Downtown Jamaica plaza not approved by DOT

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The city Department of Transportation rejected the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District’s proposal for an outdoor pedestrian plaza by Parsons Boulevard between Jamaica and Archer avenues, the BID said.

The proposed plaza, which included bistro-style chairs and tables alongside planters, was planned for mid-summer.

“The plaza was not approved by the DOT, but there may be a street redesign in the works,” said Rhonda Binda, executive director of Jamaica BID. She said to stay tuned for some new, fresher ideas for the street redesign.

The plaza proposal requires the approval of both the local community board as well as the DOT.

It was executed under the BID’s former director, Felicia Tunnah, who resigned from the position last year.

The DOT began the Plaza Program initiative in 2008 under the Bloomberg administration. The agency works with selected not-for-profit organizations to create neighborhood plazas throughout the city, according to the DOT website.

The DOT funds the design and construction of the plaza, but responsibilities of the nonprofits can include outreach, design, funding plan, insurance, maintenance, programming and events.

Plaza proposals evaluations must take into account surrounding land uses and businesses, proximity to transit, and pedestrian activity. Sites smaller than 2,000 square feet are not likely to get the green light.

The DOT also conducts an analysis which includes traffic and pedestrian counts; crash data; parking impacts; nearby bicycle, bus, or truck route impacts; surrounding land uses and access to transit and open space. In some cases, a full traffic study may be required, according to the city agency.

Any or all revenue obtained through the use of the plaza space must go back into the maintenance, management, and operation of the plazas, according to DOT.

At this point there is only one Queens pedestrian plaza in Jackson Heights on 37th Road between 74th Street and Broadway.

Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at or by phone at (718) 260–4546.

Updated 12:32 am, July 10, 2018
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