After Jamaica Avenue repaving.
BY TRONE DOWD
Residents driving on the bumpy roads of Jamaica Avenue will no longer need to avoid the crowded roadway as the city’s Department of Transportation has completed work repaving the 2.2 miles worth of road between Francis Lewis Boulevard and 168th Street.
Southeast Queens elected officials met in front of PS 268 in Jamaica on Friday to celebrate the completion of the final phase of the project, which removes the potholes and hazards that have long plagued Jamaica Avenue. The city’s Department of Design and Construction and DOT began capital work on the project last fall. The project’s final phase began in July.
The repaving of Jamaica Avenue not only makes the streets a smoother ride for drivers, but it has also made its walkways Vision Zero compliant. Nearly 100 corners of pedestrian ramps were repaired, more than 19,000 square feet of sidewalk and more than 1,200 feet of curb was replaced and more than 11 concrete medians were installed near schools and other neighborhood institutions to make the streets safer to cross.
“This resurfacing makes Jamaica Avenue safer and work better for the people who live here and travel through it to do business,” DOT Queens Commissioner Nicole Garcia said.
Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) said that the completion of the project was the culmination of two decades of advocacy on the issue. Standing alongside two of his predecessors, state Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) and former Councilman Archie Spigner, Miller recalled his days working with the MTA, driving along Jamaica Avenue and the affect that the raggedy streets had on his body.
“This disk in my back is a daily reminder of my days as a bus operator and the many miles that I logged driving up and down these roads daily,” he said.
Miller isn’t the only local leader dealing with the long-term effects of the once uneven and, at times, dangerous roads. Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman (D-Springfield Gardens) said that drivers have long opted out of driving on the main road to avoid potential vehicle damage. Residents who live on these alternative roads parallel to Jamaica Avenue have long had to put up with noise traffic as a result. Hyndman said that she hopes the repaving will alleviate the issue and make this practice a thing of the past.
“Jamaica Avenue serves as a vital artery in our transportation infrastructure, impacting motorists, pedestrians and small businesses,” Hyndman said. “This roadwork is critical for our community.”
Yvonne Reddick, the district manager of Community Board 12, said that she had been “waiting for an answer to numerous requests for Jamaica Avenue to be resurfaced for many years.” She added that fixing the damaged roadway along Jamaica Avenue had long been a top issue for the neighborhood, becoming a key topic of discussion in the 2015 race for City Council District 23.
Community Boards 12 and 13 worked in conjunction with the DOT to ensure that the issue was addressed.