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The Division of Transportation, underneath fireplace to make the open avenue on thirty fourth Avenue in Jackson Heights and Corona right into a everlasting car-free amenity for a neighborhood with little or no inexperienced area, will lay out a “long-term” plan subsequent week for the roadway’s “transformation,” Streetsblog has realized.
The DOT dedication got here at some point after Transportation Options despatched out a mass e-mail to advertise Saturday’s rally to demand everlasting car-free area, an e-mail that claimed that “town has NO PLANS to permit the thirty fourth Avenue open avenue open previous Oct. 31.”
“Opposite to what TA is asserting, DOT had been doing detailed planning for thirty fourth Avenue even earlier than the COVID pandemic, together with upgrades to the present bike lanes and new designs to enhance pedestrian security on this distinctive avenue,” company spokesman Brian Zumhagen informed Streetsblog.
“The thirty fourth Avenue open avenue won’t finish on Oct. 31,” he continued. “We’re thrilled on the reception that it has obtained these previous few months, and we look ahead to working carefully with neighborhood teams, elected officers, native faculties and advocates on one of the best plan for the road’s long-term transformation.”
Zumhagen confirmed what Streetsblog sources had already revealed: that DOT will current some form of plan to a Neighborhood Board 3 committee on Wednesday, Oct. 28.
“Our consultants look ahead to persevering with a sturdy, detailed and inclusive dialogue amongst stakeholders at Neighborhood Board 3’s Transportation Committee assembly subsequent week,” he stated.
Although imprecise and missing in key particulars, Zumhagen’s e-mail makes information in a number of methods. For months, residents of Jackson Heights — and their elected representatives, Council Member Danny Dromm and State Senator Jessica Ramos — have been demanding a commitment to not solely retain the open avenue after Oct. 31 (when town program apparently ends) however to make this explicit open avenue, extensively considered one of the best within the metropolis, everlasting. Zumhagen’s e-mail confirms that there will probably be a “long-term transformation” of thirty fourth Avenue, which runs between Broadway and Junction Boulevard — via neighborhoods that have been hit arduous by COVID-19 and have been, actually, a part of the explanation for the open streets program, which was created to provide pandemic stricken New Yorkers extra space to recreate in a socially distant method.
Tons of of brief stretches of open streets have been created in all 5 boroughs, however none grew to become as beloved as thirty fourth Avenue, due to a mixture of dedicated volunteers, high-density residential buildings lining the roadway, a shocking paucity of park area within the neighborhood, and huge numbers of individuals utilizing the properly shaded, well-programmed area (Zumba, anybody?).
Zumba Wednesdays on thirty fourth Avenue was successful! I used to be a beat or extra behind – but it surely was enjoyable. Some day I’ll get the hold of it.#OpenStreets #34AveOpenStreets #JacksonHeights pic.twitter.com/JBRV999nVb
— JimRockaway (@JimRockaway) July 8, 2020
The Oct. 28 CB3 committee assembly will come at some point after DOT officers may have a super-secret assembly with Dromm and Ramos, the place Ramos will clearly push DOT for permanence:
“If thirty fourth Avenue doesn’t turn into a everlasting open avenue, I’m fairly positive there will probably be a riot,” Ramos informed Streetsblog on Wednesday, solely half-kidding.
And the committee assembly will come 4 days after Saturday’s neighborhood-wide rally to demand permanence for thirty fourth Avenue — a trigger that has already generated greater than 1,500 signatures on a Transportation Alternatives petition.
Magical day of cross-pollenation of #OpenStreets concepts ?????
— Sophie M. (@madamwestbikes) September 26, 2020
If the DOT is actually dedicated to a “transformation” of thirty fourth Avenue in Jackson Heights, the company higher anticipate many different neighborhoods demanding their very own car-free areas. On Avenue B on the Decrease East Aspect, for instance, organizers of the open avenue are additionally demanding permanence.
“At our open streets bike trip with the North Brooklyn Open Streets Neighborhood Coalition earlier this month, [Brooklyn] Council Member Antonio Reynoso and workers from Council Member Carlina Rivera’s workplace expressed their help,” stated Sophie Maerowitz, the co-founder of a bunch of volunteers that took over the open streets project from the Ninth Precinct. “It’s essential that town decide to open streets permanence.”
The Higher West Aspect may even need extra car-free area. Some are speaking about making everlasting the West Finish Avenue recreation area, but it surely appears unlikely that town would take away a key auto route from the grid. As a substitute, Lisa Orman of StreetopiaUWS is pushing for the lower-hanging fruit.
“I’d additionally wish to see efficient open streets on aspect streets, which may act as bike boulevards and join folks to our two parks and to our present north/south protected bike lane infrastructure, whereas nonetheless offering area for teenagers to be out taking part in and biking,” she stated. “This mannequin would begin to create extra of a neighborhood entry solely really feel on the UWS in an try to maneuver in direction of a superblock concept.”
Rally and March for thirty fourth Avenue Open Streets, Saturday, Oct. 24, 10:30 a.m., thirty fourth Avenue at Junction Boulevard in Corona; Neighborhood Board 3 Visitors and Transportation Committee, Wednesday, Oct. 28. That exact neighborhood board is poor at posting info on its web site, so examine again incessantly by clicking here.