Long Island City’s Streets Need to Catch Up With a Growing Neighborhood

Jackson Avenue cuts diagonally into 11th Street right where it intersects with the Pulaski Bridge approach, a nightmare for all users. Image: Google Maps
Jackson Avenue cuts diagonally into 11th Street right where it intersects with the Pulaski Bridge approach, creating a hostile environment for walking and biking. Image: Google Maps

Long Island City is booming with new residences, and more are on the way with the massive Hunters Point South development. As the area becomes home to more people, its streets need to catch up.

On Wednesday night, Council Member Van Bramer and DOT hosted a public workshop to discuss how $8 million in capital funds can be put to use redesigning the neighborhood’s streets. About 25 Long Island City residents and businesspeople attended.

With the Queensboro Bridge, the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, and the Pulaski Bridge on its borders, Long Island City is overrun with more traffic than most neighborhoods. Many industrial business remain, leading to heavy truck traffic, particularly on Jackson Avenue and Vernon Boulevard. And with scant on-street parking regulations, Manhattanites have used Long Island City as a free parking lot for decades. Residents at the meeting said drivers routinely travel far above the speed limit on the neighborhood’s streets.

DOT has been studying the area since January and plans to develop a preliminary plan for the neighborhood to be presented early next year. At the workshop, attendees split into three groups and worked with DOT reps to discuss streets and intersections most in need of improvement. “We’re looking for opportunities to have the different modes have a better way to get around the neighborhood,” DOT Queens Borough Planner Samantha Dolgoff said.

LIC Residents used large maps provided by DOT to make suggestions for street improvements in the neighborhood. Photo: David Meyer
Residents pinpointed suggestions for street improvements on large maps. Photo: David Meyer

Most attendees at last night’s meeting named the Pulaski Bridge approach, Vernon Boulevard, and Jackson Avenue as their top priorities. DOT is nearly finished installing a protected bike lane on the Pulaski Bridge, but the intersection on the Queens side of the bridge is still a dangerous asphalt expanse, no matter how you get around.

Jackson Avenue, the location of MOMA P.S. 1, one of Queens’ most popular cultural attractions, has few pedestrian crossings. Jackson merges with Vernon Boulevard at its southern end, where there is a playground, pedestrian mall, and a number of retail businesses and restaurants, but workshop attendees said the area lacks safe conditions for walking, especially for families with children.

The project will also focus on adding more green to a grey landscape. One L.I.C. resident, Mary Torres, who also works as a realtor in the area, said that the neighborhood’s appearance affects both her business and quality of life. “Certain streets [in the area] are more attractive than others,” she said. “Residents of Long Island City should have a welcoming place to live.”

Van Bramer said the workshop will directly inform the city’s capital project. “Working together with the community we were able to pinpoint specific locations throughout the Long Island City/Hunters Point area where traffic safety can and will be improved using our $8 million investment into the neighborhood,” he said.


Wanted: Your Eyes on Your Streets

Bikes on the Governors Island Ferry in New York City. Photo by Benjamin Running. We need your help. We want to see what you’re seeing when you’re out there on the streets of America, and we’re going to be asking you to send us your pictures on specific themes in the weeks to come. This […]

Long Island Towns Pursue Complete Streets Despite Assembly Stalling

New York State still lacks a complete streets law, despite the bill’s overwhelming passage through the State Senate and the support of the Assembly’s Transportation Committee. After a series of amendments in June, the Assembly bill now matches the stronger Senate version, but is stuck in the Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Upper Manhattan […]

Caption Contest: Time to Expand Car-Free Broadway [Updated]

Just another day at 53rd and Seventh. Photo: Gawker. Hey, here’s some of that pulse-pounding New York City energy that a few people wish we still had in the middle of Times Square. Instead of propelling a vehicle through midtown streets, the energy embedded in this taxi’s tankful of gasoline has been converted into giant […]

‘Contested Streets’ Screening and Panel Discussion: ‘What Can Be Done About Traffic in New York City?’

Following Sierra Club NYC‘s monthly general membership meeting will be a special showing of Contested Streets, a new documentary showing the way to livable, gridlock-free streets — from the Battery to the Bronx, from Staten Island to Coney Island. After the film, a panel discussion of NYC transportation issues by: City Councilman John Liu, chairman of […]