City Planning and Transportation Announce New Neighborhood Plan for Jamaica, Queens

Part of a rendering for upgrades on Parsons Boulevard. Image Credit: NYC DOT.

On May 26, 2023, Mayor Eric Adams, the Department of City Planning, and the Department of Transportation announced the “Jamaica Neighborhood Plan,” a study that will identify new ways to create jobs, housing, and design improvements to streetscapes in Jamaica, Queens through a community-led planning process.

The Department of City Planning will partner with Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and Council Member Natasha Williams to conduct a study of over 300 blocks in Downtown Jamaica with the goal of exploring opportunities to establish permanently affordable housing in conjunction with community, business, and faith-based organizations. The study will include mass transit areas, such as the Jamaica Rail Hub, and pedestrian and commercial corridors like Jamaica Avenue, Merrick Boulevard, Hillside Avenue, and Liberty Avenue. There will be community outreach ahead of implementation for the housing development, including public workshops and open houses throughout the summer and into the fall.

The Department of Transportation also published the Jamaica NOW: Urban Design Strategy and Streetscape Plan, the specific plan to improve Jamaica’s streetscapes to create projects that will benefit the commercial industries in Jamaica. The streetscape plan’s boundaries will extend north-south from Jamaica Avenue to Archer Avenue and east-west from Maverick Boulevard to Sutphin Boulevard with five target areas including projects to widen sidewalks, expand pedestrian spaces, include more trees and sitting areas, and encourage pedestrian visits with pop-up programming and concessions.

The Streetscape Plan has already been designated to receive almost $70 million dollars to carry out the new projects. There has also been extensive public engagement for the plan with 600 public comments and outreach to 1,500 community members for effective planning input.

There will be additional community engagement for the plans to help determine and define the amenities and investments for the new public spaces in Jamaica’s downtown area.

Mayor Adams stated, “Jamaica is a major jobs and transportation hub for Queens and the entire city, but it has been overlooked for too long. We have been undertaking projects like this across the five boroughs, and this comprehensive plan for Jamaica will help deliver a fairer, more prosperous city.

Council Member Williams spoke highly of the plan and urged the continued dedication and commitment from various members and agencies in City government. She stated, “This process can only be successful with the support of local stakeholders, especially our steering committee, our elected partners, including the mayor, the speaker, and the Queens borough president. Together, we can truly create a greater Jamaica in our lifetime.”

DOT Commissioner Rodriguez stated, “Our Jamaica NOW plan represents a comprehensive vision to help Downtown Jamaica thrive as a pedestrian-focused commercial and transit corridor. he busways on Jamaica and Archer Avenues have dramatically improved the lives of a quarter-million daily commuters along the corridors — and we look forward to complimenting these transformative upgrades with holistic public space improvements for transit users, shoppers, residents, and other visitors to the neighborhood.”

By: Vanessa Cameron (Vanessa is a CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2024.)

DOT: Mayor Adams, Speaker Adams, Councilmember Williams, Borough President Richards Launch Jamaica Neighborhood Plan, Unveil Vision for Streetscape Improvements (May 26, 2023)



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