Eyes on the Street: Work Begins on Phase Two of Queens Boulevard Redesign

DOT has begun building out phase 2 of its safety improvements on Queens Boulevard, which include a protected bike lane. Photo: Jaime Moncayo
Crews are marking out where the medians will be expanded for walking and biking in the second phase of the Queens Boulevard redesign. This is the view from Ireland Street looking west. Photo: Jaime Moncayo

On Monday, crews began work on the second phase of Queens Boulevard safety improvements. The project will calm traffic on the service roads between 74th Street and Eliot Avenue, adding a bike lane and continuous pedestrian path along the medians. Together with the first phase of the redesign, implemented last year, the changes will create 2.5 miles of median bike lanes on Queens Boulevard in Woodside and Elmhurst.

To make way for the added space for walking and biking, the city has removed parking along the medians, and crews have started to remove markings between 74th Street and Broadway/Grand Avenue, according to a DOT spokesperson.

Phase two will redesign the Queens Boulevard service roads in Elmhurst. Image: NYC DOT

The high rate of traffic fatalities on Queens Boulevard led the Daily News to call it the “Boulevard of Death” in a series of stories that ran nearly 20 years ago. The name stuck, and for good reason. But 2015 marked the first year in a quarter-century that no people were killed on Queens Boulevard.

The 1.2 miles in phase two may be the most dangerous stretch of all. From 2010 to 2014, 133 pedestrians and 20 cyclists were injured in the project area, and 54 percent of those pedestrian victims were crossing the street with the signal, according to DOT.

In May, Mayor de Blasio instructed DOT to proceed with the project despite the lack of support from the local community board.

DOT has began removing street markings on the blocks where it will soon install a protected bike lane and pedestrian path. Photo: Jessame Hannus
DOT is removing street markings on the blocks slated for a median bike lane and pedestrian path. Photo: Jessame Hannus

DOT implemented the first phase of the redesign between Roosevelt Avenue and 73rd Street last summer. Construction on phase two will finish up in the fall, DOT said. A third phase extending to Forest Hills and Rego Park is expected next year. The 2016 phase stretches from 74th Street to Eliot Avenue [PDF].

Keep us posted as the redesign takes shape — send your photos to tips@streetsblog.org.