Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert C. Lieber and New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky recently announced $100 million in funding for fourteen capital projects across the borough of Queens that will create approximately 400 new jobs.
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 be managed by NYCEDC. 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.”
One infrastructure and traffic mitigation project includes the Atlantic Avenue Extension which will provide physical improvements by extending Atlantic Avenue to meet 95th Avenue, creating one-way streets on 94th Avenue and 95th Avenue. The project will also create Gateway Park, a new neighborhood open space. Design is currently underway with construction expected to begin in late 2011.
Other infrastructure and traffic mitigation projects include the Station Plaza Redevelopment which aims to decrease traffic congestion and create a safer pedestrian environment by realigning and extending Archer Avenue, creating new bus loading and off-loading lanes as well as moving subway exits currently located on Sutphin Boulevard out of the sidewalks and into newly created public plazas. Bus shelters and retail kiosks in the new plaza spaces will also be provided. Design is currently underway and a groundbreaking is expected in 2012.
New sanitary sewer and storm-water infrastructure will be included as part of the improvements made at the 62-acre Willets Point site and NYCEDC will undertake the conversion of portions of Main and Union Streets in Downtown Flushing from two-way to one-way streets in order to widen the sidewalks and alleviate current pedestrian crowding. Design for the Willets Point Off-Site Infrastructure project is expected to begin by the end of 2009 and the Flushing Street Conversions project is currently in the design state with groundbreaking expected in 2012.
Columbus Plaza and Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology’s Library and Community and Conference Center are the final two projects listed under the infrastructure and traffic mitigation project list. The Columbus Plaza project will include the design and construction of a new bus station and enhanced landscaping and is being overseen by the Department of Transportation. The Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology is undertaking an extensive redevelopment on its campus including a new library and community center including the renovation of 3,650 sq ft of space and construction of an addition 7,200 sq ft of space with multi-media access, informal reading areas and various group discussion rooms. Project design on Columbus Plaza will be begin in late 2009 and groundbreaking on the college redevelopment is expected in 2010.
Six streetscape improvements and area-wide beautification projects are part of the projects being funded and they include the 28th Avenue and Linden Place project in which improvements on 29th Avenue have been completed and Linden Place is currently under construction with a groundbreaking on the Linden Place Extension expected in 2010. Also included are the development of the Beach 20th Street pedestrian plaza in Far Rockaway, the streetscape project within the business corridor of Rockaway Boulevard between Van Wyck and 150th Street, the creation of a formal entrance to Springfield Park, the construction of new sidewalks along with new tree plantings in the Lindenwood section on South Conduit Avenue and Linden Boulevard, and the Roosevelt Avenue and National Street Triangle project that includes a new pedestrian plaza for the Corona neighborhood.
Design is currently underway for the Beach 20th Street Plaza project, the Rockaway Boulevard streetscape project, the South Conduit Avenue and Linden Boulevard project, and the Roosevelt Avenue and National Street Triangle project. Groundbreaking on the Springfield Park project is expected in 2010.