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Infrastructure Projects will Create Nearly 400 Jobs in Queens
Investing in Shovel-Ready Infrastructure Projects to Create Attractive Neighborhoods and Generate Jobs is Part of the City’s Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan
Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert C. Lieber and New York City Economic Development Corporation President (NYCEDC) Seth W. Pinsky today announced $100 million in funding for fourteen capital projects across the borough of Queens. The projects include infrastructure, traffic mitigation and streetscape improvements within a five-mile vicinity of John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport and will create nearly 400 new jobs in the borough. All projects will be managed by NYCEDC unless otherwise noted. The $100 million allocation is the result of a collaborative process between the City and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that began as part of the airport lease negotiated in 2004.
“Investing in critical infrastructure and supporting neighborhood improvements throughout the City are central components of our Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan,” said Deputy Mayor Lieber. “New York City’s airports are the gateway to our city and with these investments in the communities that surround JFK and LaGuardia we will set the stage for continued growth throughout Queens.”
“This funding allocation demonstrates that, despite the current economic downturn, we continue to invest in projects vital to economic development in Queens and throughout the City,” said NYCEDC President Pinsky. “Through these investments, we can ensure that the important neighborhoods where these projects are located will remain attractive to residents and local businesses and will be served by the infrastructure necessary to attract private sector investment and the employment and tax revenue that come with them.”
Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward said: "The Port Authority is proud to participate in projects that will improve the economic viability of Queens and enhance the borough for businesses, our transportation hubs and citizens alike."
“This announcement could not come at a better time,” said Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall. “These projects will have a ripple effect throughout the Borough of Queens and create as many as 400 much-needed new jobs and at the same time, provide long overdue infrastructure improvements. Not only will these projects affect our two great airports; they will also contribute to significant economic development in Willets Point, Far Rockaway, and other neighborhoods near the airports. I am pleased that these projects are moving forward.” Marshall added, “Meanwhile, my call for a residential soundproofing program in communities near the airports remains one of my top priorities. I will continue to pursue its creation and implementation with federal, state and city authorities. I thank Mayor Bloomberg, the Port Authority, EDC and my colleagues in the City Council for our successful work together to fund these important projects.”
“The eagle has landed,” said Councilman Sanders. “After years of a holding pattern, the City Council, in conjunction with the Mayors office, Economic Development Corporation, and the Port Authority are moving on these much needed projects across the borough. Projects such as, the revitalization of Springfield Park and 147th and the Flushing One-way Roadway Pair will aid the quality of life of constituents across Queens. I look forward to continuing to work with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, EDC, and Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward.”
The projects include:
Infrastructure and traffic mitigation
Atlantic Avenue Extension: The Atlantic Avenue Extension is part of a suite of intermodal enhancements that will create vibrant new gateways to Downtown Jamaica and the AirTrain/Long Island Railroad Station complex. The Atlantic Avenue Extension will provide physical improvements by extending Atlantic Avenue to meet 95th Avenue, creating one-way streets on 94th Avenue and 95th Avenue that will ease traffic into and departing from the Station area. The project will also create Gateway Park, a new neighborhood open space. Design is underway with construction expected to begin in late 2011.
Station Plaza Redevelopment: The goal of the Station Plaza Redevelopment is to decrease traffic congestion and create a safer pedestrian environment. Archer Avenue will be realigned and extended to allow for wider sidewalks and turning lanes for bus traffic. The project will also create new bus loading and off-loading lanes that will ease congestion at peak hours. In addition, subway exits currently located on Sutphin Boulevard will be moved out of the sidewalks and into newly created public plazas. Bus shelters and retail kiosks in the new plaza spaces will be provided to enhance the pedestrian environment for commuters. Design is underway and a groundbreaking is expected in 2012.
“I am pleased that $100 million has been allocated for 14 important capital projects in our Borough. They will not only improve the viability of the communities located in the vicinity of Queens’ two airports but will also create up to 400 badly needed jobs”, said Council Member Leroy Comrie, Deputy Majority Leader of the Council and head of the 15-member Queens Council delegation. “I note with satisfaction that the Atlantic Avenue Extension and the L.I.R.R. Station Plaza Redevelopment are among the infrastructure projects since they will lead to increased economic development opportunities and serve as a turning point for downtown Jamaica. Like our Borough President, I will continue to pursue my other priorities including badly needed drainage projects for the communities of Southeast Queens. I wish to thank the Mayor, EDC President Seth Pinsky, Deputy Mayor Robert Lieber and Port Authority Chair Anthony R. Coscia for working with the community, the City Council and local elected officials in gaining these projects.”
Willets Point Off-site Infrastructure: Improvements at the 62-acre Willets Point site will include new sanitary sewer and storm-water infrastructure. Design is expected to begin by the end of 2009.
Flushing Street Conversions: To help ease traffic flow while allowing for extensive sidewalk widening and to alleviate current pedestrian crowding, NYCEDC will undertake the conversion of portions of Main and Union Streets in Downtown Flushing from two-way to one-way streets. The project is currently in design with groundbreaking expected in 2012.
Columbus Plaza: Columbus Plaza serves as an important intermodal connection to LaGuardia Airport. The project will include design and construction of a new bus station, enhanced landscaping, and other improvements designed to enhance pedestrian safety. The project is overseen by the Department of Transportation. Project will begin design in late 2009.
“Columbus Plaza accommodates thousands of New Yorkers and visitors arriving at La Guardia Airport daily. It is one of the busiest and most important intersections in our City. This much-needed project will make the Plaza more beautiful and safer for pedestrians,” said Council Member Peter F. Vallone Jr.
Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology's Library and Community and Conference Center: Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology is currently undertaking an extensive redevelopment on its campus including a new library and community center. The project entails the renovation of 3,650 square feet of space and construction of an additional 7,200 square feet of space with multi-media access, informal reading areas and various group discussion rooms. Groundbreaking is expected in 2010.
Streetscape Improvements and area-wide beautification
28th Avenue and Linden Place: Streetscape improvements and new road construction in the College Point neighborhood will improve vehicle access to the College Point Corporate Park and relieve congestion on roadways surrounding LaGuardia Airport. Improvements on 28th Avenue have been completed. Linden Place is currently under construction and a groundbreaking on the Linden Place Extension is expected in 2010.
Beach 20th Street Plaza: To develop the Beach 20th Street pedestrian plaza in Far Rockaway as a forum for community events, new lighting and benches will be installed, and landscaping will be undertaken along with rehabilitation of the existing sidewalks. Design is currently underway.
Rockaway Boulevard: A streetscape project within the business corridor of Rockaway Boulevard between Van Wyck and 150th Street in Rockaway includes upgrading sidewalks, creating new medians, trees and plantings. Design is currently underway.
“Despite being in a recession with record unemployment, the City of New York is still moving forward with capital projects and investments in communities that need revitalization and job creation. This infusion of $100 million in capital dollars to support over 14 projects will help to stimulate the local Queens economy by creating jobs and paving the way for future economic development. The 28th Council District will receive millions of dollars to revitalize and refurbish Rockaway Boulevard, with the intent of attracting businesses and economic development to a community that is looking to transform itself,” said Councilman Thomas White, Jr.
147th Avenue and Springfield Park: The City’s Department of Parks and Recreation will oversee the creation of a formal entrance to Springfield Park, located adjacent to the JFK cargo area and new sidewalks in the surrounding neighborhood. Groundbreaking is expected in 2010.
South Conduit Avenue and Linden Boulevard: New sidewalks will be constructed, along with new trees and plantings in the Lindenwood section, adjacent to the Federation of the Black Cowboys Ranch. Design is currently underway.
Roosevelt Avenue and National Street Triangle: Design is underway for this streetscape project that includes a new pedestrian plaza for the Corona neighborhood.
“These much-needed capital projects will be the lifeblood of New York’s resurgence from a devastating economy that has affected so many lives,” said Councilwoman Melinda Katz. “It means good-paying jobs for hardworking, middle-class families who have borne the brunt of the impact, and that in turn will have a ripple effect throughout the borough and throughout the City. We must still be resilient as we soldier on toward recovery, but this is a great step forward.”
In addition to the fourteen capital projects, three feasibility studies were funded, including:
Woodhaven Boulevard Safety Improvements: A study is currently underway to identify safety improvements along Woodhaven Boulevard. Funding will facilitate the implementation of a number of short-term recommendations, potentially to include new bus shelters, sidewalks and other pedestrian safety measures.
JFK International Airport Access Study: This study evaluates a series of long-term and short-term recommendations aimed at improving passenger and cargo access to JFK International Airport.
Bulova Corporation and Retail Center Improved Site Access Study: This study will evaluate a series of traffic operational and safety improvements at the Astoria Boulevard, Brooklyn Queens Expressway, and Boody Street Intersection in the vicinity of the Bulova Corporation and Retail Center and LaGuardia Airport.
“Even in tough economic times we cannot neglect the public safety needs of our community, which is why I am glad to see EDC and the Mayor move forward with creating safer traffic conditions,” said Council Member Helen Sears. “The intersection of the BQE, Astoria Boulevard and Boody Street has been one of the most dangerous in Queens, and it is imperative that we reduce the threat of accident. I look forward to continuing to work with EDC and the Mayor in the planning and executing of a project that will enhance the ability to more safely and efficiently regulate the flow of traffic at the intersection.”
New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC’s mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City’s competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City’s many opportunities.
About the Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan
The Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan is a comprehensive strategy to bring New York City through the current economic downturn as fast as possible. It focuses on three major areas: creating jobs for New Yorkers today, implementing a long-term vision for growing the city's economy, and building affordable, attractive neighborhoods in every borough. Taken together, the initiatives that the City has launched to achieve these goals will generate thousands of jobs and put New York City on a path to economic recovery and growth.