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DOT to Develop ‘Long-Term’ Plan for 34th Avenue Open Street in Jackson Heights

Queens Council Member Daniel Dromm and DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg at 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights on May 20 (DOT Twitter)

Oct. 23, 2020 By Allie Griffin

[This story has been updated to reflect that the Open Streets program has no set end date at this time.]

The city will keep the 34th Avenue Open Street going as the Department of Transportation (DOT) looks into a plan for its “long-term” transformation.

Residents and local elected officials have called for the stretch to be made an Open Street on a permanent basis.

The Open Streets program, including 34th Avenue, was originally set to expire on Oct. 31, but now has no end date, a DOT spokesperson said.

“The 34th Avenue Open Street will not end on Oct. 31st,” spokesperson Brian Zumhagen said, as the agency looks into a long-term plan.

Every day 1.3 miles of 34th Avenue, from 69th Street to Junction Boulevard, closes to cars and most vehicles from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Vehicles are permitted to drive — at 5 MPH  — on the closed street for local and emergency purposes.

Residents, advocates and elected officials such as Council Member Daniel Dromm and Sen. Jessica Ramos have called on the City to make the 34th Avenue Open Street permanent for months.

On Saturday, the transportation advocacy group Transportation Alternatives will be holding a rally to demand that City Hall and the DOT make the 34th Avenue Open Street permanent.

Many supporters say 34th Avenue has become the defining street in the city’s Open Streets program, which was first introduced in May to give New Yorkers more outdoor space during the pandemic. A photo of the 34th Avenue Open Street even graced the front page of the New York Times last month.

The Open Street has been transformed into a lively pedestrian and cyclist path with regular community-led activities such as Zumba classes, bingo sessions, children’s games and crafts, ESL classes and tutoring when it closes to most traffic each day.

A DOT spokesperson said the agency has been encouraged by the attention the 34th Avenue Open Street has received from Jackson Heights residents. The agency said it will soon start working on long-term plans, as Streestblog first reported.

DOT officials will work with local stakeholders to come up with the specifics of the plan.

“We are thrilled at the reception that [34th Avenue] has received these last few months, and we look forward to working closely with community groups, elected officials, local schools and advocates on the best plan for the street’s long-term transformation,” Zumhagen said.

DOT experts will speak to community members about the future of the Open Street at Queens Community Board 3’s Transportation Committee meeting next week. More details are expected to be revealed during the meeting.

Dromm, who has been pushing for the Open Street’s permanence, celebrated the win on Twitter.

“While details still need to be ironed out, I am proud to have worked with the DOT to make this happen,” he tweeted.

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5 Comments

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John

This is bad the streets belong to everyone not just people jogging ..that’s what parks are for . The streets were made for cars. This closure has made alot alot alot more traffic since no one can drive on 34th it has made more pollution because of this and the streets are filthy it’s causing a chain reaction for the worst .if you don’t believee come by on Fridays after 4pm trying to get out of 34 is almost impossible to get into northern garbidge trucks are also have big problems because the cars can no longer go around the trucks that pick up trash.tje cars have to wait behind the trucks .this is causing frustrated drivers and sometimes angry drivers go thru 34,the anyway I am afraid of this also

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Anonymous

This is bad the streets belong to everyone not just people jogging ..that’s what parks are for . The streets were made for cars. This closure has made alot alot alot more traffic since no one can drive on 34th it has made more pollution because of this and the streets are filthy it’s causing a chain reaction for the worst .

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Sunnysideposthatesme

These closed streets are the dumbest things ever. I am so happy to be leaving this stupid city. Streets are designed for cars and if people want to walk around they can use the sidewalks or parks. There is literally no need to use the damn streets. Only entitled idiot yuppies who seek to gentrify sunnyside some more and don’t have cars are pushing for this nonsense. This city sucks, you deserve the ghost town you have

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Queens Streets for LOL

Why are they doing this without polling the drivers? I/WE only see 5 people and one dog in that photo surrounded by parked cars. Cars are people too and should be given a vote. Why does the city listen to people who are for something and not to people like ME/US who are against everything? LOL

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Gardens Watcher

Counting the days for 39th Avenue/Barnett to lose the barriers. Very few cars respect the 5mph rule.

Maybe time for a traffic light at the triangle intersection at 45th Street & Barnett? It’s become a more dangerous intersection, and many drivers ignore the right turn only sign. Seems like a lot more traffic is coming from Queens Blvd. cutting over to Northern Blvd.

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