Neighborhood pride runs deep in Queens, where residents often identify as part of one community rather than the borough as a whole. So it comes as no surprise that some residents fear that new plans and proposals could shake up their community’s feel. We spoke with U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley and New York City Council members Jimmy Van Bramer, Daniel Dromm, I. Daneek Miller and Julissa Ferreras-Copeland about large development projects, long-standing issues – like crowded classrooms, noise near the airports and poor public transit – and how they plan to address these problems.

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Jimmy Van Bramer on Sunnyside Yards

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Looking northeast from the 7 train though Sunnyside Yard. (Jim Henderson/Wikimedia Commons)

For a century, one vision after another to build atop the Sunnyside rail yard has failed to become reality – and the local councilman sees the same risk with the latest idea. “No plan to develop Sunnyside Yards has been presented to me or to the community,” New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. Read the full report here.

Julissa Ferreras-Copeland on Willets Point

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Looking at the corner of 126th St. and Willets Point Blvd. from the upper level of Citi Field. (Jim Henderson/Wikimedia Commons)

City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, who backed the Willets Point redevelopment plan when the council voted on the matter, said her community urgently needs the resources it was promised as part of the project. Read the full report here.

Rep. Joseph Crowley on airplane noise

laguardia airport planes
(rthoma/Shutterstock)

New York City’s two airports are vital economic hubs, but their boon means more booming overhead for several Queens neighborhoods. The borough’s congressional caucus has spent years pushing for changes to federal guidelines for the airports, and U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley said their efforts to mitigate airplane noise are gaining steam. Read the full report here.

I. Daneek Miller on dollar vans

dollar vans in jamaica queens
A dollar van pick-up area at the Jamaica Center Bus Terminal. (Tdorante10/Wikimedia Commons)

New York City Councilman I. Daneek Miller said there are a few streams of hope in the “extreme transportation desert” of southeast Queens and that dollar vans, which emerged during an MTA worker strike in the 1980s and continue to provide inexpensive, informal transportation in neighborhoods that lack robust bus and subway service, will remain needed – at least for now. Read the full report here.

Daniel Dromm on crowded schools

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(Blur Life 1975/Shutterstock)

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz has been working to brand the county as a place that welcomes families, but the school system seems to be struggling to keep up. School Districts 24, 25 and 26 in northeast Queens have long been among the most crowded districts in the city. And other schools in the borough are so lacking in space that they use trailers as classrooms. Read the full report here.