Last Thursday, elected and city officials celebrated the completed road resurfacing of a 1.75-mile stretch of 21st Street from Broadway to 47th Avenue. The project encompassed eight lane miles, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT).
“This can be a very dangerous roadway,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “Making sure this road is kept in good condition, that it’s safe for everyone, is incredibly important.”
The street serves as an entranceway for residential buildings, the Queensbridge and Ravenswood public housing developments, Long Island City High School and several senior and youth centers.
“Sometimes this road functions more like a highway than a street,” said Councilman Costa Constantinides.
Residents often complained about potholes and other bad street conditions. Constantinides said trucks would often create a lot of noise driving on the blighted roadway, which irritated local residents.
Queens DOT Commissioner Nicole Garcia said the milling and repaving project began in April. It was completed in early May, and markings will be installed by the end of the month.
“This type of continued investment in our city’s infrastructure means our roadways are in a state of good repair and able to go the distance for New Yorkers, with fewer potholes,” Garcia said.
“They can stand up to the routine wear and tear and weather that our city tends to see.”
In 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio committed $1.6 billion to resurfacing roads citywide over the next decade. In the next two fiscal years, DOT will improve nearly 1,300 lane miles. Garcia added that in Queens alone, since February, the agency has repaved 70 lane miles.
The road resurfacing adds to a slew of other safety improvements along the western Queens corridor. DOT also installed ten Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs) at busy intersections to give pedestrians a head start crossing the street, 12 painted curb extensions to shorten crossing distances, and upgraded signal lights to LED.
“That’s all to make sure this street is safe, rideable and improving the quality of life for residents,” Garcia said.
Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Feniosky Pena-Mora added that DDC crews did all the work at night.
“We did all the work at night in order to reduce the burden on the people living here,” he said. “New York City is a city that never sleeps, so you really have to work the construction in such a way that minimizes the disruption to everybody.”
The next step is to enhance nearly 70 pedestrian ramps and improve curbs and sidewalks to meet ADA requirements along 21st Street, Pena-Mora said.
Nearby residents also applauded the project as a big improvement. Many have already noticed a big difference, including Carol Wilkins, president of the Ravenswood Tenants Association.
“It’s like driving on butter,” Wilkins said.