Queens CB 2 Endorses Long Island City Pedestrian Upgrades

Image: DOT
Image: DOT

DOT has a plan to make it safer to walk near Court Square and Queens Plaza in Long Island City.

Hunter and Crescent Streets between Queens Plaza South and 44th Drive form a triangle of sorts, in an area dotted with bus and train connections, including the Court Square subway station, which serves as a stop on the 7, E, G, and M lines. Traffic flow on the street grid inside the triangle is (to use DOT’s word) disjointed, with seemingly random one-way street segments. Worse, the area lacks crosswalks where they should naturally be, leading pedestrians to dead ends and circuitous crossings.

At the request of local residents, the Long Island City Partnership, and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene — which is headquartered at Queens Plaza South and 28th Street — DOT has proposed a number of changes to the streetscape [PDF].

Fresh concrete would be added at the triangle where Hunter Street and 27th Street meet at 43rd Avenue, leading pedestrians to and from a 43rd Avenue crosswalk on the east side of the intersection. The sidewalk would be extended with paint on Crescent Street from Hunter Street to 43rd Avenue, repurposing excess asphalt to slow drivers and shorten crossing distances. Planters on Crescent would be maintained by the LIC Partnership, which operates the local BID.

On 44th Drive at Jackson Avenue, DOT proposes landscaped center-lane pedestrian islands, painted neckdowns to slow turns and augment sidewalk space, and new truck turn restrictions. DOT would “investigate” installing all-way stop controls for crossings at Hunter Street and 43rd Avenue, Crescent Street and 44th Road, and Crescent Street at 42nd Road.

DOT presented the plan to Community Board 2 last week, and according to the Queens Gazette informed board members that the project may result in a net gain of one on-street parking spot. The proposal was endorsed unanimously.

Image: DOT
Image: DOT

After the vote, the LIC Partnership sent Streetsblog this statement:

There are now more pedestrians than ever in Court Square, with a quickly growing residential population, plus students and faculty at CUNY Law, destinations like M. Wells Steakhouse, and more people walking and biking to and through the area from Queens Plaza and Hunters Point. We are very grateful to DOT, the Community Board and Majority Leader Van Bramer for working together to create these improvements to make the area both safer and more inviting.

As greater Long Island City continues to attract new businesses, residents and visitors, we look forward to working with these and other partners to continue to enhance the area, particularly on key corridors such as Jackson Avenue, 44th Drive and Vernon Boulevard to make them both safe and welcoming for pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles alike. Improving north-south transportation as well as east-west connections over the rail yards will benefit LIC’s business and residential populations, connecting industrial and commercial centers with our neighborhood’s restaurant and retail corridors, and diverse cultural attractions.

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