The Flushing area already has the makings of a real regional hub, with its diverse international population and bustling streets. The busiest subway station outside Manhattan is Flushing’s Main Street station on the #7 line, with weekday ridership on par with Rockefeller Center and 42nd street-Bryant Park. The intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue is the third busiest intersection in the city, after Times Square and Herald Square.
With more than 30,000 residents born in China, Flushing is one of the biggest and fastest-growing Chinatowns in the world. Indeed, 70 percent of its residents are of Asian descent, including large numbers from China, Taiwan, South Korea, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka. It is a major cultural center and the fourth largest central business district in New York City.
Yet, many residents are concerned about Flushing’s ability to grow. The #7 line is near capacity, school overcrowding is beginning to be a major concern, affordability for residents and businesses is a challenge, and there aren’t enough parks in the neighborhood.
The Fourth Regional Plan includes many recommendations to help Flushing achieve its vision of becoming an even stronger cultural and economic hub, and still remain a livable, affordable neighborhood with a cohesive identity and character for residents with a wide range of incomes.
The plan recommends strategies to protect existing residents from displacement while their neighborhoods transition to denser, more mixed-use areas. City and state policies should better target housing subsidies and create more home ownership opportunities.
Furthermore, neighborhood-led planning processes could help local arts and cultural institutions partner with residents and businesses to make downtown Flushing even more walkable and active, supported by Flushing’s strong cultural identity.
Neighborhood stakeholders are already eager to achieve the remediation of Flushing
Creek, which is overwhelmed with untreated sewage and storm water when there is as little as half an inch of rain. Cleaning up the creek would create healthy recreation opportunities for area residents.
Finally, the additional transit capacity needed to sustain more job and population growth could be achieved by repurposing the nearby Long Island Rail Road Flushing Main Street station, which is currently underutilized. By integrating the LIRR into a regional rail system, residents of Flushing could gain new express transit service for the same price as a subway fare—and Flushing-based companies could draw from a larger pool of employees throughout the city and the region. Locally, land preserved for industrial uses would support Flushing’s manufacturing jobs, and complement its retail.