May 26, 2023
Community-Led Process Managed by DCP Offers Opportunities for New Jobs and Homes, Inclusive Growth
DOT’s Jamaica NOW Plan Lays Out Roadmap for Safer Streets With Vibrant Public Spaces
New Effort Builds on Mayor Adams’ Working People’s Agenda, Other Efforts to Create New Housing and Improve Quality of Life for New Yorkers Across All Five Boroughs
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams, New York City Department of City Planning (DCP) Director and City Planning Commission (CPC) Chair Dan Garodnick, and New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez today kicked off efforts for a community-led planning process to create new jobs and housing and deliver streetscape improvements in Jamaica, Queens. The announcement was made in partnership with New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, New York City Councilmember Nantasha Williams, and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards.
Overseen by the DCP, the community-driven “Jamaica Neighborhood Plan” study will explore opportunities to promote job growth in the neighborhood; create new housing, especially permanently affordable housing and housing produced in partnership with faith-based institutions; and enhance resiliency, including by addressing flooding. DOT’s “Jamaica NOW: Urban Design Strategy and Streetscape Plan” outlines a vision for streetscape improvements that would make neighborhood streets safer, upgrade public spaces for the community, and deliver much-needed infrastructure upgrades. Together, these new efforts build on existing Adams administration initiatives — including Mayor Adams’ “Working People’s Agenda” — to add new housing, create vibrant new public spaces, and improve quality of life for New Yorkers across the entire city.
“Our administration and our elected and community partners are going to create family-sustaining jobs, affordable homes, and vibrant public spaces — and we are getting to work right away,” said Mayor Adams. “Jamaica is a major jobs and transportation hub for Queens and the entire city, but it has been overlooked for too long. We have been undertaking projects like this across the five boroughs, and this comprehensive plan for Jamaica will help deliver a fairer, more prosperous city.”
Rendering of proposed upgrades to Parsons Boulevard. Credit: New York City Department of Transportation
“The Adams administration is laser-focused on bringing jobs, housing, and infrastructure improvements to neighborhoods across the city to ensure we achieve a five-borough economic recovery,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “I thank Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, Borough President Donovan Richards, and Councilmember Nantasha Williams for their commitment to their communities and partnership in bringing these critical opportunities to the people of Jamaica.”
“Jamaica is blessed with an incredible community, rich culture and local institutions, and world-class transit access. This plan will lean into Jamaica’s strengths with not only land use changes, but also investments in affordable housing, infrastructure, and the public realm,” said DCP Director and CPC Chair Garodnick. “We are determined to support an even stronger and more vibrant mixed-use neighborhood.”
“Our Jamaica NOW plan represents a comprehensive vision to help Downtown Jamaica thrive as a pedestrian-focused commercial and transit corridor,” said DOT Commissioner Rodriguez. “The busways on Jamaica and Archer Avenues have dramatically improved the lives of a quarter-million daily commuters along the corridors — and we look forward to complimenting these transformative upgrades with holistic public space improvements for transit users, shoppers, residents, and other visitors to the neighborhood, including the recently allocated $62 million to reimagine Jamaica Avenue into a robust streetscape and economic hub. Thank you, Mayor Adams, Commissioner Garodnick, and the elected officials, for their support and vision to ensure we are equitably investing in our neighborhoods across the five boroughs.”
“Our Jamaica is a thriving and vibrant community whose success is pivotal to the prosperity of Southeast Queens and to our entire city,” said City Council Speaker Adams. “As a former co-chair of the Jamaica NOW Leadership Council and a representative of Southeast Queens, I remain committed to Jamaica’s growth and transformation to a bustling community with opportunities to advance careers, build homes, and raise families. The Jamaica Neighborhood Plan continues a critical process to build on the progress we have made by facilitating the creation of more affordable housing, infrastructure and resiliency investments, and economic opportunities directly to Southeast Queens. I look forward to working with my colleagues in government, community leaders, and neighborhood institutions to develop a robust plan that will deliver the equitable investments that our community deserves.”
“Today is a great day,” said New York City Councilmember Nantasha Williams. “After calling on the city to initiate a community-driven conversation about imagining a future Downtown Jamaica, we are finally launching a community rezoning planning process that will ensure our neighborhoods are more resilient, revitalized, and vibrant than what it is today. This process can only be successful with the support of local stakeholders, especially our steering committee, our elected partners, including the mayor, the speaker, and the Queens borough president. Together, we can truly create a greater Jamaica in our lifetime.”
“Downtown Jamaica has always been a major cultural and financial hub for Queens. It also serves as one of the busiest transportation hubs in our city and is often the first stop many visitors make when flying into our city,” said New York City Councilmember James F. Gennaro. “These improvements put forth by DCP will emphasize everything that makes this neighborhood great, and I am proud to stand beside Speaker Adams and Mayor Adams in support of it.”
“As I said in my State of the Borough address last month, Jamaica is already a key business district and a critical transit hub. But we haven’t even scratched the surface of this community’s potential,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr.
“I know this holistic, community-led initiative will make Jamaica the premiere live, work, and play neighborhood in the city, and I can’t wait to hear from our neighbors later this year about what they would like to see. Now is not the time for NIMBYism or economic stagnation. We must move with the urgency of now if we are to build our way out of our housing crisis. As a proud son of Jamaica, I look forward to working hand in hand with my government and community colleagues to make the Jamaica Neighborhood Plan as successful as possible.”
Jamaica Neighborhood Plan
In partnership with Borough President Richards and Councilmember Williams, DCP will conduct extensive community outreach — including with multiple public workshops and open houses later this year — alongside a steering committee with community, business, and faith leaders who will meet regularly. Engagement will continue with an open house at the end of the summer and public workshops in the fall.
The study will focus on a more-than-300-block area that includes Downtown Jamaica, adjacent transportation corridors, and nearby manufacturing districts. The area includes institutions and community assets like York College, Rufus King Park, and the Jamaica Rail Hub, which provides transit access to the rest of New York City and east to Long Island via the subway, Long Island Rail Road, and AirTrain. The study area also covers key pedestrian and commercial corridors, including Jamaica Avenue, Merrick Boulevard, Hillside Avenue, and Liberty Avenue.
This effort builds on Mayor Adams’ aggressive actions to create more housing in every corner of the city. The mayor’s “City of Yes” plan would change zoning rules citywide to facilitate the creation of more and different types of housing. His “Get Stuff Built” plan includes initiatives that not only accelerate the pace of housing production, but that also create 6,000 new homes in the Bronx near four new Metro-North stations that will be coming to the East Bronx in 2027 and thousands more to Atlantic Avenue in Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant. Additionally, the mayor kicked off — with his Working People’s Agenda — efforts to create housing in areas of Midtown South that currently permit only manufacturing and office space, as well as efforts to create housing on the North Shore of Staten Island.
Jamaica NOW: Urban Design Strategy and Streetscape Plan
Emerging from the “Jamaica Now Neighborhood Action Plan,” the Jamaica NOW streetscape plan offers design strategies and identifies five focus areas for capital projects to create a people-centered district with safer, pedestrian-focused streets that complement the recently installed busways along Jamaica Avenue and Archer Avenue as well as the neighborhood’s bustling commercial corridor.
The plan’s boundaries extend north-south from Jamaica Avenue to Archer Avenue and east-west from Merrick Boulevard to Sutphin Boulevard. Projects will include widening sidewalks and providing additional seating, trees, and other streetscape and open space amenities to encourage pedestrians, including better lighting, pop-up programming, and concessions.
Nearly $70 million has already been allocated to deliver two of the featured capital projects: $62.5 million from the city for the reconstruction of Jamaica Avenue from Sutphin Boulevard to Merrick Boulevard in Mayor Adams’ Working People’s Agenda and an additional $6 million, including $2.5 million from the New York State Downtown Revitalization Initiative, to build a permanent pedestrian gateway on Parsons Boulevard between Jamaica Avenue and Archer Avenue.
The plan is a product of robust public engagement, drawing on outreach to 1,500 members of the public and more than 600 public comments. The plan focuses on the following key factors:
The city will conduct additional community engagement in the near term to help define the amenities and investments that will shape these new public spaces in the downtown core.
This plan builds on Mayor Adams’ $375 million investment in public space as part of the Working People’s Agenda, which included a full reconstruction of Jamaica Avenue from Sutphin Boulevard to Merrick Boulevard.
“Jamaica has long been home to one of the city’s largest residential communities yet is well positioned to help alleviate New York’s affordable housing crisis by creating more opportunities to live here,” said Justin Rodgers, president and CEO, Greater Jamaica Development Corporation. “We are thrilled by the unwavering commitment of Mayor Adams, Speaker Adams, Councilmember Nantasha Williams, and Borough President Richards to return Downtown Jamaica to prominence. With many mass transit options, including LIRR lines that connect to Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn in 20 minutes, along with a vibrant retail corridor, our neighborhood is primed for continued growth that will be catalyzed by this tremendous public investment.”