Woodhaven brightens up with new streetlamps along Jamaica Avenue shopping strip

Councilman Eric Ulrich and city Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg celebrate the new streetlamps on Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven.
Photos courtesy of the office of Councilman Eric Ulrich

Things are about to get much brighter along Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven.

Councilman Eric Ulrich was joined on Oct. 12 by the city Department of Transportation and community leaders to announce the installation of new pedestrian lighting along the thoroughfare between 91st Street and Woodhaven Boulevard.

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 on the strip, 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 are in the style of lampposts 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, according to 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,” he said.

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 Council member Ulrich, the new sustainable lighting along Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven will enhance the streetscape for residents, businesses and visitors alike.”

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