Eyes on the Street: Safer Crossings From Corona to Citi Field

This path near Citi Field is set to receive better markings at this off-ramp from the Grand Central parkway. In the background, crews are preparing to widen the concrete median at 34th Avenue and 114th Street. Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.

People looking to get from North Corona to Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Citi Field, and the Flushing Bay Promenade have to navigate the confusing intersection of 34th Avenue and 114th Street, find a small, poorly-maintained path, and cross a high-speed ramp from the Grand Central Parkway without even a crosswalk. Now construction has started on a DOT project to provide more space and clearer routes for pedestrians and cyclists.

The plan [PDF], presented to Community Board 3 in June, widens the intersection’s concrete median to shorten crossing distances, adds markings directing cyclists through the intersection, stripes crosswalks, and adds stop signs, curb ramps, and pedestrian crossing signals.

Earlier this week, Clarence stopped by the area. Construction crews have already cordoned off the median and have begun removing asphalt to expand the concrete refuge. “Until the [Flushing Bay] Promenade existed, in the late 1990s sometimes the TA Century used this crossing,” Clarence writes. “I remember how we used to ‘gulp’ when standing there watching cars fly by at 40-plus mph with no crosswalk!”

People walking and biking to Flushing Meadows Corona Park from North Corona will soon have a vastly improved connection across 114th Street and ramps from the Grand Central Parkway. Left: ##http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=40.757123~-73.855352&lvl=19&dir=0&sty=a&form=LMLTCC##Bing Maps##; Right: ##http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/2013-06-34th-ave-114th-st-qns-cb3.pdf##DOT##
Soon this construction zone will be a bigger pedestrian island. Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.
  • BornAgainBicyclist

    Will there be actual traffic signals, as in red lights? I can’t tell from these pix.

    One of the more infuriating experiences on the century this month was the handful of times we had to cross highway onramps and offramps, which were really not marked very well and in one case were around a blind curve. I’ve said it before here, but it’s just stupid and homicidal to put crosswalks in those places in the absence of good sightlines, signals, and traffic calming street design.

  • Joe R.

    On blind curves there’s no way a vehicle coming off a highway off-ramp at speed will see a red light in time to stop. Seriously, highway ramps are not places to put pedestrian crossings. Instead of cheaping out, just put in a pedestrian bridge. There’s no other safe, rational solution here. I’m pretty hard core when it comes to stuff like this, but I wouldn’t want to cross there, even with a traffic signal.

  • BornAgainBicyclist

    These are places where building ped bridges would not work — they are places where sidewalks are interrupted by entrances and exits to expressways. We are talking maybe 6 to 8 feet to get across.

  • Stephen Bauman

    This plan fails to address problems encountered when travelling north on 114th St and trying to get onto the 34th Ave bike lane.

    Northbound 114th St becomes an entrance ramp onto the Grand Central Parkway just before the 34th Ave intersection without any warning. Bike riders wanting to turn west onto 34th Ave are forced to move into the oncoming traffic lane for about 150 feet of a one-way southbound street.

  • JST

    I just biked this route yesterday (from the Flushing Promenade to the 34th Ave bike lane) and the improvements are great and needed but seem to be limited to the crossing at 114th street alone. I would hope it could also bring increased maintenance of the multi-use path which is chronically plagued by broken glass, piles of trash and overgrown weeds.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The Northern Boulevard sidewalk/bike lane was also full of broken glass when I took it home from a Met game earlier this year. It wasn’t so easy to find, either.

  • HH

    I’ve been wondering why Citi Field / the Mets Willet Point subway stop doesn’t have a pedestrian overpass right over Northern Blvd to the beautiful Marina Bay promenade. They are so geographically close, it seems like such a no-brainer to me. I’m new to the issue – does anyone know?

    Especially curious in light of the recent articles on Related’s planned redevelopment of the auto shops just across the street from Citi Field. Their argument that the glassy mall-style retail with tons of parking has to go first, and is the only viable profitable option to start with for this land parcel (which the city is selling them for $1, which is adjacent to a world-famous park, and to a major-league ballpark, and to the site of one of tennis’ grand slam events, and under half a mile from a beautiful, landscaped, waterfront walkway, and incredibly well served by the subway and LIRR) struck me as insane… I just don’t get it, this again seemed like a no-brainer for pedestrian-friendly housing with perhaps street-level community infill retail. Anyone know the backstory here?

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