DOT and DCC announce Pedestrian Safety Improvements in Jamaica

Wider sidewalks are part of pedestrian safety improvements implemented in Jamaica. Image Credit: DDC.

On August 10, 2023, the New York City Department of Transportation and Department of Design and Construction announced the completion of their pedestrian safety improvements in Jamaica, Queens. The goal of the pedestrian safety improvements is to create a more inviting space for residents to enjoy Downtown Jamaica and reduce the amount of car crashes resulting in serious pedestrian injury in the area.

On Parsons Boulevard between Jamaica Avenue and Archer Avenue in Queens, sidewalk space has more than doubled, the distance to cross Parsons Boulevard has been significantly reduced and there is a new pedestrian island. All improvements come from the Jamaica NOW Action Plan which utilizes community visions to revamp Downtown Jamaica. Public space improvements have been at the top of the community’s wish list, with safety improvements specifically to Parsons Boulevard between Jamaica Avenue and Archer Avenue being at the forefront of discussion.

The completion of this current project tackled both necessary pedestrian safety measurements and beatification of the area. Most obvious is the expansion of the sidewalk by 7,150 square feet, reduction of the distance to cross Parsons Boulevard from 65 feet to 39 feet thus limiting the amount of time pedestrians need to be in the crosswalk, and the new pedestrian island. Beyond these changes, there are more improvements that will benefit the members of this Queens community. New traffic signals have been installed, upgrades have been made to ten sidewalk ramps making them now ADA compliant, five new trees were planted, 18,000 feet of roadway was reconstructed, seven new catch basins were established to improve stormwater damages, wayfinding signs have been updated, and five new sidewalk benches were installed.

The safety improvements benefit an area with an average pedestrian foot traffic rate of 1,000 people per hour. Downtown Jamaica boasts a plethora of transportation options that the community uses to access the rest of Queens as well as the other boroughs. Moreover, this area is within the top ten percent of corridors throughout all five boroughs with car crashes resulting in death or serious injury. From 2012-2016 there were 70 crashes on Parsons Boulevard between Jamaica Avenue and Archer Avenue with 30 including injuries to pedestrians.

The project was completed on time and more than $1 million under budget. A $2.5 million grant from the State through the NYS Downtown Revitalization Initiative, $2.8 million in City funds, and $377,000 from funding allocations from the Council were used to complete these improvements.

DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez stated, “New Yorkers deserve streets and public spaces that are safe, vibrant, and welcoming for all. This project will make Parsons Boulevard safer and better for the community and those who visit. I thank our partners at DDC, the New York State Downtown Revitalization Initiative, elected officials, and community members for their collaboration.”

Council Member Nantasha Williams stated, “This investment into pedestrian safety is much needed and greatly appreciated. Parsons Blvd and the Downtown Jamaica area grow more vibrant every day, and we look forward to making this neighborhood an even more walkable community where constituents can live, work and play in safety.”

By: Meg Beauregard (Meg is the CityLaw intern, and a New York Law School student, Class of 2024).

NYC Department of Transportation and NYC Department of Design and Construction: “City and State Celebrate Pedestrian Safety Improvements at Parsons Boulevard in Jamaica, Queens” (August 10, 2023).


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