After a long wait, new parks and increased access to the Jamaica train hub from the Van Wyck Expressway are set to arrive soon in Jamaica.
The Atlantic Avenue Extension project is set to break ground this summer and will create three new park areas (Gateway Park) totaling 0.86 acres, according to the city Economic Development Corporation (EDC), the agency in charge of the project. Work is estimated to cost about $21 million, all of which has already been fully funded.
“Station Plaza will create new public plazas, improve pedestrian subway and bus access, and decrease roadway congestion adjacent to the LIRR Jamaica Station/AirTrain Station,” according to the EDC’s website.
The extension will connect Atlantic Avenue to 95th Avenue near the Van Wyck Expressway, changing the now-two-way street to a northeast-bound one-way street. It will also do the same for 94th Avenue, which will now solely be southwest-bound. The parks are being built because of the extra space that this construction will create.
The extension, which will cut through both avenues in a roundabout fashion, is designed to create an east-west street network that serves downtown Jamaica and to alleviate the traffic congestion that regularly occurs as drivers try to make their way to and from the Van Wyck and Jamaica LIRR station.
It will also cut off access directly from Van Wyck Boulevard to 95th Avenue, which is currently possible, by using trees as barriers at the current intersection. Once construction is finished, drivers will need to travel on Van Wyck Boulevard to Atlantic Avenue and then turn on the new street path to get to 95th Avenue.
The project was planned to begin in 2012 but acquisition of the property by the city took longer than planned, according to the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation.