Downtown Jamaica now has more park space and greater access to the LIRR and AirTrain hub with the completion of the long-awaited Atlantic Avenue Extension project.
City officials and community leaders gathered in the newly created Gateway Park Tuesday, July 21, for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the latest step forward of the Jamaica NOW Action Plan.
“Today’s unveiling of the Atlantic Avenue extension and opening of the new Gateway Park marks an incredible milestone for the DowntownJamaica community and the city at large,” New York City Economic Development Corporation President and CEO James Patchett said. “For years, residents in this community have advocated for safer roadways and more open space and were thrilled to deliver on a promise that turns their vision into a reality. We want to thank Parks, DOT, our elected officials and the Jamaica NOW Leadership Council.for their collaboration in this effort, which is making this community stronger today and for years to come.”
The project’s design and construction were managed by NYCEDC and improves access by creating a gateway between the Van Wyck Expressway and the transit hub. It extended Atlantic Avenue one block south to 95th Avenue, created the new Gateway Park around the new roadway, and improved the streetscape on 94th and 95th avenues from the Van Wyck Expressway Service Road to Sutphin Boulevard.
“Thanks to several years of collaboration among several agencies and community groups, this multi-faceted project will give New Yorkers a smoother transition into the Downtown Jamaica core, creating a gateway to the neighborhood and simplifying traffic patterns with new one-way streets and bicycle facilities,” Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.
The nearly one-acre park boasts a new playground, additional open space and shaded seating.
“Transforming this underutilized site reflects our commitment to accessibility as we expand and enhance our green spaces,” NYC Parks Queens Borough Commissioner Michael Dockett said. “We look forward to maintaining this new parkland. The new Gateway Park brings much needed open space for recreation to the heart of Downtown Jamaica.”
The Jamaica planning initiative was conducted by the Mayor’s Office in partnership with the Queens borough president, to identify community priorities and create a coordinated and equitable economic development strategy in Jamaica.
“Downtown Jamaica experiences continued growth in the number of people coming to live, shop and do business,” Greater Jamaica Development Corporation President and CEO Hope Knight said. “The completion of the Atlantic Avenue Extension and Gateway Park provides a much-needed infrastructure enhancement to alleviate vehicle congestion getting in and out of our downtown core.”
Funding for the $19.8 million project includes $9.3 million in city capital funding, including $5.6 million in funding allocated for projects containing upgrades around city airports, $3 million for the Queens borough president’s office, and a $7.5 million in grant funding from the Federal Highway Administration.
“After a long wait, and bated breath, the Atlantic Avenue Extension project is now completed and will usher access to the LIRR Jamaica Station/AirTrain Station from the Van Wyck Expressway,” Jamaica NOW Leadership Council Co-Chair Tameka Pierre-Louis said. “The Jamaica NOW Leadership Council is proud to present three new parks leading to the beautiful open plaza at the Jamaica station for the residents of Queens and beyond.”