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Council Member Sandra Ung Discusses Street Vendor Complaints in Downtown Flushing

Council Member Sandra Ung and Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga pass vendors selling items on Main Street (Council Member Sandra Ung’s Office)

April 14, 2022 By Allie Griffin

Council Member Sandra Ung joined city officials Tuesday to discuss the growing number of street vendors blocking sidewalks on Main Street—an issue that has drawn resident complaints.

Ung took Dept. of Consumer and Worker Protection Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga on a tour of downtown Flushing Tuesday to see the “proliferation” of street vendors firsthand.

She said the vendors are clogging up the sidewalks and are making it difficult for pedestrians to walk by. Residents have been complaining, she said, that the sidewalks are congested and are attributing it to street vendors.

The council member discussed the need for the enforcement of the existing laws, which require vendors to be licensed by the city. However, she stopped short of asking the city to remove the vendors.

“The goal here is not to be punitive, but rather to ensure that our sidewalks are clear and safe,” Ung said. “I want to thank the Commissioner for visiting my district and listening to the concerns of my constituents.”

While pedestrians argue that street vendors block sidewalks, advocates say that street vending is often one of the few income opportunities available to many low-income immigrants.

Mayuga acknowledged the complexity around street vending and thanked Ung for inviting her to Flushing to discuss the issues.

“Vending is a complicated issue and Flushing is one of the areas where we know there is an especially difficult balance to strike between vendors, businesses and pedestrians,” she said. “I appreciate Council Member Ung meeting with us and walking through the neighborhood as we work to educate vendors and hear the concerns of all involved.”

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