The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) today announced that it will move forward with an updated safety improvement project on 111th Street and Corona Avenue adjacent to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens. This updated proposal includes an improved roadway design with a two-way parking protected bike lane; an additional 25 new on-street vehicular parking spaces; and 14 median tip extensions that will shorten crossing distances for pedestrians, and a reduction of one travel lane in each direction to reduce speeding.
These proposed safety improvements will enhance access to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park for all road users, reduce pedestrian crossing distance by 50 percent, calm traffic, and transform 111th Street into a gateway to the park.
“As part of our commitment to the Mayor’s Vision Zero initiative, we are bringing a record amount of protected bike lanes to the streets of Queens – and to all of New York City,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “We look forward to improving 111th Street for the thousands of pedestrians and cyclists who want to safely access and enjoy the jewel that is Flushing Meadows-Corona Park – and we thank all of our partners who worked with us over the past years.”
DOT identified 111th Street in Corona, Queens as a Vision Zero Priority Corridor. Between 2010 and 2014, there were 23 pedestrian injuries, 24 bicycle injuries and 92 motor vehicle injuries on 111th Street between 43rd Avenue and Corona Avenue.
The updated proposal comes following an intense community engagement process, which included a series of community workshops focused on transportation issues in Corona. There, DOT presented a proposal for the 111th Street corridor in March 2015 and has been working with the local stakeholders including the Queens Museum, Make the Road New York, Transportation Alternatives, Immigrant Movement International, The Partnership for a Healthier New York City, Make Queens Safer, Queens Bike Initiative, and Mujeres en Movimiento and Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland and Assembly Member Francisco Moya to refine the design and assess traffic impacts.
“For too long, 111th Street has been a dangerous barrier for families visiting Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Our community deserves safe streets and easy access to their local park. I have rallied with local mothers, heard the concerns of residents, and put our capital money where it matters to fund this project. I'm pleased that the Mayor has heard our voices and will bring Vision Zero to Corona,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland. “This phase of safety improvements will make one of New York City’s largest parks more welcoming to pedestrians, cyclist and drivers, all while adding 25 parking spaces. I look forward to working with DOT and the community to continue to improve safety in the future.”
“Ultimately the safety of our constituents is our number one priority and I'm pleased to see DOT engage residents, advocates and our local elected officials on this proposal to bring much needed improvements to 111th Street,” said Congressman Joe Crowley. “There is no doubt this plan will help save lives while making Flushing Meadows Corona Park more accessible and welcoming for the communities that surround it. I thank everyone involved in reaching this agreement and I look forward to seeing the plan move forward.”
“After almost two years of advocating for a compromise plan to take into account the concerns of residents on 111th Street as well as the need to improve pedestrian safety, I am happy to have worked with the Mayor's office and DOT to reach this new proposed design. We have not only made our street safer, but we added over 25 new parking spots for residents. As a lifelong resident of Corona, I look forward to watching the plan move through the community board process and feel confident that in the end we will have achieved greater safety in a way that our entire community can appreciate,” said Assembly Member Francisco Moya.
“By responding to strong community demand for a protected bike lane and pedestrian safety improvements on 111th Street, the City is taking an important step toward fulfilling the promise of Vision Zero,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. "This redesign will make one of the most hazardous corridors in Queens safer for the families who use it to get to and from work, school and Flushing Meadows Corona Park.”
“Thousands of Make the Road New York members like me use Flushing Meadows Corona Park every day. We need to enter and exit safely, and right now 111th St stands in our way, said Leticia Pazmino, Queens resident and Make the Road New York member. “That is why I support this agreement, which will make it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to get into the park. It will even add parking spaces. I hope that we will be able to move forward quickly to make these changes a reality.”
“With this street safety plan, we have taken a step forward. The addition of a protected bicycle lane and pedestrian islands to 111th street will transform a street that for too long has created a barrier to Flushing Meadows Corona Park. These changes are about our children having a better future and about us, as women and as mothers, having the right to feel protected as we move through our streets and into our park. As a group of over 150 immigrants Latina women in Corona that have been at the fore of this movement, we feel that our voices have counted in this process. This was more than a safety campaign for us, this was a political education about being at the table for the changes that are possible in our communities. And it was a victory: these streets also belong to us,” said Veronica Ramírez and Valeria Librada, Mujeres en Movimiento Collective.
“We're happy to see that this plan has been worked out, and that it will bring about a reduction in speeding and reckless driving on that stretch of 111th Street,” said Cristina Furlong of Make Queens Safer. “By shortening the crossing distance through wider medians and bike lanes, the Corona community is seeing some progress in advancements for walkers, cyclists and mass transit users. We commend Council Member Ferreras and others who have never given up on a safer 111th.”
The proposal includes a modified parking plan on Corona Avenue between 111th Street and Horace Harding Parkway that maintains loading access to the Playground for All Children and further increases the number of parking spaces gained as a result of the project.
DOT will also make signal timing enhancements at 111th Street and 43rd Avenue to ease congestion. In addition, two southbound travel lanes will be maintained to allow drivers pulling into driveways and turning vehicles to move out of the way of through traffic.
Median tip extensions and improved parking regulations at 47th Avenue, 49th Avenue, 54th Avenue, and 55th Avenue will reduce the pedestrian crossing distance in half and improve pedestrian access and visibility.
DOT plans to go back to the Community Board with this agreed upon proposal shortly.