By Carlotta Mohamed
Things are about to get a lot brighter along Jamaica Avenue.
City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) was joined last Friday by the city Department of Transportation and community leaders to announce the installation of new pedestrian lighting along the thoroughfare in Woodhaven.
As part of the first phase of the project, the new LED World’s Fair pedestrian lights are now complete at nearly a dozen locations between 91st Street and Woodhaven Boulevard, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said at the Oct. 12 press conference outside of Avenue Diner, located at 91-06 Jamaica Ave.
“Around the city, we have heard from small businesses and New Yorkers near elevated trains, and (they) feel safer and more secure when streets and sidewalks down below are more brightly lit,” said Trottenberg. “This new lighting will not only improve quality of life for commuters and shoppers along Jamaica Avenue, these new energy-efficient LED treatments provide a sustainably lit and safer retail and community environment.”
The poles for the newly installed World’s Fair pedestrian lights were first introduced in the borough in 1964 during the World’s Fair, held in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Lighting under elevated tracks is uniquely challenging because the support columns create shadows and the elevated structure limits the height of the streetlight poles. Both of these conditions make it a challenge to light both the sidewalks and the street, said Ulrich.
“The newly-installed World’s Fair pedestrian lights will not only make our streets safer, they will also add a unique aesthetic vibe to one of the busiest commercial corridors in Queens — all at a minimal impact to our environment,” said Ulrich.
The $1.4 million project was funded in capital contributions from Ulrich and Borough President Melinda Katz for the DOT to install the new poles with LED luminaries to provide better lighting for both the street and sidewalk.
According to the DOT, the implementation of LED lighting along the corridor will continue in phases throughout the fall.
The lights are meant to enhance visibility, boost the look of the streetscape, save energy costs and help the city reduce its overall carbon footprint by more than 30 percent by the year 2030.
While the DOT is installing new lights from Forest Parkway to 109th Street, it will continue to work with elected officials to expand the distinctive lighting to other parts of the corridor.
“It is a special treat to bring elements of the 1964 World’s Fair — a part of Queens’ rich history — to the streets of Woodhaven,” said Katz. “Thanks to the partnership with DOT and Councilmember Ulrich, the new sustainable lighting along Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven will enhance the streetscape for residents, businesses and visitors alike.”
Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmoha