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THE COURIER/Photo by Angela Matua
THE COURIER/Photo by Angela Matua
Officials announced on Monday a nearly $40 million project to upgrade streets in Long island City.

Long Island City streets will receive major upgrades as a part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative, city officials formally announced at a Monday press conference.

A large swath of streets, many of which have not been reconstructed since the early 20th century, will be upgraded to enhance transportation safety, especially in a neighborhood that has seen “explosive growth,” according to Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.

The project has received a $29.6 million investment from de Blasio’s capital plan and $8.8 million from the DOT Capital Project budget for a total of $38.47 million in capital funding. This Long Island City project was awarded the largest share of the Vision Zero funding, Trottenberg said.

“We’re having such a growth in terms of residential activity, commercial activity,” she said. “Obviously, as buildings are going up, the infrastructure is straining.”

The improvements will stretch from Fifth Street and 44th Drive to Jackson and Borden avenues. The DOT will also be partnering with the Department of Environmental Preservation to improve drainage and resiliency measures because the area is surrounded by water.

Trottenberg, along with Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Feniosky Pena-Mora, announced the project at the intersection of 11th Street and Jackson Avenue, a major focus of the redesign work.

Trottenberg said residents at a December planning meeting requested traffic calming and safety measures along 11th Street. Other areas of focus include the intersections of Vernon Boulevard and Jackson Avenue; 23rd Street and Jackson Avenue; 21st Street and Jackson Avenue; and 44th Drive and Vernon Boulevard.

Pena-Mora said the project will focus on designing safer streetscapes for pedestrians, intersection and corridor improvements, traffic calming, new public spaces, green infrastructure and resilience solutions to protect the Hunters Point waterfront from extreme weather.

“These are improvements that we have long sought,” said Pat O’Brien, chairperson of Community Board 2. “It’s wonderful to see this tangible step occurring and to be part of the announcement here.”

The preliminary design is expected to be completed by June, but no additional timeline was released. The mayor’s  budget also includes $225 million for three new schools in the neighborhood, which Van Bramer announced last week.

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