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City completes pedestrian safety improvements along Parsons Boulevard corridor in downtown Jamaica

Aug. 11, 2023 By Bill Parry

The city has completed a $5.7 million pedestrian safety and infrastructure improvement project in downtown Jamaica on Parsons Boulevard between Archer Avenue and Jamaica Avenue. The project targeted a stretch of Parsons Boulevard that ranks in the top 10% of corridors borough-wide with crashes resulting in fatalities and serious injuries.

The extreme makeover includes greatly expanded sidewalk space to reduce the distance to cross Parsons Boulevard and features a new pedestrian island.

The project more than doubled the sidewalk area along the east side of Parsons Boulevard.Photo courtesy of NYC DDC

“This investment into pedestrian safety is much needed and greatly appreciated,” Councilwoman Nantasha Williams said. “Parsons [Boulevard] and the downtown Jamaica area grow more vibrant every day and we look forward to making this neighborhood an even more walkable community where constituents can live, work and play in safety.”

From 2012 to 2016, the area was the site of 70 collisions with reported injuries, nearly 30 of which involved injuries to pedestrians, with four resulting in serious injuries. The project was managed by the city’s Department of Design and Construction for the Department of Transportation and adds 7,150 square feet of additional space for pedestrians

“I’m thrilled to celebrate the completion of the much-needed safety and infrastructure improvements on Parsons Boulevard in downtown Jamaica — one of Queens’ most vital transportation hubs and business corridors,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “These improvements will make a world of a difference in the quality of life of our community members who call Jamaica home and the thousands of people who utilize the area on a daily basis. I thank the DOT and DDC for prioritizing this project, as we work to improve safety on our streets and invest in downtown Jamaica.”

Downtown Jamaica is a critical transportation hub seeing an average of 1,000 pedestrians per hour on Parsons Boulevard between Archer and Jamaica avenues.Photo courtesy of NYC DDC

Downtown Jamaica is a critical transportation hub for people making connections within the borough, to other parts of the city and regionally. The area sees an average of 1,000 pedestrians per hour on the single block of Parsons Boulevard between Jamaica Avenue and Archer Avenue. Funding for the project included $2.5 million from New York State’s Downtown Revitalization Program.

“Vibrant streetscapes and public spaces provide a central ingredient in the DRI’s recipe for broader downtown revitalization,” said New York Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez. “With these transformative public improvements, Jamaica takes yet another major step forward toward fulfilling its vision for a reinvigorated downtown for residents and visitors to enjoy the great Jamaica area. The Downtown Gateway will help leverage additional private and public investments as the revitalization process accelerates.”

The public space is part of the city’s Jamaica NOW Action Plan, a multi- million neighborhood revitalization that began in 2015.

“As downtown Jamaica continues to flourish, pedestrian and vehicle volume is increasing. The safety enhancements implemented by NYC DOT and DDC along one of the neighborhood’s busiest corridors creates a more inviting experience for everyone,” Greater Jamaica Development Corporation President and CEO Justin Rodgers said. “Thank you to these two city agencies and the state for listening to residents and making this part of our community better.”

Previously NYC DOT implemented a sidewalk extension in paint, and with community support, NYC DOT was able to successfully expand that space in 2018 as part of the Jamaica NOW effort and to also work with local partners on beautification, programing and much more over the past several years.

“The Plaza at Parsons Boulevard provides a much-needed open space with important improvements for pedestrian safety, and is a place where people can sit at tables to eat lunch and where community can gather for special events,” said Sari Kulka, Chair of the newly consolidated BID, known as the Downtown Jamaica Partnership. “We’re grateful to the city — especially DOT and DDC — for their help in making this part of the Jamaica NOW plan a reality.”

NYC Department of Design and Construction First Deputy Commissioner Eric Macfarlane thanked the DCC crews for finishing the makeover on schedule and more than $1 million under the original budget.

“This project greatly increases the amount of space for pedestrians as opposed to cars and beautifies a very busy commuter corridor in Queens,” Macfarlane said. “Congratulations to the DDC team that helped to complete this project on time and more than 30 percent under budget.”

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