College Pt. Blvd. prepares for extreme makeover

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College Point Boulevard, a congested thoroughfare that has fallen into disrepair, is poised to get a major facelift that could make it the envy of Queens.

Getting to that point, however, may require some headaches, according to the Queens Department of Transportation commissioner.

As part of a deal brokered by the leadership of Community Board 7 late last month over the proposed College Point Police Academy, the city promised to fast-track more than $20 million in roadway improvements in the board’s district.

“With everything being cut citywide, here we have a situation where our budget is being restored completely,” said CB 7 Vice Chairman Chuck Apelian. “It’s really pretty terrific. Millions of dollars for projects the community wants. You don’t see that in other boards.”

The bulk of those improvements will take place along College Point Boulevard, where computerized signals will be implemented soon, while resurfacing and other fixes will take place in the coming year.

“We are starting to do signal computerization across the borough, but are going to be doing College Point first,” Queens DOT Commissioner Maura McCarthy said. “What that does is it allows us to change the signal timing by time of day. We hope to begin the work in the late fall.”

Next spring, the DOT will also resurface College Point Boulevard from Seventh to 25th avenues while the city Department of Design and Construction will replace all failed concrete slabs and, as needed, seal cracks in the remaining concrete slabs from Fowler to 32nd avenues and reconstruct 32nd Avenue from College Point Boulevard to Linden Place.

McCarthy said the resurfacing will be especially challenging, telling CB 7 “it will be a nightmare for businesses” because the area is a busy commercial strip abutted by a residential community.

“That might prevent us from working at night because it’s also a neighborho­od,” McCarthy said. “We’re not really clear how we do it. We’re going to be meeting with the community board, the College Point Board of Trade and the businesses to figure out what works best. But no matter what time of day we do it, it’s going to inconvenience somebody.”

Alberto Solarte, who owns a small convenience store in College Point, said he was glad to hear the fixes were being made, but he worried about how it would affect business.

“If they have to close it even for a little bit, it will be hard for us,” he said. “We need to get deliveries and that will make it very difficult.”

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at sstirling@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

Updated 6:34 pm, October 10, 2011
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