Queens’ highways, streets in bad shape: Study

Workers block off the center lanes on Northern Boulevard to perform electrical work in anticipation of Northern Boulevard's road resurfacing. Northern Boulevard was among five Queens highways said to be poorly maintained. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Some of New York City’s worst-maintained infrastructure is in Queens, including highways, bridges, water quality standards and public housing, according to a report by an urban think tank and planning agency.

The report by the Center for an Urban Future said Queens is home to five of the nine worst-maintained highways in New York City. It said 9 percent of the borough’s bridges were structurally deficient and the public housing is in the worst physical condition of those in any other borough.

Nine highways across the city had an inferior rating in 2012 and five of them are in Queens, including the Jackie Robinson Parkway, the Shorefront Parkway, the Cross Bay Parkway, Queens Boulevard and the Hempstead Turnpike.

The report said highway conditions in Queens have deteriorated in recent years. In 2012, 52 percent of Queens highways were rated fair or poor, up from 38 percent in 2008.

Other problems listed by the report:

• A total of 29.7 percent of streets in Queens were in fair or poor condition. This is worse than Brooklyn, where 27.2 percent of streets were in fair or poor condition, but better than Manhattan (42.7 percent), Staten Island (40.1 percent) and the Bronx (34 percent).

• New York City Housing Authority developments in Queens have the most deteriorated building facades and roofs, according to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development inspections. The average building exterior or “envelope” in Queens scored 69 compared to 78 in Staten Island and Brooklyn, 79 in Manhattan and 81 in the Bronx.

• Two NYCHA developments with the greatest facade capital needs are in Queens: Pomonok has $124.4 million in capital needs and Ravenswood has $108.5 million in capital needs. Overall, four NYCHA complexes in Queens are among the 11 NYCHA developments that need more than $70 million in facade repairs through 2016. The other two are Queensbridge South and North.

The report said many of the oldest waste water treatment plants are in eastern Queens, including Jamaica (built in 1943) and Bowery Bay near Flushing (built in 1939).

Only 17 percent of repair funds for Queens schools has been pledged in the four-year Capital Commitment Plan, the lowest of any borough.

Queens also has the most sewage outflows into New York Harbor with 21 compared to Bronx (17), Manhattan (15), Brooklyn (16) and Staten Island (2).

Neither Alley Creek nor Flushing Bay complies with the water quality mandated by the federal Clean Water Act.

Finally, 67,000 Queens residents have no access to broadband service.

Looking at New York City in general, more than 1,000 miles of water mains are more than 100 years old, resulting in frequent breaks. There were 403 water main breaks last year. Gas mains are 56 years old on average.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at or phone at 718-260-4536.

Posted 12:00 am, March 24, 2014
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Reader feedback

gh from queens says:
They're just noticing this now?
March 24, 2014, 4:49 am
Joe Moretti from Jamaica says:
Really, you are just getting the memo on this. Tell us something we do not already know.

Queens infrastructure is the worst and Queens elected officials are the worst and also many are corrupt, especially in Jamaica.

So I think the two subjects go hand in hand.

Since we know this and have known this for years and years, tell us something we don't know, like how you plan to fix this, what is your action plan, your time line, etc.
March 24, 2014, 5:37 am
Red the garbage man from Whitestone says:
New York sucks! I love the south. Nice smooth roads without all the litter!
March 24, 2014, 2:14 pm
gossamar from downtown flushing says:
Roosevelt Ave road from College Point Blvd to Bowne Street has not been repaved.

It looks like work was started, then stopped. The asphalt finish has not been done. There are other roadways and sidewalks that are gutted and uneven. 39th Ave, 38th Ave
and 37th Ave, to name a few.

Also, Sanford Ave from Main Street to Kissena Blvd. sidewalks are cracked open wide. Trees uprooting the sidewalk at the curb.

This is a hazard to children, the elderly and people with disabilities. Its the route children and parents take to get to 2 schools on Sanford Ave. Plus there are many doctor's offices in the area.

I call 311 to report potholes after big snowstorms.
I'm asked how wide and how deep it is! Like I'm there with my measuring tape.
March 27, 2014, 11:14 am
Terence Dickboob from Northern Blvd says:
Now they are realizing the Ghetto that is infestating Queens little by little. If you are going to live in Queens is because you are living in poverty or you just cant make up youre mind on where to live. People are bragging about how the streets arent "well paved" when crime is as bad or worst than the late 80s crack epidemic.

I am upset when people get robbed in Manhattan for a cellphone and it comes up in the media ,but people get killed, kidnapped and stabbed daily all over Queens and it NEVER comes up in the news.

I could Never rely on the media for whats really happening since maybe
LaGuardia airport doesnt want to SCARE any turists in other words MONEY!
Sept. 20, 2014, 9:48 pm
Jamie from Queens says:
Crime keeps rising along Northern blvd along with the homicide rate increasing 25% more each year. I literally hear gunshots everywhere anytime. Economically am living in poverty and its a nightmare just looking at the blood stains in the streets.
March 4, 2015, 8:43 pm

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