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DOT To Move Ahead With Phase IV of Queens Boulevard Redesign, But Construction Date Remains Unknown

Phase 3 Construction (DOT)

March 18, 2019 By Jon Cronin

The Department of Transportation is moving ahead with its plan to redesign Queens Boulevard between Yellowstone Boulevard and Union Turnpike but it has not provided any details as to when construction will begin.

“We are moving forward with the redesign and working with the community, but have no updated timeline to share at this time,” a spokesperson for the DOT said today.

But the community has not heard anything from DOT. Community Board 6 and Council Member Karen Koslowitz–both critics of the plan–said today that they have not heard from the agency. Transportation Alternatives, supporters of the redesign, have not heard a peep either.

The plan–which would bring protected bike lanes, shorter pedestrian crossings and other safety features to the Forest Hills stretch of Queens Boulevard–represents the fourth and final phase of the 7 1/2 mile overhaul from Sunnyside to Kew Gardens.

A DOT spokesperson in May 2018 said the department aimed to start construction on Phase IV in the summer of 2018, yet work has still yet to take place.

Phases of Queens Boulevard Redesign (DOT)

Community Board 6 voted down Phase IV on June 13, 2018, with 22 board members opposed and 12 in favor of the project. The board’s vote, however, was advisory and most thought the DOT would start construction soon after—especially since the mayor supports the plan.

The big sticking point, however, for the community board was that Phase IV would lead to the elimination of about 200 parking spaces. Some business owners argued that they would lose customers when the parking spaces are removed.

Some Community Board 6 members were also concerned that those senior citizens who travel almost exclusively by car would struggle to find parking near grocery stores or doctors’ offices.

Frank Gulluscio, district manager for Community Board 6, said the community board has not heard anything about the plan since the June vote. He said that the board has a cabinet meeting coming up and that he intends to ask the DOT representative for an update.

Koslowitz, who remains opposed to the redesign, echoed Gulluscio’s statements, “I haven’t heard anything,” she said, but she anticipates that the DOT will start construction when the weather improves.

Juan Restrepo, the Queens organizer for Transportation Alternatives, said that it has been “radio silence” on his end. He noted that some advocates had tweeted photos of signs on Queens Boulevard indicating that there would be road work for Phase IV, but they have been taken down.

Restrepo noted that in previous phases the proposal was given to a community board in the spring and then implemented in the fall.

“It’s definitely in a strange place,” he said. Yet, he still believes, “It’s not a matter of if but when.”

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14 Comments

Patricia

The bike lanes do not deter bikers from riding on the sidewalks. Just as in Manhattan, bikers use everything available to them and don’t heed the lights or the directions they should be riding in. The delivery guys are the worst. There is no one to police them so it turns into a free for all. How about pedestrian rights? And with all the car and bus traffic along Queens Boulevard, a bike lane wound hinder traffic especially during rush hour. What a waste of money.

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DB

Lots of people concerned about parking spaces. Perhaps buses and other public transportation should be increased in this are so that people don’t have to drive everywhere in one of the biggest cities in the world.

Some people need to, and that’s fine. But there’s no way that everyone else needs to drive. They need to drive under current circumstances because there is no better alternative. But improving public transport will eliminate the absolute ‘need’ and turn it into a ‘want.’

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Sara Ross

Unless they’re going to pave the roads, leave Queens Blvd. alone already!! It’s bad enough they have the stupid bike lanes (while drivers who support the city/state have to drive around to find parking spaces, go around double parked cars/trucks when those stupid stanchions are there and have to wait until the double parked vehicles move. GET RID OF THE BIKE LANES! I miss FH the way it used to be. Why don’t they demolish the ugly KGB houses up and down Jewel Avenue and surrounding areas?

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TBT

The talk about more parking spaces ignores the fact that we have tall residential buildings going up all over FH. Even if the new residents have parking in the building, they are still driving — and parking — somewhere.

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pay for your own parking

Maybe you should pay for parking for your private vehicle instead of relying on the government to provide it for free like a Venezuelan socialist

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VelvetKnight

Bikers don’t support the city? Damn, I had no idea I was exempt from paying property and sales taxes. Why didn’t anyone tell me this sooner?

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O. Penstreet

CB6 & KKoslowicz had an opportunity to work with the DOT to shape this project to the benefit of our community, but they ignored their own safety and development priorities and rejected it. It’s no surprise that the DOT isn’t talking to them anymore.

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Queens resident

I’m glad Koslowitz is against this, but why won’t she stand up for her community against the plans for the 30 story jail in Kew Gardens. I’m going to call it the Karen Koslowitz Jail Complex.

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ann

Reductions in pedestrian deaths happened because of installation of street barriers/fences to stop pedestrians from darting across Queens Boulevard everywhere and anywhere, rather crossing at designated crosswalks. Now they are forced to. The speed limit was also reduced (citywide).

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TBT

Excellent point. The barriers were clearly a very significant factor in the reduction of ped deaths. The speed change and new timings on the lights help with car crashes. And, removing parking places is an inconvenience. I also drive and park in FH. But I ride my bike to work every day and there isn’t another route to midtown from FH, for a bike. I can drive half a dozen ways, but there is only one way if one is on a bike. I did ride on QB before the lanes and not everyone saw me. I was hit by a car whose driver didn’t see me because she was looking over her shoulder into the evening sunset as she entered QB. Bikes may be legally vehicles, but bikes in traffic on a six lane urban highway are not safe.

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Trillobite

While the barriers in some places helped, it was one of many, many reasons over the past 15 years.

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TBT

Since the changes started, the Blvd of Death has stopped living up to this name. When I moved into FH, 17 people a year were dying on QB. Now, it’s done to none. The road still isn’t safe enough but shouldn’t the drops in deaths indicate that the changes are going in the right directions?

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