The federal funds, to be appropriated in the next few weeks under a $300 billion six-year transportation bill, will be used to create a median between approximately 132nd Street and the Whitestone Expressway.
The tree-lined median, which will include lighting and street furniture, will give the thoroughfare a "much more beautiful and kind" appearance, Crowley said.
The roadway features a median partially painted with white stripes and finished with concrete barriers and yellow water tanks.
"They just don't cut it," Crowley said of the current streetscape elements.
Work should begin in a few months using $700,000 in federal money and $175,000 in city funds, Crowley said. He said the federal transportation bill would create nearly 61,000 jobs in New York state.
The 20th Avenue median will not change the layout of the lanes, which service College Point's big-box shopping complex, he said.
"We don't want them stopping just here," said Community Board 7 Chairman Eugene Kelty, touting College Point's other mom-and-pop stores that can be reached farther along 20th Avenue.
Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing), chairman of the City Council's Transportation Committee, said the center median on 20th Avenue would increase safety by preventing illegal U-turns.
"The trees and the shrubbery, it's just going to make a big difference," said Borough President Helen Marshall, who joined the other elected officials and College Point Board of Trade President Fred Mazzarello.
Liu said the city Department of Transportation's controversial plan to widen 20th Avenue by using some land that homeowners believed was theirs had been greatly scaled down and pushed back at least two years.
Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at news@times
©2004 Community News Group
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