Oct. 3, 2018 By Tara Law
The mayor’s office said today that the city will move forward with its plan to redesign the Forest Hills section of Queens Boulevard, but many details surrounding the project— including when it will be implemented— remain unclear.
The Forest Hills section represents the fourth and final phase of a comprehensive redesign of Queens Boulevard, which aims to make the 7 1/2 mile stretch from Sunnyside through to Kew Gardens safer.
This final phase deals with the section between Yellowstone Boulevard and Union Turnpike and includes the installation of protected bike lanes, various traffic calming measures and the elimination of 200 parking spaces, according to the DOT.
A DOT spokesperson said in May that the department aimed to implement the project this summer, but the work has yet to take place.
The Queens Boulevard redesign began in 2015 at the intersection of Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside. It has been overhauled in stages with Phase III going through to Yellowstone Boulevard in Rego Park last year.
Supporters of the project, including transportation safety advocates, note that no pedestrians have died on the boulevard since 2014.
Others, including local business leaders, have criticized the project for taking away too many parking spaces and making it more difficult for customers to access small businesses.
The final phase planned for the Forest Hills section of Queens Boulevard has been unpopular with the majority of Queens Community Board 6 members and Council Member Karen Koslowitz. The community board voted against the DOT’s proposal in June, and Koslowitz has expressly said that she is against the plan because too many parking spaces are being lost.
Seth Stein, a spokesperson for mayor’s office, released a statement today confirming that the city has not abandoned the project.
“We are moving forward with this redesign. We are currently in close communication with the community and stakeholders on final execution,” Stein said.
Stein did not respond to questions about whether the design would be revised, or about a time frame for implementation.
But stakeholders remain in the dark as to what’s happening.
A spokesperson for Karen Koslowitz’s office said that the DOT has not indicated to them whether it intends to revise the project proposal or when implementation will happen.
Meanwhile, Community Board 6 has also not been informed as to the project’s status.
“We haven’t seen or heard anything,” said Steven Goldberg, the chair of the board’s transportation committee.