BY TRONE DOWD
Residents driving on the bumpy Jamaica Avenue will no longer need to avoid the crowded road as the city Department of Transportation has officially completed work repaving the 2.2 miles worth of roadway between Francis Lewis Boulevard and 168th Street.
Southeast Queens elected officials met in front of PS 268 in Jamaica on Friday morning to celebrate the completion of the final phase in the project, which removed the potholes and hazards that plague Jamaica Avenue. The city’s Department of Design and Construction and the 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 experience for driving, but it also makes its walkways completely Vision Zero compliant. Nearly 100 corner pedestrian ramps were repaired, more than 19,000 square feet of sidewalk and more than 1,200 feet of curbs were replaced and 11 concrete medians were installed near schools and other neighborhood institutions to make the street 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 one to have to deal with the long-term effects of the once uneven and, at times, dangerous road. Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman (D-Springfield Gardens) said that drivers would often opt out of driving on the main road to avoid potential vehicle damage. Residents who live on alternative roads parallel to Jamaica Avenue have to put up with noisy traffic as a result. Hyndman said that she hopes the repaving will alleviate this issue and make the practice a thing of the past.