Queens Home To Two New DOT Initiatives: Street Seats in Jamaica & Protected Bike Lanes on Queens Blvd.

Street Seats Installed on Jamaica Ave. and New Protected Bike Lanes on Queens Blvd.

By Alicia Venter

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The new Street Seats on Jamaica Ave. Photo: DOT

Cycling and public safety initiatives by the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) are being expanded into Elmhurst and Jamaica, the department announced on Wednesday, March 10.

In Jamaica, a new location of the Streets Seats program has been installed on Jamaica Avenue. between 160th Street and Union Hall Street. Approximately 4,500 square feet of pedestrian space has been added to the location, the DOT stated, and it includes planters, granite blocks, tables and chairs.

The Street Seats program has been implemented across the city. Partners apply to the initiative, and the DOT will attempt to reinvent the roadbed along the curb line or on wide sidewalks with seating. The partner selects the design and maintains the Street Seat. The crossing between Jamaica Avenue and Union Hall Street. was shortened as well.

The Downtown Jamaica Business Improvement District (BID) will be the partner managing the newest Street Seats.

“The newly expanded pedestrian space on Jamaica Avenue (between 160th St. and Union Hall St.) has been enhanced with planters, tables and chairs for use by our community. Thanks to the NYC Department of Transportation, we have a new, open space in our district,” the Downtown Jamaica BID shared in a statement to the Leader-Observer. “The pedestrian plaza will be programmed with activities and attractions over the next several months, in partnership with other community stakeholders, and we look forward to bringing attention and energy to the community, to benefit Jamaica’s businesses, its visitors, shoppers and residents.”

Across New York City, public spaces are being renovated to reflect the commitment made by Mayor Eric Adams in his 2023 State of the City, where he outlined a plan to invest $375 million to public spaces across the city.

“A crucial element to any thriving downtown is attractive and inviting public spaces. They help beautify, soften the streetscape, and provide a relaxing spot for shoppers and visitors, as well as people who work in the area,” said Justin Rodgers, president & CEO, Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, in a statement to the Leader-Observer. “Enhancements like this along with efforts of the newly formed Downtown Jamaica BID will elevate the pedestrian experience in the heart of the shopping corridor.”

Along Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst, the DOT has begun the process of hardening the protected bike lane with Jersey Barriers, which are used to separate lanes of traffic.

From 72nd Street to Grand Avenue — a 0.75 mile stretch — these Jersey Barriers will delineate the bike lanes from the traffic-heavy street in an attempt to make bike lanes safer.

In 2022, 3.7 miles of bike lane hardening was implemented on Queens Boulevard. This year, the DOT has committed to hardening 10 miles of existing lanes and five miles of new projects with sturdier barriers, they said in a press release.

Queens is the world’s borough, and delivering high-quality pedestrian spaces and safe cycling infrastructure are some of the ways Mayor Adams and New York City DOT are reimagining the use of public space,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez in a press release. “I thank the hard-working teams at DOT and our community partners for their efforts in beautifying Jamaica Avenue and giving cyclists the protection they deserve on Queens Boulevard.”

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