Aug. 5, 2021 By Allie Griffin
The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) has started work on the fourth and final phase of the Queens Boulevard redesign project, the agency announced Thursday.
Crews have begun installing protected bike lanes, a pedestrian path and other traffic safety features along Queens Boulevard from Yellowstone Boulevard to Union Turnpike as part of Phase 4.
The work has faced continuous setbacks due to the pandemic and earlier resistance from the local community board and Council Member Karen Koslowitz.
The board and Koslowitz expressed reservations about the plan—since the project will result in the loss of about 200 parking spots. They fear that the loss of parking spaces will hurt businesses located along and near the boulevard.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in May that the DOT would complete the final phase of the redesign in November — which is about three years behind schedule.
Construction of Phase 4 was supposed to begin in the summer 2018 — but the work was pushed back to summer 2020 and then again to this summer.
The overhaul is the final phase of the 7.5-mile Queens Boulevard redesign project, from Sunnyside to Kew Gardens, which began in 2015.
The thoroughfare had been called the “Boulevard of Death” for decades for the notoriously high number of cyclist and pedestrian deaths along it.
Injuries along the already-redesigned sections of Queens Boulevard have declined by 18 percent and severe injuries by 38 percent, according to the DOT. There have been a total of five traffic fatalities along the boulevard since 2016 — compared to 22 traffic deaths in one year, 1997, alone.
Phase 4 includes the creation of new protected bike lanes and a pedestrian path along the medians between the service road and the main roadway. It also includes new and improved crosswalks at intersections; new stop controls at slip ramp access points; and elongated left-turn bays for simpler, safer turns.
The DOT is also adding 10 new truck loading zones—as well as adding hours at existing zones—and 22 parking spaces in commercial areas near Ascan Avenue and Austin Street.