Completed in 2012, NYCEDC's Queens Plaza project has transformed Queens' front door into an inviting gateway to the borough and includes public space, improved roadway design and streetscapes, and enhanced pedestrian walkways.
The Queens Plaza Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvement Project, completed in Spring 2012, has transformed this primary entry point into Long Island City and Queens into a dynamic and appealing gateway. Queens Plaza is located in the Long Island City (LIC) business district, one of the City’s greatest assets, with ample capacity to support the growing need for affordable office space. Long Island City was rezoned for high density mixed-use development, and substantial development projects are in their planning stages or currently under way. The Queens Plaza project complements the nearby Jackson Avenue streetscape improvements, which were completed in 2010.
The project area includes Queens Plaza North to Queens Plaza South, from Northern Boulevard/Queens Plaza East to 21st Street. The project will improve the flow of traffic and enhance the pedestrian environment with new sidewalks, curbs, plantings, landscaped traffic medians, and improved lighting.
The project also includes a 1.5-acre open space with artisan-designed benches and pavers, a bikeway, and a pedestrian walkway. The project is supported by $37.7 million in federal funds and $6.6 million in City Capital funds.
Dutch Kills Green, the new 1.5-acre open space at Queens Plaza, turned a former commuter parking lot into a green oasis, with an array of benches and plantings to make the space an inviting public place. The park features non-invasive, drought-tolerant native plantings and artist Michael Singer designed a system of interlocking, permeable pavers that will direct stormwater to the plantings.
Wallace Robert & Todd's design for Queens Plaza received The American Institute of Architects/NY's 2008 Merit Award.
Dutch Kills Green: new Long Island City green space
NYCEDC held a contest to name this new, sustainably-designed 1.5 acre open space at the eastern end of Queens Plaza in Long Island City. The former John F. Kennedy commuter parking lot has been transformed into a green space that features wetlands, native plantings, artist-designed benches and paving. The City received more than 600 submissions for its contest to name the new green space, and the Mayor unveiled the plaque with the winning name, Dutch Kills Green, submitted by both Harry Charalambides and James Stark, which was chosen by a panel of City and community representatives.
A century ago, Queens Plaza was opened to mark the gateway to Queens from the Queensboro (Ed Koch) Bridge. For too long, Queens Plaza was an infrastructure-laden corridor for cars and transit riders to simply pass through. But those days are over. Queens Plaza’s edges have been softened with inviting green spaces for commuters, workers, residents, and cyclists, serving an exciting and evolving mixed-use neighborhood.
With the completion of over $45 million in roadway, pedestrian and bicycle improvements, Queens Plaza has been transformed with new sidewalks and crosswalks, lighting, historic millstones, landscaped medians, an off-street bikeway and attractive open spaces.