A Personal Perspective
BY MARCIA MOXAM COMRIE
Armed with examples from other booming areas, representatives from the city’s Department of Transportation were in Jamaica earlier this week quizzing residents and workers on how they would like to see downtown Jamaica’s streets improved.
They got an earful.
While standing with one interviewer, I could hear the discussions between another and his interviewees. Some were complaining about vans speeding through red lights and some about potholes following recent snow storms, while others fussed about traffic congestion “on the ave.”
But the choices being presented were enhanced streetscapes with more shrubs and trees, curved corner medians as exemplified at Parsons and Jamaica Avenues, tables and chairs as seen at 42nd Street, bus-only streets as an option to minimize congestion, potted plant barriers— such as those along the curb of Parsons Boulevard between Archer and Jamaica Avenues— and more street lights.
The posters on display depict areas of Jamaica already improved, but the DOT is still giving residents and those who work in the area the opportunity to weigh in on further enhancements. The posters also included pictures of the commercial areas of Fulton Street in Brooklyn and the Fordham Road area of the Bronx as examples of what could be possible in Jamaica.
These are exciting times for Jamaica and it couldn’t happen to a more deserving place. For decades, we have struggled to get “our groove back” following the flight of businesses in the 1970s and 1980s and crime during the crack epidemic of the 1980s and early 1990s.
But we have been making steady strides toward revitalization and the reduction in petty crimes since the mid-1990s.
The turn of this new millennium has been good for Jamaica and we need enhanced street infrastructure to prove it. Jamaica is no one’s stepchild and should be treated as the vibrant, first class place it deserves to be.
We are building new hotels, apartment buildings, celebrating a college’s golden anniversary, providing art exhibits and performance space and so much more. It makes perfect sense that our roads and sidewalks reflect that we are indeed living in the 21st century.
There was never a better time to live, work, do business and get a college education in Jamaica than right now. We are on a roll and our improved traffic flow and street aesthetics will only add to the feeling that we are in the throes of a renaissance. We should look no less appealing than Fulton and Fordham. You go, Jamaica!