By Gina Martinez
Traffic in Downtown Flushing’s busiest street will be redirected to accommodate construction.
The $7.8 million project, announced by Department of Transportation in July, is Main Street’s first reconstruction in over 20 years.According to DOT, the reconstruction will include resurfacing and widening the sidewalks from 38th Avenue to 41st Avenue to reduce crowding and facilitate pedestrian movement. DOT will also be replacing manholes, fire hydrants, sewers, catch basins, and water mains.
The sidewalk widening aspect of the project is expected to begin later this month.
Main Street, between 37th Avenue and 40th Road in the southbound direction will be limited to buses and local deliveries to mitigate traffic effects related to the reconstruction project, DOT said.
The limited-access will be in effect 24 hours a day beginning March 7 and will remain in place until further notice.
City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) asked commuters to be patient during construction and use public transportation as much as possible.
“This week kicks off the beginning of the most difficult phase of the Main Street reconstruction and sidewalk widening when southbound traffic will be restricted between 37th Avenue and 40th Road,” Koo said. “While construction is ongoing, I encourage the community to use public transportation when possible and budget ample time for your commute. Restricting traffic on Main Street will cause some short-term pains during construction, but the long-term benefits will include the first large-scale infrastructure improvement to Main Street in decades.”
In the meantime DOT, the Department of Design and Construction and NYPD are teaming up and placing temporary electronic signs and traffic enforcement agents at key decision points on Main Street to assist motorists with the new changes. The 109th Precinct will focus on educational reinforcement until March 20 as motorists acclimate to the new traffic pattern, the DOT said. All other southbound vehicles are expected to use alternatives routes, and follow the regulations specified on the on-street signage.
“As a vibrant commercial corridor and key transit hub, the vast majority of people traveling along Main Street in this area are either walking or are taking transit,” DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia said. “This limited-access street helps ensure that the Downtown Flushing core functions as well as possible for the most number of people during construction. By limiting traffic, we enhance safety for pedestrians through a work zone, keep bus service moving even during this construction and enable businesses to get their deliveries.”
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart