BY JAMES FARRELL
Parts of Flushing’s Main Street, in the southbound direction between 37th Avenue and 40th Road, are now restricted to buses and local deliveries, the Department of Transportation announced yesterday.
The limited access is necessary as the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) move to a new phase of their $7.8 million reconstruction of Main Street that began back in July. The change is effective as of March 7, and will remain in place “until further notice,” according to a DOT press release. Pedestrians will still have access.
The overall reconstruction project is expected to last until the summer, and will resurface the roadbed, increase the number of catch basins and replace manhole, fire hydrants, sewers and water mains. It will also widen sidewalks between 38th Avenue and 41st Road in order to alleviate pedestrian traffic in what many consider to be one of the most congested pedestrian corridors in New York City.
Up to this point, the project has installed 16 of 21 catch basins, placed temporary street lights and traffic signals at the site and finished about 60 percent of work on a combined sewer replacement, according to a spokeswoman from the DDC.
The limited access is a necessity to mitigate traffic effects related to the project, according to DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia.
“We appreciate the support and patience of the local community as this vital street reconstruction is underway,” Garcia said. “As a vibrant commercial corridor and key transit hub, the vast majority of people traveling along Main Street in this area are either walking or are taking transit. This limited-access street helps ensure that the Downtown Flushing core functions as well as possible for the most number of people during construction. By limiting traffic, we enhance safety for pedestrians through a work zone, keep bus service moving even during this construction, and enable businesses to get their deliveries.”
In addition to the limited access, the MTA will relocate bus stops within the construction zone in the last two weeks of March, Councilmember Peter Koo (D-Flushing) announced. Koo provided a visual aid detailing what those changes would look like.
“This week kicks off the beginning of the most difficult phase of the Main Street reconstruction and sidewalk widening, when southbound traffic will be restricted between 37th Avenue and 40th Road,” said Koo. “While construction is ongoing, I encourage the community use public transportation when possible and budget ample time for your commute. Restricting traffic on Main Street will cause some short-term pains during construction, but the long-term benefits will include the first large-scale infrastructure improvement to Main Street in decades.”
While this stretch of Main Street remains a limited access route, southbound vehicles will be expected to use alternative routes. DOT, DDC and the NYPD are working to install temporary electronic signs and traffic enforcement agents in the area to help drivers adjust to the change.
Reach James Farrell at (718) 357-7400 x 127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @farrellj329.