DEP: 718-595-6600, email@example.com
DOT: Brian Zumhagen, 212-839-4850, firstname.lastname@example.org
EDC: Shavone Williams, 212-312-3523, email@example.com
DDC: Ian Michaels, 646-939-6514, MichaelsI@ddc.nyc.gov
(Far Rockaway, NY – August 2, 2021) The NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP),the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT), the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) announced today that Phase 1 of the $139 million infrastructure project to rebuild and revitalize Downtown Far Rockaway has been completed on schedule, 21 months after the kickoff of the project was announced. The final section of the project, Phase 2, is now underway and is anticipated to be completed on time as well, 13 months from now.
“The new infrastructure this project is bringing along with rebuilt streets and pedestrian-friendly spaces will have a transformational effect on Downtown Far Rockaway,” said DDC Commissioner Jamie Torres-Springer. “We’re well on track to meet the accelerated goal of finishing this project in three years rather than the original seven-year projection, which we set to meet the needs of the community.”
“Upgrading the infrastructure that supports vibrant communities all at once makes sense and we are happy to work with our partners to improve the drainage and water supply systems in Downtown Far Rockaway,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “Thank you to the professionals at DDC for managing this important work, and thank you to the residents and businesses in Downtown Far Rockaway for your patience as we complete this critical work!”
“We at DOT are already immensely proud of the work completed on this once-in-a-generation effort to transform Downtown Far Rockaway through enhanced mobility, new housing construction, and improved stormwater management,” said DOT Commissioner Hank Gutman. “Through this project, we are also creating streets that are safer, more walkable and welcoming – and so we thank Mayor de Blasio for his leadership, our agency partners at DDC, DCP, DEP and EDC, and of course Borough President Richards, who knows this community so well. Our special thanks to the community stakeholders whose guidance and patience have helped us see through the challenges of planning, design and construction so far – and we look forward to the even greater rewards of this next construction phase.”
“This milestone reflects the city’s extensive work and commitment to Queens residents to build sustainable infrastructure that helps prevent future flooding and spurs economic development. A new pedestrian plaza makes it safer to walk to the subway, and the open space will improve quality-of-life for those who call Downtown Far Rockaway home,” said NYCEDC President & CEO Rachel Loeb. “Thank you to the New York City Departments of Design and Construction and Transportation, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr., and all involved in working to move this project forward. NYCED continues to be a committed partner in supporting the revitalization of Downtown Far Rockaway.”
“The ahead-of-schedule completion of Phase 1 of the Downtown Far Rockaway infrastructure project is a significant milestone in our efforts to make this great neighborhood an even better place to live, work, and visit,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “This work underscores the City’s strong commitment to addressing important infrastructure issues and creating new and vibrant public spaces for people to enjoy. I commend the City’s Departments of Design and Construction, Transportation, and Environmental Protection for working together so effectively on this major project that will greatly improve the quality-of-life for the residents of Downtown Far Rockaway.”
The project is reinvigorating a neighborhood that was rezoned to allow for more housing, increased economic opportunity and better transportation options. Work is taking place in an area of roughly 25 blocks, centered around the local business district and transportation hub at Mott and Central avenues, where a new library is also under construction by DDC.
Streets throughout the downtown area will be completely rebuilt and in many cases realigned to ease the flow of traffic and enhance pedestrian safety in conjunction with Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero goals. The streetscape and new open spaces will be further transformed with new green infrastructure including rain gardens to help with the natural absorption of stormwater and other measures to minimize impacts on nearby wetlands and Jamaica Bay.
A major part of Phase 1 was the creation of a new pedestrian plaza spanning from Beach 21st to Beach 22nd streets, adjacent to the Far Rockaway-Mott Avenue subway station. Linking the train station to a new affordable housing development, the new plaza covers about 15,000 square feet – or more than one-third of an acre – and includes a stage for events, benches and other seating, trees and dune-like planters, tables and chairs and a water fountain.
The project began in 2019 with the installation of water mains on Nameoke Avenue and Augustina Avenue. More than two miles of new storm sewers will eventually be installed to improve local drainage, along with more than 120 new catch basins to capture storm water and direct it to the new sewers. The project is also upgrading existing sanitary sewers, replacing aging water mains and adding new fire hydrants. Several private utility companies also contributed to the project cost in order for the City’s contractor to relocate or upgrade their equipment in the area.
The Downtown Far Rockaway project is being managed by DDC for the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT). Funding is from the City ($126.7 million), from private utilities ($6.7 million), from federal HUD and highway funds ($5.4 million) and from the office of Borough President Donovan Richards when he was a Council Member representing the area ($499,000).
The project was designed in-house at DDC in conjunction with W Architecture and Landscape Architecture of Brooklyn, and received the Award for Excellence in Design from the NYC Public Design Commission in 2017. The general contractor is Restani Construction Corp. of Astoria and engineering services are by HNTB Corporation.
To manage the needs of residents and businesses during construction, DDC has two Community Construction Liaisons (CCL) assigned to the project who work on-site full time to keep the neighborhood apprised of construction progress, coordinate street closures and utility shutoff and arrange special requests such as deliveries to local homes and businesses.
About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15.5 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit nyc.gov/ddc.