Jamaica Neighborhood Plan a vision for streetscape improvements

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New York Construction Report staff writer

A community-led planning process was launched June 1 to create new housing and deliver streetscape improvements in Jamaica, Queens.

Also, DOT’s “Jamaica NOW: Urban Design Strategy and Streetscape Plan” outlines a vision for streetscape improvements that would make neighborhood streets safer, upgrade public spaces and infrastructure.

Nearly $70 million has already been allocated for two capital projects: $62.5 million from the city for the reconstruction of Jamaica Avenue from Sutphin Boulevard to Merrick Boulevard in Mayor Adams’ Working People’s Agenda and an additional $6 million, including $2.5 million from the New York State Downtown Revitalization Initiative, to build a permanent pedestrian gateway on Parsons Boulevard between Jamaica Avenue and Archer Avenue.

“Our administration and our elected and community partners are going to create family-sustaining jobs, affordable homes, and vibrant public spaces — and we are getting to work right away,” said Mayor Eric Adams. “Jamaica is a major jobs and transportation hub for Queens and the entire city, but it has been overlooked for too long. We have been undertaking projects like this across the five boroughs, and this comprehensive plan for Jamaica will help deliver a fairer, more prosperous city.”

In partnership with Borough President Richards and Councilmember Williams, DCP will conduct extensive community outreach — including with multiple public workshops and open houses later this year — alongside a steering committee with community, business, and faith leaders who will meet regularly. Engagement will continue with an open house at the end of the summer and public workshops in the fall.

The study will focus on a more-than-300-block area that includes Downtown Jamaica, adjacent transportation corridors, and nearby manufacturing districts. The area includes institutions and community assets like York College, Rufus King Park, and the Jamaica Rail Hub, which provides transit access to the rest of New York City and east to Long Island via the subway, Long Island Rail Road, and AirTrain. The study area also covers key pedestrian and commercial corridors, including Jamaica Avenue, Merrick Boulevard, Hillside Avenue, and Liberty Avenue.

“Jamaica is blessed with an incredible community, rich culture and local institutions, and world-class transit access. This plan will lean into Jamaica’s strengths with not only land use changes, but also investments in affordable housing, infrastructure, and the public realm,” said DCP Director and CPC Chair Garodnick. “We are determined to support an even stronger and more vibrant mixed-use neighborhood.”

Emerging from the “Jamaica Now Neighborhood Action Plan,” the Jamaica NOW streetscape plan offers design strategies and identifies five focus areas for capital projects to create a people-centered district with safer, pedestrian-focused streets that complement the recently installed busways along Jamaica Avenue and Archer Avenue as well as the neighborhood’s bustling commercial corridor.

The plan’s boundaries extend north-south from Jamaica Avenue to Archer Avenue and east-west from Merrick Boulevard to Sutphin Boulevard. Projects will include widening sidewalks and providing additional seating, trees, and other streetscape and open space amenities to encourage pedestrians, including better lighting, pop-up programming, and concessions.

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