Transportation Upgrade For Downtown Flushing

Federal dollars have been earmarked to improve transportation and traffic management in downtown Flushing, one of the boroughs hotspots for commercial and residential development.
Congressman Gary Ackerman, joined by the members of the political troika representing the area State Senator Toby Stavisky, Assemblyman Barry Grodenchik and Councilman John Liu announced the approval of $2.5 million in aid from the federal transportation bill – aid that will make the areas streets and waterfront property more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists, while alleviating traffic congestion.
"These funds will go a long way for Flushing," said Ackerman. "The money will assist local residents and businesses with the infrastructure and community facilities needed to support the continuing expansion and ongoing challenges of the fastest growing retail hub and most dynamic business center in all of New York City."
The bill, formally known as the Transportation Equity Act, has passed both the US Senate and the House of Representatives. However, President George W. Bush must still sign it into law before Flushing can receive the money.
Better For
Pedestrians, Bikes
Under the federal dole out, $1 million will be allocated to make downtown Flushings retail core, transit hub and areas west of the commercial district including College Point Boulevard, Shea Stadium, Flushing Meadows-Corona park and the Flushing Worlds Fair Marina more conducive for use by pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles.
This portion of the funding aims to give College Point Boulevards industrial visage a face lift and to improve access to sites located along Flushing River. It involves connecting bikeways located to the north and south of the boulevard. The $1 million will also identify and implement the most feasible and cost-effective connection from Northern Boulevard to College Point Boulevard, relieving congestion and improving vehicle access from LaGuardia Airport. And it will provide for streetscaping of Roosevelt Avenue, improving pedestrian connection between College Point Boulevard and the transit hub at Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue.
Another $1 million of the total funding will be used to study, design and construct alternative transportation improvements and traffic management measures throughout downtown Flushing. These efforts will link bike and pedestrian routes with public transit, with the hope of reducing vehicular/pedestrian accidents, alleviating congestion and improving air quality. The funding intends to complement ongoing initiatives already underway by the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the City Planning Department.
Transportation Hub Upgrade
"It will further bolster our status as one of the leading if not the leading transportation hubs, not only in Queens, but in the City of New York," said Councilman Liu, chair of the City Councils Transportation Committee, noting that downtown Flushing is home to a bus terminal, subway stop and LIRR station, as well as being heavily trafficked by pedestrians, cyclist and motor vehicles.
The remaining funds, approximately $480,000, will go to revamping the Roosevelt Avenue waterfront located under and adjacent to the Roosevelt Avenue Bridge. These efforts will create easier access to the Flushing River waterfront for pedestrians and cyclists.
The revitalization of the waterfront is part of Downtown Flushing Waterfront Access Plan adopted by the New York City Council in 1998. The plan requires that new commercial and mixed-use development on seven parcels along the Flushing River provide walkways along the shores, upland connections and visual corridors in locations indicated by the plan.
"By freeing up some more of the sidewalks and giving people easier access to the water on Flushing River, we hope to draw more people to come to downtown Flushing for a variety of reasons," said Liu.