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Vacant Queens subway storefronts may be filled by street vendors

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A pilot program will provide a space for street vendors inside empty subway station retail spaces

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State Senator Jessica Ramos announced a partnership with the MTA to provide a space for street vendors in empty subway station storefronts.

Ramos mentioned the initiative last week at a meeting with new MTA chairman Patrick Foye, vendors, and neighbors in Corona, Queens—as Patch first reported—and added that the pilot program will bring Roosevelt Avenue street vendors into retail spaces in the Jackson Heights–Roosevelt Avenue/74th Street 7 train station.

”We will be spearheading a pilot program here in our senate district to help our street vendors and immigrant entrepreneurs utilize MTA retail space that has gone vacant for far too long,” Ramos told Patch.

An advocate for street vendors and lifting the City Council limit on issued permits and licenses (capped at 3,000 since 1983, according to the Street Vendor Project), Ramos cited a recent study titled The Sidewalk & the Storefront by Kathryn “Kurt” Wheeler, which found that brick-and-mortar store owners don’t see street vendors as competitors or threats to their businesses.

As we previously reported, new MTA leadership is aiming at reimagining the MTA’s 326 retail spaces—40 percent of which are empty. The MTA did not return a request for comment on Ramos’s initiative.