Bus countdown clocks, tech upgrades and street trees coming to Astoria with extra budget funds

Photo by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

Astoria voted for additional street trees, bus countdown clocks, technology upgrades at District 22 libraries and more in this year’s participatory budgeting vote.

Councilman Costa Constantinides allocated $1 million to six projects that were voted on by the community. According to the councilman, 3,617 residents participated in the vote to choose from 19 projects.

The most popular project was new tree plantings with 1,471 people casting their ballot and the councilman will allocate $36,000 toward the effort. The Parks Department will choose the final locations of the trees and street guards.

A total of 1,206 people voted for bus countdown clocks in the district, so $250,000 will fund 10 countdown clocks that will provide real-time travel information to riders. The Department of Transportation will choose the locations.

The Queens Library will get an accessible entrance for $250,000, which includes automatic sliding doors, improvements to the driveway and removing steps to benefit seniors and people with disabilities if needed.

The computers in District 22 libraries will all be upgraded thanks to $125,000 and 1,044 votes, and the Queens Library at Steinway will receive solar panels, lowering electricity costs by up to 60 percent.

The Young Women’s Leadership School, located at 23-15 Newtown Ave., will receive a $60,000 STEM lab to add more laptops and 3-D printers at the school.

Finally, Constantinides will also allocate $500,000 from his regular discretionary capital budget to install lighting at NYCHA Astoria houses. The project received 897 votes.

“I am proud that we’ve had such enthusiasm for Participatory Budgeting once again this year,” he said in a statement. “Seeing our vote total more than double from last year shows that neighborhood residents care about our public and community spaces.”

The city budget will be passed in June and the projects will be officially funded at that time. Then city agencies will ask for community input to put together designs and go through planning stages.