City Furthers Progress on Downtown Far Rockaway Reconstruction

New curb cuts and streets are part of the progress made during Phase 1 of the Downtown Far Rockaway reconstruction. Image Credit: NYC DDC,

The project will enhance economic opportunity for Queens residents and prevent future flooding. On August 2, 2021, the New York City Economic Development Corporation, and the Departments of Environmental Protection, Transportation, and Design and Construction announced the completion of Phase 1 of a $139 million project to revitalize Downtown Far Rockaway’s infrastructure. Phase 1 was completed ahead of schedule, 21 months after the project was first announced.

Downtown Far Rockaway was recently rezoned to allow for more housing and economic opportunity, and better transportation options. The project began in 2019, and aims to support this initiative by reinvigorating the infrastructure of the area centered around the Mott and Central Avenues’ business district and transportation hubs, and spans approximately 25 blocks.

Under Phase 1, a new 15,000 square foot pedestrian plaza was created adjacent to the Far Rockaway-Mott Avenue subway station between Beach 21st and Beach 22nd Streets. The plaza is linked to a new affordable housing development, and includes stages for events, seating, greenery and a water fountain. Water mains were installed along Nameoke and Augustina Avenues.

Phase 2 of the project is underway, and is expected to be completed by September of 2022. Once the project is completed, Downtown Far Rockaway will have new storm sewers and catch basins, upgraded sanitary sewers, and new water mains and fire hydrants. Downtown streets will be rebuilt and realigned to ease traffic flow and enhance pedestrian safety, supporting Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative of eliminating all traffic deaths by 2024. Streets will feature new curb cuts, trees, benches, and other features. A new library will also be constructed.

The project is being funded with $126.7 million from the City, $6.7 million from private utilities, $5.4 million from federal HUD and highway funds and $499,000 from Borough President Donovan Richards’ prior Council Member office.

The Department of Design and Construction has assigned two Community Construction Liaisons to the project who are responsible with keeping the neighborhood apprised of construction progress, to coordinate street closures, utility shutoff and arrange other special requests.

Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Rachel Loeb stated, “This milestone reflects the city’s extensive work and commitment to Queens residents to build sustainable infrastructure that helps prevent future flooding and spurs economic development. A new pedestrian plaza makes it safer to walk to the subway, and the open space will improve quality-of-life for those who call Downtown Far Rockaway home.”

DDC Commissioner Jamie Torres-Springer stated, “The new infrastructure this project is bringing along with rebuilt streets and pedestrian-friendly spaces will have a transformational effect on Downtown Far Rockaway. We’re well on track to meet the accelerated goal of finishing this project in three years rather than the original seven-year projection, which we set to meet the needs of the community.”

By: Nicholas Negron (Nicholas is the CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2022.)


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