Feb. 12, 2016 By Michael Florio
A Queens Boulevard safety revamp will hit the road in the coming months.
The Department of Transportation has started planning an “operational” project for Queens Boulevard between 73rd Street and Eliot Avenue, a busy corridor that runs past the Queens Center Mall. Operational projects involve temporary, quick-to-implement traffic safety improvements with paint, gravel and flexible delineators.
Operational projects precede capital projects, which are permanent fixes that require more planning and funding. According to the DOT, a capital project will get underway on this stretch in 2019.
Elmhurst residents can expect to see operational work in gear on Queens Boulevard soon, according to Council Member Daniel Dromm.
“We do not have a hard date but all this should be occurring within the next few months,” Dromm said. “I hope that the DOT proceeds in a timely fashion and these changes are implemented quickly.”
Details of what these upgrades will involve have yet to be released, but Dromm said the DOT has expressed interest in traffic calming measures and bike lanes that run along the Queens Boulevard service road, shrinking the width for vehicles.
The DOT did not respond to questions regarding its plans.
Safety work on Queens Boulevard marks Phase Two of a project that will ultimately upgrade the notoriously dangerous corridor all the way to Jamaica Avenue.
Phase One covers Queens Boulevard from Roosevelt Avenue to 73rd Street. Operational work including new bike lanes have already been implemented there, to mixed reviews.
“I think they made really good improvements to improve safety for pedestrians and motorists [in Phase One],” Dromm said. “The sooner we can get this here the better.”
Any redesign proposal from the DOT will pass through the Community Board and Dromm for review before implementation.
“Whatever the DOT comes up with we have to look at it, analyze is, possibly try it and if it’s not the right fit we can always go back and tweak it,” Dromm said.
Phase Three will cover Eliot Ave to Jamaica Avenue. The operational project will be implemented in 2017, with the capital project going into effect in 2021, according to the DOT.