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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.

Open Streets–34th Avenue (Photo: Queens Post)

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28 Comments

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saw

lets make It a hard commute for those that have to go to work and make a living, these people need to walk aimlessly.

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jimbo

these people are stupid. causes so much traffic the merger for all cars falls onto junction which there are times I rather not even drive. these people speed walking mid day should be looking for jobs. dog walking go to the park.
34th ave 91 street street check it u got a guys selling coats toys water everything, over 15 feet across looks like trash. people just sit on corners. u got joggers and bikers that get mad when you have the light like its a big inconvenience to them. take it down. already. Jackson Heights is overly congested with people yea shut down a whole avenue, oh and lets do construction the open avenues. the people making these decision don’t live here, why they make decisions like if they do.

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Rob Mayer

Please do not make the closing of 34th Avenue perment. It impedes traffic flow to drivers. There are enough bicycle lanes, and parks. Keep the parks open. There is no reason to keep them closed.
Thanks,
Rob Mayer

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BARBARA A MCCARTHY

Between 94th &93rd. Though they might have moved. They were there all summer- ESL Classes too. Then the school opened- Christa McCullough Elementary.

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J .Tsay

It make 35th Ave very busy and noisy. Now 35th ave Loading with both avenues cars plus Q49and all emergency transportation pass through. .It’s not fair for 35th ave resident . Before 35th ave have more quite area for people to live. Now bcs of this program resedent of 35th ave HV to suffer much more the traffic noise and dust. Hope go back to original.let cars also run on 34th ave to share the traffic fairly. TKS.

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JHeights my whole life

This 34th ave open street is horrible. First of all I live on 34th ave and I can’t catch a cab at my own building because the block is closed. The other day I saw an ambulance out my window it was driving fast with the sirens on most likely responding to an emergency. The ambulance driver had to get out of the ambulance to move the barricade out of the way to continue to drive down 34th ave slowing down the response time to a medical emergency. Now all I see is FedEx, Amazon, and UPS trucks on 34th Avenue driving on the same street where children ride skateboards how soon before an accident happens? Another thing because of this traffic on Northern blvd and 35 has increased dramatically. Oh yeah and it’s decreased social distancing because now whole families sit under my window many without masks playing next to dog walkers and others. It’s also increased litter on the Avenue too. But the worst part of this isn’t being dropped off around the corner from my house in the rain, or the extra time people spend driving around looking for parking polluting the air or the extra noise, garbage and dog poop that these open streets leave behind. The worse part is the male and female Karens that want to drag the fence closed when my sister is trying to drop off my elderly Mom in front of our building. Or the male Karen that cursed at my sister for trying to park in front of her own building To the genius politicians who thought of this open street stupidity. This is an enpty meaningless gesture to placate people you can’t do anything for. Politicians can’t lower crime, rent, or the price of food. They can’t get us health care in a pandemic, they can’t make the stimulus or unemployment bonus happen for the millions of people who really need it. So what do they do? Dumb stuff like this that helps no one. Danny Dromm you’ve been in office for years when this neighborhood was working class new yorkers you never cared if people had places places to play with their children or dogs. Not that lomg ago you were telling dog owners to go to 69th street to use that tiny dog park now your so concerned with open streets all of a sudden. You politicians just try to jump on the bandwagon of whatever is popular. No local politicians cared about this until recently when wealthier people started moving in and the Mom and Pop stores started disappear. Now it’s open space.

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Javier

I agree with everything you said….

Too bad the dog walkers, joggers and cyclists don’t care about any of this but themselves.

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Julian

This is setting huge precedence for new urban designs and reenvisioning our public spaces. Robert Moses’ influences on our cityscapes are finally beginning to evolve to return to All people not just the privileged. This benefits countless people and shows we need to stop relying on every single road for car traffic. Streets are for people.

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Charles R.

My windows overlook 34th Ave and in the absence of the usual din of day traffic it is a pleasure to hear kids playing and watching people walking running and cycling. So much better!

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℅ Chris

I would prefer it be open..there is way too much traffic on northern blvd and 35th ave ..8am- 8pm is an absurd amount of time to keep a main st closed in an over crowded area

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Margaret Flanagan

If we get new, permanent open space in Jackson Heights, it should be a different spot. 34 Ave is right alongside Travers Park and some beautiful church yards. But the people who live alongside the BQE and Roosevelt Ave have no peaceful open or green space nearby. Environmental justice calls for new open space investment closer to the ugly infrastructure that burdens our neighbors, not right next to the newly renovated Travers Park and the most gentrified blocks.

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Someone who drives a car

I have a solution.
How about, since 34th Avenue has a center median, you close off the side closest to the park permanently and make the other side a one way going towards Junction and the GCP. Problem solved .

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Linda

No, No , No it is ridiculous join a week there’s nobody there but maybe a little old lady walking in the street for some weird reason our bicycles going way too fast. There’s not enough parking as it is without making it more difficult for us it is totally unnecessary!!!!!!!!!

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Soccer mom

Very good idea as long as they do not remove parking spots. Outdoor dining already took a lot and parking in hard.

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Javier

That’s exactly what’s going to happen. Do the math. From 69th street to Junction Blvd…… roughly 40 cars per block times 25 blocks. Almost a 1000 parking spaces…..GONE!

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SKANMAN

NOBODY EVER THINKS OF THE RESIDENTS OF THIS NEIGHBORHOOD THAT HAVE TO LOOK FOR PARKING AFTER 8 AM OR BEFORE 8 PM. IT’S GOING TO BECOME A WORSE DISASTER THAN IT ALREADY IS.
NOT TO MENTION ALL THE SILLY LOOKS AND COMMENTS PEDESTRIANS YELL AT DRIVERS WHO ARE JUST TRYING TO LOOK FOR A SPOT FOR THEIR CARS… A YEAR AGO YOU WOULSNT BE WALKING ON THE STREET, SO SHARE THE ROAD. IF BIKERS AND MOTORISTS HAVE BEEN ABLE TO DO IT FOR SO LONG, WHY CAN’T PEDESTRIANS.

ONE FRUSTRATED JACKSON HEIGHTS LIFER…

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BARBARA A MCCARTHY

Love Open 34th Ave- so does our dog Sam. Even on his leash he feels free…you should see him gallop- stopping only for pets and praise from fellow neighbors! And he lost 6 pounds since it opened. Happy pup, happy mom!

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Really????

You knew where you lived BEFORE you got your dog. I love dogs too, but if that’s your justification for closing the Avenue permanently, then move to the suburbs where you get at least 1/2 Acre of property when you buy. Plenty of room for Fido to run around. Look on the bright side, you won’t ever have to scoop up his poop on your property and simply use it as fertilizer.

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BARBARA A MCCARTHY

Its not just for my dog- I was just highlighting one perk. You sound VERY angry- now that’s sad. Even the suburbs don’t want you! Try to find some happiness. Peace and Love!

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BARBARA A MCCARTHY

You sound so angry. Watch that blood pressure. I only highlighted one perk for my pup there are many others for humans. Now go growl somewhere else! Peace-love-Woof!

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BARBARA A MCCARTHY

Dog poop should not be used as fertilizer…bad news. I don’t mind scooping up my dogs poop. As a nurse I have seen and smelled much worse from humans!
Enjoy the burbs-

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T

As a person who parks and drives in this area, I couldn’t be happier. This community is amazing.

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Citigirl

Politicians and DOT should walk undercover along there in mornings and evenings!!!
It is not lovely when people race by on motorized bikes, drivers move gates and don’t put them back, motorcycles use space to drive fast, people set up business in the avenue ….. it’s actually DANGEROUS and police cannot do anything to stop violators ! Many People also don’t wear masks! Classes are set up as business not free, people gather and don’t wear masks! Pictures available…

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Fernando

Make no mistake, the so called “transformation” will be the proliferation of street vendors affecting the quality of life of the area. I’ve seen at least five that have already set up shop, but that is how it starts.
Another problem are people with loud speakers that make too much noise in a once quite area.

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