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City and State Celebrate Pedestrian Safety Improvements at Parsons Boulevard in Jamaica, Queens

Parsons Boulevard corridor ranks in the top 10% of corridors borough-wide with crashes resulting in fatalities and serious injuries

DOT: 212-839-4850,
DDC: Ian Michaels, 646-939-6514,

(Jamaica, NY – August 10, 2023) The NYC Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) and NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) today announced the completion of pedestrian safety and infrastructure improvements on Parsons Boulevard between Jamaica Avenue and Archer Avenue in Queens. The improvements greatly expand sidewalk space, reduce the distance to cross Parsons Boulevard, and features a new pedestrian island. The project targets a corridor with a high number of crashes resulting in fatalities and serious injuries.

The project was managed by DDC for DOT and was completed on time and more than $1 million under the original budget.

city bus stops at new expanded sidewalk

The sidewalk was expanded by 7,150 square feet at Parsons Boulevard between Jamaica and Archer Avenues

“New Yorkers deserve streets and public spaces that are safe, vibrant, and welcoming for all,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “This project will make Parsons Boulevard safer and better for the community and those who visit. I thank our partners at DDC, the New York State Downtown Revitalization Initiative, elected officials, and community members for their collaboration.”

“This project greatly increases the amount of space for pedestrians as opposed to cars and beautifies a very busy commuter corridor in Queens,” said NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) First Deputy Commissioner Eric Macfarlane. “Congratulations to the DDC team that helped to complete this project on time and more than 30 percent under budget.”

“Vibrant streetscapes and public spaces provide a central ingredient in the DRI’s recipe for broader downtown revitalization,” said New York Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez. “With these transformative public improvements, Jamaica takes yet another major step forward toward fulfilling its vision for a reinvigorated downtown for residents and visitors to enjoy the great Jamaica area. The Downtown Gateway will help leverage additional private and public investments as the revitalization process accelerates.”   

people walking along new expanded pedestrian space

The expanded pedestrian areas are adjacent to popular subway and bus routes

The project more than doubled the sidewalk area on the east side of Parsons Boulevard, adding 7,150 square feet of additional space for pedestrians. The distance for pedestrians to cross Parsons Boulevard was also reduced by more than 30 percent from 65 feet to 39 feet, limiting the amount of time pedestrians are in crosswalks. In addition, a pedestrian island was reconstructed on Jamaica Avenue and new traffic signals were installed.

The Parsons Boulevard corridor ranks in the top 10 percent of corridors borough-wide with crashes resulting in fatalities and serious injuries. From 2012-2016 the area was the site of 70 crashes with reported injuries, nearly 30 of which involved injuries to pedestrians, with four resulting in serious injuries.

This public space is part of the City’s Jamaica NOW Action Plan, a multi- million neighborhood revitalization, that began in 2015. For its part, NYC DOT hosted community-driven visioning sessions for the Downtown Jamaica area. The desire for improved public space—and more of it—was a key theme in this multiyear engagement, and Parsons Boulevard was a location that quickly stood out as top of mind.

Downtown Jamaica is a critical transportation hub for people making connections within the borough, to other parts of the city and regionally. The area sees an average of 1,000 pedestrians per hour on the single block of Parsons Boulevard between Jamaica Avenue and Archer Avenue.

The project also upgraded 10 sidewalk pedestrian ramps, making them all ADA compliant, and added five new trees to the area. Approximately 18,000 square feet of roadway was reconstructed, with seven new catch basins added to improve stormwater drainage. An updated wayfinding sign helps direct pedestrians while five new sidewalk benches provide rest areas.

The sidewalk extension creates additional space to enhance pedestrian safety and features treatments to improve the experience for all street users. These enhancements address community requests received during the public engagement process for the Jamaica NOW! effort. Guided by the leadership, collaboration and insights from the Jamaica Now Leadership Council, the redesign reflected direct feedback about the environment and lack of adequate pedestrian space, connections, seating, and greenery at the location.

As part of the SIP redesign, a new Commuter Van Hub has been created at 153rd Street. As with the former Parsons Boulevard location, the new designated commuter van stop is located directly next to a subway entrance and exit. The new 153rd Street location also increases the number of spaces available to commuter van operators and their passengers. The new curbside regulations on 153rd Street are designed to provide 6-10 spaces for authorized commuter vans.

Previously NYC DOT implemented a sidewalk extension in paint, and with community support, NYC DOT was able to successfully expand that space in 2018 as part of the Jamaica NOW effort and to also work with local partners on beautification, programing and much more over the past several years.

Thanks to a $2.5 million grant from the State through the NYS Downtown Revitalization Initiative, $2.8 million in City funds, and $377 thousand from funding allocations from the Council, these streetscape enhancements became permanent, with new lighting, landscaping and seating—creating a community space in the heart of this vibrant and growing commercial district.

The City remains committed to working with the local community and other stakeholders to build on the vision that they outlined in the Jamaica Now efforts to create a more inviting streetscape and public realm in Downtown Jamaica. 

“I’m thrilled to celebrate the completion of the much-needed safety and infrastructure improvements on Parsons Boulevard in downtown Jamaica — one of Queens’ most vital transportation hubs and business corridors,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “These improvements will make a world of a difference in the quality of life of our community members who call Jamaica home and the thousands of people who utilize the area on a daily basis. I thank the DOT and DDC for prioritizing this project, as we work to improve safety on our streets and invest in downtown Jamaica.”

“Investments in street infrastructure increase safety and accessibility in our public spaces,” said NYC Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, Chair of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “I commend the Administration for its work to improve Jamaica’s streetscapes, and I also celebrate the creation of a new hub for commuter vans, which serve as a transportation lifeline for Southeast Queens communities that lack direct access to core transit infrastructure.”

“This investment into pedestrian safety is much needed and greatly appreciated,” said Council Member Nantasha Williams. “Parsons Blvd and the Downtown Jamaica area grow more vibrant every day, and we look forward to making this neighborhood an even more walkable community where constituents can live, work and play in safety.”

“The Plaza at Parsons Boulevard provides a much-needed open space with important improvements for pedestrian safety, and is a place where people can sit at tables to eat lunch and where community can gather for special events,” said Sari Kulka, Chair of the newly consolidated BID, known as the Downtown Jamaica Partnership. “We’re grateful to the City - especially DOT and DDC - for their help in making this part of the Jamaica NOW plan a reality.”

“As Downtown Jamaica continues to flourish, pedestrian and vehicle volume is increasing. The safety enhancements implemented by NYC DOT and DDC along one of the neighborhood’s busiest corridors creates a more inviting experience for everyone,” said Justin Rodgers, president & CEO of Greater Jamaica Development Corporation. “Thank you to these two City agencies and the State for listening to residents and making this part of our community better.”


About the NYC Department of Transportation
The New York City Department of Transportation’s (NYC DOT) mission is to provide for the safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible movement of people and goods in the City of New York and to maintain and enhance the transportation infrastructure crucial to the economic vitality and quality of life of our primary customers, City residents. NYC DOT’s staff manage an annual operating budget of $1.4 billion and a ten-year $33 billion capital program, along with 6,300 miles of streets and highways, over 12,000 miles of sidewalk, and approximately 800 bridges and tunnels, including the iconic East River bridges. NYC DOT’s staff also installs and maintains nearly one million street signs13,250 signalized intersections, over 315,000 street lights, and over 350 million linear feet of markings.

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 Adams’ 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 $24 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

About the Downtown Revitalization Initiative
The Downtown Revitalization Initiative was created in 2016 to accelerate and expand the revitalization of downtowns and neighborhoods in all ten regions of the state to serve as centers of activity and catalysts for investment. Led by the Department of State with assistance from Empire State Development, Homes and Community Renewal and NYSERDA, the DRI represents an unprecedented and innovative "plan-then-act" strategy that couples strategic planning with immediate implementation and results in compact, walkable downtowns that are a key ingredient to helping New York State rebuild its economy from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to achieving the State's bold climate goals by promoting the use of public transit and reducing dependence on private vehicles.

In the first five years of the program, the state committed $600 million, investing in 59 downtowns ripe for revitalization that have the potential to become magnets for redevelopment, business, job creation, greater economic and housing diversity and opportunity. More information on the DRI is available here.