firehouse, Engine 261’s name is already there.