The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and elected officials today announced the start of Access to Opportunity: Transportation and Housing Study in the Eastern Rockaways, a multi-year study to improve multimodal transportation access in the Eastern Rockaways, the area between the Cross Bay-Veterans Memorial Bridge and the Nassau County line in the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens.
Access to Opportunity: Transportation and Housing Study in the Eastern Rockaways will create proposals for short-term and long-term multimodal transportation improvements aligned with the City’s land-use investments in the area. The multi-year study will give particular emphasis to improving residents’ access to goods, activities, services, and destinations, which are collectively known as opportunities, in the form of roadway, transit, walking and cycling improvements and accessible land use recommendations.
The study is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio administration’s efforts to help the residents and businesses of the Rockaways rebuild stronger and more resiliently from Hurricane Sandy. It is also a collaborative effort between DOT and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and funded through a $1.5 million TIGER grant from the United States Department of Transportation.
“We are proud to have secured this TIGER grant funding in coordination with HPD to align transportation and land use investments in the Eastern Rockaways, and to better tie neighborhoods like Edgemere and Bayswater to job centers and services throughout the city,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “This joint effort will fund resilient infrastructure, improve connections between vibrant communities and help support local economies, all to create a stronger Rockaway peninsula moving forward.”
“Investing in roads, sidewalks, bike paths and access to our public transportation system is a critical part of the equation as we work to build and preserve affordable housing in New York’s neighborhoods,” said HPD Commissioner Vicki Been. “Without well-designed ways to get around, New Yorkers and whole communities are literally cut off from easy access to jobs, schools, shopping and other essentials. We are proud to participate with DOT in a study that will significantly improve transportation access as we continue to add to the significant affordability we already have in the Rockaways.”
“The Obama Administration was proud to fund this groundbreaking plan to better connect residents of the eastern Rockaway to jobs, education, and opportunity. New York City should be commended for putting together such a comprehensive and groundbreaking approach,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx. “The infrastructure needs of our nation are great and our TIGER program is an important tool to identify and lift up projects like these."
“This collaborative study has real potential to reshape transportation in the Rockaways by making the peninsula more accessible for drivers, mass transit commuters and bikers. We all know how important intermodal connectivity is – especially for a community like Rockaway that was hard-hit by Superstorm Sandy – and that’s why we need to develop better-connected transportation options for Rockaway residents. This study is a smart federal investment and I am pleased that both NYC DOT and HPD are moving full steam ahead on it,” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer.
“To combat income inequality we have to use every tool available to us, and that includes improving housing and transportation. Of course, we have to study these things. They affect so much of our daily lives. A person can’t find a job, if they don’t have a way to get to a job. Hopefully, the information that is collected and compiled from these studies, taking into account public input, will help facilitate some of the improvements this community so desperately needs,” said State Senator James Sanders Jr.
“Public transit access equals jobs for our community,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. “Our families in southern Queens and Rockaway have some of the longest commutes in the entire city. We spend more time on buses, trains and in traffic; and less time at work or at home with our families. The NYC Department of Transportation Access to Opportunity study will help shed light on this problem that we have lived with for years and hopefully lead to real changes to our transit network. I eagerly await the study’s results and pledge to continue fighting for equal access to transit for families throughout Queens.”
“The eastern side of the Rockaways has been starving for more reliable transportation options for decades, so it is wonderful to see a multi-agency approach aimed at improving access to jobs and resources,” said Council Member Donovan Richards. “Hurricane Sandy devastated the peninsula, but it also allowed the entire city to take notice of the lack of infrastructure that has plagued the area for far too long. I’d like to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, HPD Commissioner Vicki Been, the MTA and the U.S. Department of Transportation for collaborating on this incredibly important study that will ensure transportation improvements as well as accessible land use recommendations make their way to Eastern Rockaway. I look forward to working with all our partners on the federal, state and city levels as this process moves forward.”
The multi-year study will develop short-term improvements intended for implementation by DOT in-house teams, as well as long-term proposals and a conceptual plan for urban design and street connectivity in the Eastern Rockaways.
Public involvement will be incorporated into milestones throughout the course of the study, starting with issue identification this fall. DOT will convene meetings with elected officials, local businesses, community groups and other agencies at regular intervals to gather input and discuss findings over the course of the study.
DOT Ambassadors will conduct on-street outreach in the Eastern Rockaways this month, while an online feedback portal is already open for public comment at http://www.nycdotfeedbackportals.nyc/eastern-rockaway-access-study. As part of its collaboration with HPD, DOT will incorporate public input from HPD-led public planning processes for Edgemere and other future investments in the Eastern Rockaways.
The study will also include a technical analysis of the area’s demographics and existing transportation conditions. Extensive data collection and analysis will consider planned interagency resiliency initiatives and build upon already scheduled infrastructure improvements in the area, which was hard hit by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
The Access to Opportunity: Transportation and Housing Study in the Eastern Rockaways is part of DOT’s efforts to find long term, sustainable solutions to New York City’s transportation needs and improve accessibility and mobility across New York City.
For more information about the study please visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/about/easternrockaways.shtml
For more information about DOT’s transportation goals please visit www.nyc.gov/dot.