March 6, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
Queens Boulevard is set to undergo a major beautification project that will see a flourishing linear park along the median, changes to some slip lanes, and a Q60 bus line running through the median instead of the curb.
The proposal, part of the city’s $101 million Great Streets project, covers the area on Queens Boulevard from Roosevelt Avenue to 73rd Street—the first phase. The project is a continuation of the Department of Transportation’s plan, introduced in 2015, that brought significant safety improvements along the once deadly boulevard.
For the project, the concrete median running along the roughly one mile stretch to 73rd Street will be ripped up and rebuilt to include a pedestrian walkway, greenery, street lamps, bicycle racks, benches, and other streetscape amenities.
The medians are currently between 10 to 13 feet wide, and feature a roughly five foot pedestrian walk space flush against it, followed by a five foot protected bike lane. Under the new plan, the median will be widened to between 15 to 18 feet to accommodate pedestrians. A five foot raised bike lane, however, will be flush directly against the new median.
In another major change, the Q60 bus stops, currently on the service roads, will be relocated to the median under the DOT’s current plan. Shelters with benches will also be installed at the medians for passengers. Most bus stops will simply be pushed to the median from their exact location at the curb, but some may be eliminated completely under the new plan.
In some areas, like the southern side of 65th Place, a bus-only pull in stop will be implemented, which would constrict that portion of the lane to the Q60 bus. A bus boarding island will also be created at the north side of 65th Place toward the median.
To further accommodate buses, a portion of the main road by 69th Street, which currently has channelized spaces, will be transformed into an extra lane for buses, only.
The DOT says approximately 40 parking spaces will be added curbside due to the Q60’s relocation to the median.
While most of the changes for this installment of the project focus on beautifying the median and moving the bus route to the middle, minor changes will come to the roadways. The slips, where drivers can change lanes to cross the medians, will be updated to improve visibility for drivers with new road markings. A new westbound slip lane will also be created between 73rd and 70th Streets.
Raised intersections will also be built on 60th Street in front of the Big Six, where the roadway there currently features a flat divider. The raised intersection is meant to improve pedestrian crossings and calm vehicular traffic. The intersection will also be outfitted with slopes, making it easier for the elderly, those using walkers, and wheelchair users to get onto it.
At 66th Street by the BQE entrance, the DOT plans on reconstructing the street surrounding the ramp to increase pedestrian access and to make it easier for cars to drive directly into the highway.
The DOT, which presented the project at last night’s CB2 Transportation Committee meeting, aims to improve access across and between neighborhoods, provide the boulevard with a park, make buses travel faster, and enhance livability for residents with their plan.
Construction work is expected to begin in 2019 for this phase. The Great Streets project as a whole, however, will move along the boulevard in phases, eventually reaching Yellowstone Boulevard and Union Turnpike in years to come.
“This is a very important milestone in the Queens Boulevard, Vision Zero, Great Streets project,” said Nicole Garcia, DOT Queens Borough Commissioner. “We are really going to create a beautiful boulevard that is worthy of the community and going to have the infrastructure to support the community for generations to come.”
Denise Keehan-Smith, chair of Community Board 2’s Transportation Committee and chairperson of the board, was staunchly opposed to moving the bus route from curbside to the median.
“This was never brought up before,” Keehan-Smith said. “I have no time to think about it. What is this—seriously?”
Keehan-Smith was especially concerned for seniors, as they make up the majority of Q60 riders.
“Seniors primarily ride those buses,” Keehan-Smith said. “They can barely cross the street now, and if they have to wait in an intersection or median, there’s going to be a lot of confusion. I just see this as a disaster.”
Crossing to the bus stops, Keehan-Smith added, will be difficult during the winter, as snow tends to pile up and block the crosswalk.
Garcia said the DOT typically does not require community board approval to carry on with a capital project, and merely presents to provide the community with information on the project.
But Garcia said she will be bringing concerns about moving the bus stops to the DOT’s offices, and will return to the board with the agency’s response.
Jordan Levine, a member of CB2’s transportation committee, said relocating the bus stops is a bold move that requires discussion, but nonetheless presents exciting prospects.
“This is a once in a generation opportunity to get better bus shelters and better bus service,” Levine said.
The chairperson ultimately demanded that the DOT meet directly with the communities along this one-mile path, and pressed for a community conversation to be held at the Big Six.
“Lets get the people who are going to be directly impacted by this in the room,” Keehan-Smith said.
For the full presentation, click here.
respiratory illnesses appear to be on the rise. I suspect increased vehicular congestion as a result of these bike lanes which do not appear to be used that often, rarely if ever do I see a bike. It appears many people’s lives and health have been put at risk for a few. A better feasibility should have been conducted. I am wondering if the lung ailments from the back up of carcinongenic contaminants are worth it. Big Six Towers in particular is trapped in TOXIC FUMES between Queens Blvd. and the BQE. I predict cancer cases will spike, we may soon be a ‘cancer cluster’…it’s my hope our representative can apply a little common sense to the issue. A bike rider in Williamsburg really shouldn’t have a say about my backyard whether he’s paid or not to hold such an opinion, if ‘health’ is really the bottom line, then we’ve got to apply some common sense and pre-emptively also let our Governor know we’ve had enough with the pollution and contamination from airplanes, cars and other chemical burdens, we don’t want a cloud of extra from the proposed Ed Koch bridge tolls.
yOU’RE 100% CORRECT
[…] Image by DOT via Sunnyside Post […]
They left out the Change Guy in that rendering
There’s just too many cars, period! Ever try crossing Queens Blvd during the evening rush? Car drivers don’t care about pedestrians trying to cross, they barrel thru the red light so they can get one up on the other drivers. Please do whatever you can to limit the amount of cars on Queens Blvd, it’s an utter MESS!!!
Oh please. The pedestrians are running across against traffic at any opportunity. The cars are barely moving now with the bike lanes and it’s mostly motorized bikes using them. You think this will get rid of cars? You’re just causing more traffic and putting seniors at risk now. Brilliant
Queens Boulevard is much better the good old days back when there was only one laying for people and we would clippity-clop are horses up and down the old Boulevard.
Like pedestrians obey the do not walk signs.. Get real.
If you ride the bus to and fro, you have to cross all of Queens Blvd on one leg of your trip, so the complaint expressed in the article that old people will have trouble crossing to the middle doesn’t really ring true. Under this proposal you will have to cross half the boulevard to get to the bus, but right now you have to cross all of the boulevard on one leg of your trip. Plus, are there actual statistics about the ages of the people who ride the Q60 (that they’re primarily old people?), because when I ride it, I see all ages of people on it.
It will take over an hour to get from Sunnyside to the Queens Center with the busses holding up the ALREADY heavy traffic.
While not a fan favorite of CB 2 I must admit Ms Keegan-Smith at least stood up to the DOT. I don’t quite understand the overpass theory. The call for a meeting at The Big Six is a good idea it is the largest impacted community on the Blvd.
there should be a meeting on this when will it start because you have people that live in skyview towers too
We all see people running to catch a bus. Now they will be running in front of moving cars to catch the bus in the median. Buses should pick up passengers on the sidewalk only.
Perfect, a miles long linear park that soon will become the world’s longest homeless encampment. Who is going to maintain this place?
yes, you right
Wow, I didn’t think that there were so many transportation experts in this area.
Versus city .gov’s “transportation experts” who live on consultant compiled data and isolated field visits or two? Must be good to live a life thinking they know what’s best for everybody while mostly insulated from the negative consequences of whatever they decide to push! (The bonus: Some have intricate, if obscured conflicts of interest and stand to personally benefit from related construction projects).
Yeah… I think I’ll give greater weight to the thoughts of the people who live/work nearby and actually rely on the infrastructure day-to-day.
Great forward-looking plans. Hope they can be implemented safely!
Swap the Q60 for light rail and this is perfect.
It will never happen. Too many jobs depend on overpriced maintenance of these buses. Plus light rail will be more reliable, on time, and much less expensive so it will never happen, people like the crappy Q60 that stinks of urine and takes forever.
LOL — installing light rail cheaper than busses? The existing, silly, proposal for the BQX is 2.5 billion.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m something of a railfan myself. But light rail will NOT be on time and more reliable than the Q60 bus unless it is grade separated on its own right of way. It could be less expensive over time than running buses if the passenger volume is there, but certainly not at the beginning.
Without grade separation, you still have to deal with cross traffic (and be subject to much of the same “traffic calming” measures that the buses are dealing with right now). And with light rail, if there’s track issues or car breakdowns along the line… Q60 bus will look like the better alternative again.
This is the most backwards plan I’ve ever heard of. If they want to improve Queens Blvd they need to re-think that atrocious positioning of the bike lane and walking strip. Not only do I fear cyclist and pedestrian casualties, but the bus NOT running on the most easily accessible part of the street? DOT keeps missing the beat, song after song.
they never told anybody that it was going to be a bike lane/pedestrian lane at all — this was under the table and this is a fact — this never should have been –
I applaud this plan. Queens needs to be friendlier to pedestrians. If Manhattan could do it, Queens can do it too. It’s not some pass-through suburb anymore. It houses millions of people and it should benefit these same people who pay federal, state, city, sale, property etc. taxes. Cars that pass through stretches of Queens pay very little to benefit the localities. Time for queens to come together as a community.
All of you people are full of it. Unless a car jumps the curb, is driven by a drunk, or has mechanical failure, you basically need to have you head up your butt to get hit by a car. People cross the street wearing head phones, listening music, talking on their phones, texting, face booking, Jay walking, but you people blame the drivers. Get real.. $100 Jay walking fines will save plenty of lives too.
What’s the point? Once the buses reach 32nd Street and Qns Blvd they come to a stand still as they approach the bridge over sunnyside yards and Qns Plaza. This city is such a mess, living here is becoming unbearable.
Neighbor – The Q60 gets tied up in multiple points throughout its long route. At the Borough Hall, 63rd Drive Rego Park, around the LIE and again by Queens Center Mall and again by Target. That bus always arrives in groups of 2 and three. It was originally a trolley route.
Great, that will give even more incentive for people to run across the street in front of moving traffic when it says “don’t walk”. Biggest frustration is the fact drivers have to go 25 everywhere because people just can’t stop and wait for the light to change. I’m going to start running red lights, when I get pulled over, I’ll claim I was “jaydriving” seeing as jaywalking carries no enforced penalties whatsoever.
How fast do you need to go on a city street? Speed is for the highway.
You better be grateful that the police and the government don’t consider statements like that as death threats. Looks like driving carries no enforced penalties either — so when drivers actually run over people legally crossing the street and kill them because they can’t seem to slow down, they’re free to go.
None of the foreign people can figure out the streets now, never mind this! It’ll be chaos
Does it feel good to post this?
“Foreign people” practically means almost everyone in New York City. LOL
a park surrounded by the so called “Boulevatd Of Death”, what could go wrong?
No where do I read how this helps ease traffic congestion with all the cars and trucks that use the middle lanes. If anything, this will make congestion worse.
F$$k cars !!
Get a bike ?
Right back at ya.
Because its not about congestion, its about moving people not cars. Safely.
They said the point is to slow the teaffic. Any slower and it won’t be moving.
It is a great way to connect other new amenities… like homeless shelters!!
Yo you guys need to read ^^^
Can they please stop messing with queens blvd already? This proposal makes no sense. I don’t take the bus so those who take it can go and complain, they want people to cross and then take the bus? What purpose is the “local” lane going to serve? Are they planning to give it exclusively to bikers? Local business will rejoice! Fix what’s broken.. Fix our subways, fix our roads and potholes, fix the lane markers and missing dividers, it’s like they conquered everything, now it’s time to move the buses to middle express lanes.. (25mph express!! Hold on to your hats!)
Me- It will make transportation to the new school on 48th street and Barnett and the other school at 43rd street and 47th ave so much more pleasant.
@Me- I never seen so much narcissistic drivel before. Thousands of people take the bus, it’s not always about you especially in a city of this size. To quote you “Fix our subways, fix our roads and potholes, fix the lane markers and missing dividers.” Well this beautification project addresses all the concerns in that quote. Better bus service reduces subway over crowding. Do you post just to see yourself in print?
“Thousands of people take the bus,” You are totally right. In fact from these figures of over 13K a day in 2016 we’re talking 96,327 a week on just the Q60!
By switching the bus to the median, the local lanes can better be served as loading zones for businesses & more parking spaces are reintroduced.
Over 13,000 people ride the Q60 every weekday, and every 20,000 on the weekends. Among those are myself. I’m not complaining. You are.
The purpose of the local lane is for cars and trucks that need the buildings that are on the boulevard, so they don’t get in the way of everyone else (including bicycle riders) that don’t.
I like it. Might need some tweaks, but why not make QB more attractive for pedestrians/transit riders?
This sounds like a beautiful plan. That area in queens Blvd needs a lot of work indeed. I hope they expand even further up to the queens center mall. Finally something is done for Queens.